Midlands State University successfully hosts the 2016 9th Pan African Universities Debate Championships

by Trinity Mapendere| Midlands State University, ZW

Midlands State University is not slowing down on its vision of being among the top Universities in the African continent, as it successfully hosted the 9th Pan African Debate Championships 2016.

Dubbed ‘Madzimbabwe’ drawing its title from the Ancient Great Zimbabwe ruins which are the pride of our national culture, MSU in partnership with the Pan African Universities Debate Council was held at MSU from 9-17 December.

The prestigious tournament running under the theme “Creating African debating footprints”, was official opened by the acting Vice Chancellor, Professor Ngonidzashe Muzvidziwa . it drew up to 20 African universities represented by more than 500 international delegates.

paudc-2

Since its foundation in 2008, the PAUDC has over the years provided students with a platform where they can express their views on the issues affecting the African continent as they are the future leaders.

Over the years, the African continent has been home to many unresolved issues either political, economic or social and these challenges seem to be affecting the future generations and PAUDC has stirred real engagements with real solutions and remedies to most challenges.

MSU public relations acting director, Mrs. Mawarire described PAUDC entrusting the university with hosting such a major event as historical to the university’s name and the Zimbabwean nation as a whole.

Event organiser Samuel Muleya commended on the journey to hosting the event as a memorable one, “We had to be at our best from accommodation, venues and food, I must say our catering was 5 star as we made sure our visitors had best meals”.

The closing ceremony also witnessed the handover of the tournament to the 2017 Pan African Universities Debate Championship hosts, Cameroon. Tanzania was announced as hosts for the 2018 tournament.

Wits University emerged as major victors on the night after winning both sets of closely contested public speaking and debate finals. For their efforts, Wits University represented by Bongani Masilela and Mpilwenhle Mpilo Ndlovu walked away with the prestigious PAUDC trophy and the public speaking trophy.

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Internship on sexual and reproductive health and rights

VACANCY 

Internship in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) networking  in Southern Africa

The Hivos Regional Office Southern Africa is offering an opportunity to work on SRHR. The objective of the internship is to enhance the educational experience of undergraduate and graduate students from diverse academic backgrounds through practical work assignments and on-the-job experience in order to expose them to the work being done in the health and development sector.

The position is based in Johannesburg and the intern will work under the guidance of the Project Manager SRHR, who is responsible for managing a Regional Fund on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, which includes a knowledge management function and other related activities such as providing support to the upkeep and promotion of the Sex Rights Africa Network web site as well as developing and implementing projects and programs targeted to SRHR work in Southern Africa.

The work will focus on the following activities:

  • Promote the Regional SRHR Fund and Sex Rights Africa Network by identifying creative social media options to conduct outreach with relevant individuals and organizations
  • Support the convening of meetings of stakeholders working on SRHR using the web site as well as the organization of face-to-face meetings
  • Work with a colleague to identify and support ways to make the web site an active site for networking, knowledge management and convening spaces to collaborate on activities such as advocacy
  • Undertake research aimed at identifying relevant documents to upload to the web site as well as to support the development of proposals for future work on SRHR
  • Provide support to the management of the grant-making process including support to contracting, logistics, liaison and follow-up with grantees
  • Contribute to the drafting of reports and proposals linked to the regional SRHR portfolio
  • Attend meetings on SRHR to gather knowledge of relevance to the SRHR portfolio and establish networks of people and organizations working on SRHR

Eligibility

Undergraduates or postgraduates who intend to study further or to work in area of international development ideally with a focus on health/sexual and reproductive health, communications, human rights or fields connected to the objectives of the RSRHR Fund and Hivos SRHR work in Southern Africa.

Requirements & Degree Fields of Study

We are looking for a highly motivated and dynamic person with:

  • Strong research and writing skills
  • Experience and ability to use social media and work with web sites
  • Experience working on development project is preferred
  • Ability to work independently and to interact and network with potential stakeholders
  • Degree in International Development, Public Health, Law, Communications, Social Sciences or related fields
  • A reference letter from your university and/or from previous relevant work experience is required.

Duration

Six months with the potential for extension.

Please note: the Hivos Internship Programme is in no way connected with appointment to positions at the professional level within the organisation.

Application Address:

If you meet the above mentioned requirements (please look carefully), send a letter explaining your motivation to apply for this position and your CV to:

Hivos e-mail: rosaf@hivos.org

or deliver: 20 Phillips Avenue, Belgravia, Harare, Zimbabwe.

Deadline for submission of CV and letter:

The deadline for applications is 12 January 2017. Please note that only short listed applicants will be contacted.

Commencement date and duration of the Agreement:

Timeframe: The period of the service will start from January 2017 to June  2017

Work Schedule: Working & Research days are from Monday to Friday from 8:30 – 4:30 PM

Location: We are in the process of identifying new office space in Johannesburg. In the short term, the identified intern will work virtually with regular meetings and communication with the Project Manager.

#We’R’OnIt AGAINST SEXUAL HARASSMENT ON CAMPUS BECAUSE IT’S ON US

Only five out of more than 20 tertiary institutions in #Zimbabwe have sexual harassment policies. #We’R’OnIt and demand that all higher learning centers enact such policies by November 2017

Let’s orange the world and help eradicate violence against women.

TOO EMBARRASSED TO SHARE, BUT BECAUSE I CARE WILL SHARE IT INSTEAD!!

Don’t people have a decency to at least pretend like they adhere to certain commemorations which speak directly to the woman? It’s not like we are asking for something which may go beyond a month of sustaining this pretense. Here I am sitting in a full kombi, the usual ‘four- four formation’. Just before my eyes, I witness a sliding door operator(hwindi) insulting a woman for standing her ground and frankly not accepting coins as her change after paying her bus fare. I did not interfere  and try to play  hero in someone else’s fight due to fear of being left stranded in the middle of nowhere. Was it her fight entirely?

By Duduzile Mathema| Nust-Zw | @MathemaDuduzile

I quiver in anger at the thought of my selfish act at the time, but what could I have done?? It’s not like I would have been dropped off and I would have called my notorious brother to settle the score with the conductor on my behalf. At this moment and time as I reflect, I come to a realisation that all this transpired during the 16 days of activism against gender based violence. Where were the other women such as myself? As I hinted on our pretence earlier on,  I just wish that if only one of us, ‘women’, could have had the courage to speak for that lady maybe she would not have left the Kombi thinking that she is just a mere non-entity.

Here I am thinking that when women’s rights are being violated especially during these 16 days against gender based violence, it is all narrowed down to the domestic violence where the man is always the villain. The one to brutally bash the wife for not conforming to the duties which are expected of her. At heart, I am an activist who learnt a lesson today, that I hardly understand the concept of gender based violence. Embarrassing as it may sound, I desire for my fellow women at large to be aware of men or other women who sought to hurt them in ways which may go against the objectives of the 16 days of Activism against Gender Based violence.

According to the Zimbabwe Demography Health Survey (ZDHS) of 2015 34.8% of women are reported to have experienced violence in their lifetime. The ZDHS explains that violence of women is bound to happen regardless of geographical location, status, level of education and time. In as much as women who have received tertiary education are exonerated from the list of the abused, ZDHS of 2015 affirms that 1 in every 5 women is a victim even if she may be educated.

From 25 November 2016, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against women, to 10 December 2016, Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender based Violence Campaign is a time to incite action to end violence against women and girls around the world.  “Orange the World: Raise Money to End Violence against Women and Girls”  is the theme for this year’s campaign. With education being at the core of this year’s campaign, women and children should not suffer any deprivation in terms of receiving education about the various forms of gender based violence which is usually inflicted on women. In the 2016 Action Kit the aspect of education has been disintegrated into the following criteria: non-discrimination and equality, right to information, best interest of the child, academic freedom, advanced levels of education, human rights education, technical and  vocational education, free and compulsory basic level education to all, freedom to choose and establish academic institutions.

The narration which came up at the beginning shows how women can suffer at the hands of the general community and yet nothing is done. The type of abuse that this woman was exposed to is psychological abuse. She let the conductor insult her whilst the majority of the women in the kombi did nothing to save the victim. What does it reflect on us as women?

However, in as much women are victims of gender based violence, it is necessary to make an observation of the fact that societal structures have a role to play in moulding such behaviours. Patriarchy is still prevalent within our society and women are considered as inferior beings as compared to men. Therefore, from the anecdote highlighted earlier, the victim may have tried to defend her actions but because she was having exchange of words with a man, she somehow lost the argument.

People have adopted a mentality of being self-absorbed in their own affairs at the expense of someone in dire need of assistance. When the conductor was in his moment of glory whilst humiliating this woman,none of the women in the kombi bothered to make the woman’s issue their own. Some continued in their conversations as though all was normal.

Putting the issue to rest, there are a few recommendations that I propose as a way of helping bring a reduction to the escalating figures of violence in Zimbabwe. Since I witnessed an act of abuse in a kombi, I believe that with all things being normal there is need for ALL taxis to have call lines where victims can be able to report cases of abuse so that they may be dealt with. During this time of the year whereby gender based violence is brewing in people’s kitchens, advocacy levels should be increased. Social media can be used for the greater good to push the message about gender based violence. Pastors in churches can further this campaign through speaking about it in their various denominations. Community dialogue could be heightened so that people can receive education about gender based violence.

Let’s orange it and help eradicate gender based violence.

Duduzile Michelle Zinzi Mathema is a Part 3 Student from the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) studying Journalism and Media Studies.

Zimbabwe students fighting GBV on campus

Sex Rights Africa Network | @SexRightsAfrica

When female students at tertiary colleges and universities in Zimbabwe call for action against gender-based violence (GBV) and sexual harassment (SH) on campus, they need up-to-date statistics to back up their claims that this is a widespread problem.

Research undertaken by the Female Students Network Trust (FSNT) in Zimbabwe in 2015 presents a clear picture of the nature and extent of GBV and SH that students endure, and make recommendations for protecting survivors and holding perpetrators and authorities accountable for the abuse.

FSNT’s baseline study, conducted in universities, polytechnics and teachers’ colleges, with support from the Czech Embassy and the Students and Academics International Help Fund, covered ten tertiary institutions and included 3425 students and staff. It confirmed the students’ claims that GBV and SH were ‘rampant’ on campus, particularly sexual harassment of female students by male lecturers, fellow male students and non-academic male employees.

Key findings from the research include:

Of the 2114 female students who participated through the questionnaire, 94% reported having encountered SH, compared to 3% of the 672 male students;

    Of the 1987 female students who had encountered SH:

        16% of female students said they had been raped by male students and 5% had been raped by male lecturers and non-academic staff;

        13% of female students reported date rape in relationships with older men (lecturers and non-academic staff) and 46% in relationships with male students;

        16% reported having been forced into unprotected sex in sexual encounters with lecturers; 10% in sexual encounters with non-academic staff and 43% with male students;

        32% of female students reported having been coerced into drinking alcohol or injecting drugs by older men (lecturers and non-academic staff) during date outings and thereafter sexual assaulted. 48% of female students reported the same during date outings with male students;

        64% of male students said they had given money or gifts in exchange for sex in the last year and 42% of female students reported that they had received money or gifts in exchange for sex in the last year. (In focus group discussions, men said that having ‘invested’ in female students they would resort to violence if their partners refused to have sex with them or had sex with someone else);

        85% of respondents reported knowing female students who were once forced by campus-men to abort an unintended pregnancy;

        74% of female students encountered offers of ‘favours’ (good grades/marks, extra academic help and study aids) by lecturers and 83% encountered offers of ‘favours’ (food, accommodation, transport and money) by non-academic staff and students, all in exchange for sex or sexual relationships;

        67% experienced unwanted physical contact (touching, patting and hugging) by lecturers, non-academic staff and students;

        93% experienced inappropriate remarks about their gender and sexuality (including sarcastic criticism of their weight, body parts such as breasts and buttocks, skin complexion, hairdo, cosmetics, dressing) by mostly male students;

        91% encountered wolf whistling – and of the 672 male students who completed the questionnaire, 90% reported having wolf whistled at a female student;

        79% of female students reported being intentionally excluded from meetings and processes because they were being held at gender insensitive environments and times.

The vast majority (94%) of female students who experienced GBV or SH said that they would not report to the authorities. Most (63.5%) said they had disclosed to someone (family member, friend, intimate partner, room mate, fellow church member).

The main reason given for not reporting was not knowing how to do so. However, female students also reported that campus security were more concerned about preventing student unrest that dealing with issues of GBV and SH.

Reporting to intimate partners seldom resulted in cases being taken up through the college/university system and would often result in physical gang fights between involved males. Female students said that being identified as victims of GBV and SH through reporting would jeopardise their current and future intimate relations and social image, and subject them to campus gossip and further male student bullying.

Responses to questions about the reasons for GBV and SH reflect an entrenched patriarchal culture, with fixed, unequal gender norms and normalised victim-blaming. Both female and male students said wolf-whistling was due to young women wearing tight or revealing clothing. The males said they were less likely to wolf-whistle at students who dressed ‘decently’. The main reason given for unwanted physical contact by both male and female respondents was that female students had ‘unknowingly sent a wrong message’ to offenders, who were generally people they knew.

 The study found that ‘female students fail to live their college lives fully making unreasonable behavioral and life style adjustments fully because of fear of SH in their living and learning environments’.

 However, it seemed this strategy would be unlikely to protect them since male students reported intense pressure – from both male and female lecturers – to outperform female students, to show contempt, competition and indifference towards female students, and to call a male who did not perform ‘woman’. Female students who outperformed males would be called tom-boys or labelled as having ‘balls’. Some female students would behave in a submissive way to avoid this.

 Both male and female students during FGDs said that male lecturers viewed sex with female students as part of their supplementary job benefits just like medical aid in the context of low and often delayed salaries. Male lecturers in interviews denied this though they said it was part of beer talk. A high proportion of male lecturers said female students ‘enticed them’ into relationships.

The report notes that there have been some efforts by the Zimbabwe government to demonstrate its commitment to eradicating GBV and SH Government – for example the creation of a separate ministry responsible for gender and women affairs, which has put in place a national GBV strategy.

FSNT has used the findings of the study to formulate a Sexual Harassment Monitoring Mechanism (SHMM) for tertiary institutions and to provide recommendations for improving accountability of authorities on GBV. FSNT

 Director Evernice Munando says the Trust has been advocating and lobbying strongly for SH policy formulation and effective implementation, engaging Zimbabwe’s parliamentary portfolio committees on Gender and Education to expedite the processes. Munando reported in April 2016: “Some universities and colleges are responding well [and] Midlands State University (MSU) has recently made its policy.”

 Let’s orange Campuses and advocate to stop Sexual Harassment 

 Article first published on 04 May 2016 at http://www.sexrightsafrica.net

Video published by ItsOnUsCampaign