X-Factor Prize: The Gender Network

Four young women, four countries, four ideas, one goal.

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THABU magula, Zambia        “Ending prostitution through entrepreneurship"

Thabu Magula, from Zambia, studies at Earth University in Costa Rica. She has identified that prostitution in her community is an "obstacle that must become an opportunity." She aims to reduce prostitution of young women by giving them other skills and options to create economic means. This includes creating a "chicken farm center" in which young women can create sustainable revenue. She plans to then branch off into agricultural projects, crafts and transferable skills in which these young women can create an alternative occupation and a brighter future for the women. As she says, when you empower one woman, you empower the world.


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Beryl nana ama Akuffo-Kwapong, Ghana                "Know thy body, Know thy worth”

Beryl is a student at Ashesi University in Ghana. She is passionate about changing the education -or lack thereof- about sex to young men and women. After witnessing how sexual assault affected a close friend, she realized that the lack of dialogue around sexual health was negligent and, frankly, dangerous. In order to prevent sexual health concerns, potential sexual assault and unexpected births, she is creating a six week comprehensive program for high school boys and girls. She hopes to transform this lack of knowledge into an opportunity to create healthier and happier youth in Ghana and the world.


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JESSICA RUSSO, USA               "HEAR OUR VOICE, MAKE A SOUND

Jessica is a current student at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts, USA. After one of her friends became a survivor of rape, she decided that she had a duty to use her voice to increase knowledge about rape on college campuses. Her goal is to connect and create dialogue about rape culture on college campuses from her own school, to schools throughout the entire world. She believes that our voices can be heard, but only if we first make a sound.


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Tanyaradzwa Chinyukwi, Zimbabwe                              "Don't kill the caterpillar in her cocoon, let it be transformed!"

Tanya is studying at Earth University in Costa Rica, but Zimbabwe is her home. She has identified that poverty is the root of many problems in her community, the largest being the lack of education for girls. She observed that when families are struggling, they turn to the girl to forgo her education, and instead, use her body as a means for profit, a mere 50 cents per session. Her goal is to return these girls to where they belong: school. She hopes to do this through a "chicken project" in which families can use the money from only six chickens to pay the school fees for their daughter. Tanya wants to remind families of the value of sending young girls to school. It does not just benefit one girl, or one family, but rather the whole community.