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UoN Hosts a Gender Based Violence Symposium
Universities in the country have been challenged to provide safer campuses to students to enable them pursue their academic endeavours without worrying about insecurity that breeds gender based violence and the like.
This was the said when a four days symposium on gender based violence was held at the UoN and organized by Sema GBV. SEMA – (Mapenzi bila chuki) which translates to Speak out –(Love without hate) is the fifth pillar in the Kenya Gender Based Violence Partnership (KGBVP) program which seeks to address attitudes and prevent stereotypical thinking around gender issues, facilitate behaviour change by overcoming negative gender norms, and advocate for policies that promote gender inclusion in the communities, campuses, and secondary schools.
Speaking during the gender based violence symposium at the University of Nairobi, Prof. Bernard Aduda, Principal, College of Biological and Physical Sciences noted that the University of Nairobi has made significant steps to provide safer campus to students and has firmly dealt with cases involving sexual violence.
The University Administration has taken measures such as lighting the campus, security, providing clean and conducive environment for teaching and learning, provision of counselling services to victims of sexual violence and provision of health professionals to provide a safer learning environment.
The conference brought together various groups among them; Ministry of Health, various non-governmental organizations dealing with gender issues and University of Nairobi student clubs, Women Students' Welfare Association (WOSWA) among others.
Going forward, action plans and gender violence policy will be developed for institutions of higher learning.
Several speakers reiterated the need to provide confidentiality to victims of gender based violence, to deal with offenders, have adequate counsellors to handle the victims, have health professionals to handle rape victims, have proper structures within Universities to handle gender based violence cases and the need to have proper awareness campaigns to new students on gender based violence.
Forms of gender based violence that were identified include: rape, sexual harassment and online sexual violence.
The four days symposium was held at the Central Catering Unit from Monday, September 10 to Friday, September 13, 2016 at the Central Catering Unit.