By Philemon Jambaya
In the face of challenges such as gender discrimination and sexual abuse, female students at the country’s tertiary institutions through Female Student Network (FSN) have intensified female leadership training to curb the imbalances that subsist between male and female students.
The move by FSN has seen more female students participating and even contesting during elections to choose members of Student Representative Councils (SRC).
The major highlight of the FSN programs so far has been at Mutare Teachers College where female students occupy the top five positions in the college’s representative board.
In an interview, FSN Information Officer, Naome Boka, said the program is critical as far as empowering and protecting female students is concerned.
“We want female students to be part of the decision-making processes because they have been sidelined as most of the SRCs have been dominated by male students. In 2013, we had about 45 female students in SRCs around the country, but last year, the number increased to 60 and the case of Mutare Teachers College is one of our
success stories,” said Boka.
She said they were looking at other areas such as gender based violence as well as campaigns on HIV/AIDS issues.
Boka said that the FSN was reaching out to female students at secondary schools as well.
“We would like to bridge the knowledge gap between tertiary students and ordinary people in the community. At secondary schools, we are working with female teachers who brief us on issues affecting female students.
“We had problems at Dombodzvuku Secondary School in Murewa where many incidences of teenage pregnancies were reported and we had an awareness campaign that sought to educate parents as well as the students on issues to do with teenage pregnancy,” said Boka.
The FSN, said Boka, was playing a critical role in providing counseling services to victims of sexual abuse as well as gender based violence. Boka said the FSN is also targeting men in their programs.
“We have realised that its proper for us to include men in our programs because everyone in society needs to be educated about gender based violence and sexual abuse so that society as a whole gets to appreciate these issues.
“Also, some men have been victims of abuse hence the need to include
them in our programs,” said Boka.
Photo credit: thezimbabwemail.com