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KIU students urged to speak out against Gender-Based Violence

By Isaac Akugizibwe
KIU, Main Campus- Kampala International University (KIU) in partnership with Uganda Women Network and Action Frontiers has opened war against gender-based Violence by equipping students with knowledge and skills.

A students' dialogue held at KIU on Friday 3rd December 2021, marked the end of the students’ peer training in commemoration of the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, challenged students to report cases of gender-based violence within and outside the university.

Friday's dialogue was part of the " End Sexual harassment in Universities" campaign organized by Uganda Women Network (UWONET), a non-government organization that focuses on gender transformation and empowerment of women. The campaign also addresses sexual harassment in universities.

Speaking during the dialogue, Diana Kagere, a gender-based advocate at UWONET called upon students to feel free and open up against any act that can tantamount to gender-based Violence. 

Kagere also said that acts like sexual harassment may lead to emotional distress and poor academic performance.

"It is important to disclose information, speak out because if you don't, you will encourage the perpetrator to go on," Kagere advised, adding that there is a need for concentrated effort to make sure that the perpetrators of sexual harassment and other gender-based Violence acts are held accountable.

At the dialogue also, Birungi Sylvia, a socio-psychology lecturer at KIU, challenged female students to act responsibly and according to the widely accepted morals to avoid tempting their lecturers and male counterparts.

"If lecturers are supposed to follow the code of conduct and ethics, what about you students, are you supposed to undress for everyone? " She asked.

The guest of honor, Assoc. Prof. Janice Busingye, the KIU Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of finance and administration (DVCFA), closed the event by calling upon students to reconsider what took them to university before anything else. 

She asked students to enjoy their lives at KIU without involving in dangerous acts. "Focus on what brought you to KIU, finish it and get out," Prof. Janice advised.

Speaking to Aaron Niwarinda, the outgoing KIU student peer training project Coordinator and founder of Action Frontiers, Friday's dialogue was a success though it featured about 100 students.

"It has been a fruitful deliberation. We have had students, student leaders, lecturers, and administrators all attending the dialogue to address gender-based violence," he remarked.

"This December with support from UWONET, we intend to train more peer trainers with a focus on lower years so that they can push the project in the future," Niwarinda promised.

The end sexual harassment in universities campaign is covering three top universities in Uganda. The campaign was first held at Mukono-based Uganda Christian University (UCU) on 26th November 2021, a week before it moved to Uganda's leading private University, KIU on Friday 3rd December 2021. It is set to end at Makerere University on 9th December 2021.