Tertiary students have been urged to make use of the new Freedom of Information Act and exercise their right to access information where student policies are concerned.
The new Act repeals the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).
Anna Sande, a Tag a Life International (TaLl) alumni and student at the University of Zimbabwe said the Freedom of Information Act gives an opportunity for students to fully exercise their rights and be able to speak out on issues that affect them on campus.
She said the Act provides students with the ability to enquire on university policies that are in line with protecting themselves against any abuses they might face on campus.
“Peer educators are able to enquire from institutions what policies are in place to address sexual harassment on campus as well as address how lecturers who abuse students can be held accountable for their actions. This has been long overdue,” said Sande.
“There is information that we wish our institutions to disclose especially on sexual harassment. There is not much being talked about concerning this and yet it is a critical issue that students need to know including statistics of cases.”
She emphasised that young women should equip themselves and be knowledgeable about the law in order to protect themselves from any abuses they might encounter.
“You first start with knowing the law, that it is there to protect you and make use of the tools you need to exercise it. For instance, it is allowed to go to the police station and inquire about how the police handle gender-based violence cases as well as any case that involves young women,” added Sande.
In an effort to raise awareness of the new act, TaLI in partnership with Identities Media, Fojo, and the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services is running a six months campaign called “My Freedom of Information.”
The campaign is meant to educate and encourage women, girls and people living with disabilities to seek out information they need from public authorities.
The act is also aimed at assisting female journalists to enjoy the law and assert their right to access of information.