Central Catering Unit (CCU)
Student Counselor, Ms. Lucy Gitangu (centre) with participants at the Policy Conference to address Sexual and Gender Based Violence in Universities, held from 10-13th October at the Central Catering Unit (CCU)
A four-day conference has been held at the University of Nairobi in conjunction with Strategic Applications International (SAI forge) and Author AID, to address Sexual and Gender Based Violence (S&GBV) in Universities.
The conference which began on October 10, 2016 incorporated student leaders, administration, security, medical personnel and student counselors who assessed the problems of Gender based violence being: intimidation of victims of Gender based violence, lack of awareness of GBV training for members of staff and lack of adequate follow up on victims’ cases.
To resolve this, team members from each section went through brainstorming sessions of feasible solutions that can be implemented within the University to reduce cases of GBV. It was highlighted that clear guidelines need to be established from when a GBV case is reported to its finalization process, in all the sections involved. Awareness through training and workshops on GBV also needs to be carried out on regular basis with the inclusion of senior management and students. In addition, a suggestion was put forth to appoint representatives of GBV in each section who would ensure implementation of follow up and completion of arising cases. Most importantly, awareness of alcohol and drug abuse needs to be emphasized within the campuses because consumers of drugs and alcohol are likely to be perpetrators or victims of SGBV.
With the advancement of e-violence, students and management were encouraged to enhance innovation of tech-based gender based violence apps to assist in advocacy and protection against GBV. Currently, SEMA-GBV has developed a mobile application which can be used to send a message to three of your contacts when one is in trouble; while giving a five minute update on the person’s current location. The application can be downloaded from Google play store and installed on one’s mobile phone. SEMA-GBV is an organization under SAI Forge, which advocates for youth to speak out on gender based violence.
Speaking during the opening of the conference, Prof. Bernard Aduda, Principal College of Biological and Physical Sciences (CBPS) said that security is currently being enhanced in the College through implementing an improved lighting system. Prof. Aduda also said that victims can use peer counseling group to report cases of GBV as soon as they occur, through Chiromo Campus Peer Educators (CCPE) student organsation. The principal also said that behavioral change conducive to everyone’s well-being should be employed.
Mr. Paul Kuria CEO National Gender and Equality Commission (NGEC) praised the University for participating in monthly national Gender Based Violence working group which is presently running a three-year campaign dubbed ‘Keeping the promise’ launched already in 14 counties.
Mr. Kuria also applauded the University for including Gender Based violence in its Performance Contract. “Inclusion of Gender Based Violence in the Performance ensures that GBV processes are budgeted, planned and implemented”, said Mr. Kuria.
The National Gender and Equality Commission CEO also urged the University to use environmental and mapping technology to map out zones which are hotspots for GBV. Mr. Kuria emphasized that the University should take on the banner of leadership to ensure that it works with the justice system by providing access to forensic studies which can be used to identify the DNA of perpetrators of GBV.
The conference organized by the Student counselor CBPS, Ms. Lucy Gitangu and the Assistant Dean of students CBPS, Ms. Lucy Jiomba, attracted both regional and international speakers working in organizations aimed to stop Sexual and Gender Based Violence.
Among the speakers who participated during the conference include, Dr. Kizzie Shako, Police Surgeon, Sarah Simons, World Society of Victimology (WSV), Ephraim Imanya, Stride UK, Mr. Thuku Njuguna, Men for Gender Equality (MENGEN), Ellie Bird, Security Expert, Ms. Vaida Odongo, founder Amazing Woman Dialogues, Julia Kagunda, Elimu Trust, Dr. Ng’ang’a Ministry of Health, Dr. Kinuthia, Gender Violence and Recovery Center (GVRC), Mr. Boniface Ndirangu, Eden House, Julia Kagunda, Elim Trust, Dr. Muiha, University of Nairobi Medical Department and Ms. Elsa Ouma, Senior Administrator CBPS.