Katswe Sistahood, a local non-governmental organisation fighting for the full attainment of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights has launched a programme to empower female students at Catholic University of Zimbabwe on how to fight against all forms of sexual violence.
The programme, Feminist on Campus (FOC), is in response to reports of sexual exploitation of female students at the university`s Bulawayo campus.
Speaking to CITE, an official from the organisation Clara Chinoruma said the programme aims to give a voice to young women to speak out against all forms of violence and create a conducive learning environment where they are free to express themselves without fear of intimidation.
“With sexual harassment in universities, revenge pornography, date rape and all forms of oppression which women are subjected to on campus, Feminist On Campus then came as a response to these issues by creating safe spaces for young women to not only share their lived realities but to also come up with solutions which curb these challenges,” said Chinomura.
She said the programme, which was launched in various universities, will empower female students.
“We have worked with various universities like Catholic University where we have engaged with very young and vibrant women who are so passionate to push the feminist agenda to improve the quality of life for young women in Zimbabwean universities,” she said.
Chinomura added that the programme will help female students by creating spaces for them to push issues from a community level by creating dialogues with lawmakers.
“For example this year in May one of the feminists on Campus members Clara Chinoruma who is the Student Representative Council president for Women’s University was able to engage President Mnangagwa on issues affecting young women in Zimbabwean tertiary institutions.”
“This shows that the FOC movement goes beyond creating dialogues in universities but taking them further to influence policy-making processes,” added Chinomura.
She also highlighted that FOC also wishes to break social norms that undermine the capability and ability of young women to thrive in all things they set their minds to do, for instance how often girls are groomed to be mothers and not entrepreneurs.
She said the programme will also use the arts to help young people express themselves openly.