Reported cases of sexual and gender-based violence against university students are often dismissed on grounds of lack of evidence.
Human rights organisation, Amnesty International, says such situations leave students vulnerable and unprotected.
As an intervention, a project dubbed “Ending Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) on all University Campuses in Ghana” has been launched in Kumasi.
The objective is to make university campuses free of abuse for learning and teaching.
“The more we talk about these issues, the more people will become conscious about how to control their interaction with students in terms of the kind of communication that will go between a lecture and students,” said Samuel Komla Agbotsey, Campaigns and Fundraising Co-Ordinator of Amnesty International Ghana.
A 2019 BBC documentary entitled “Sex for Grades” exposed the extent of systematic sexual abuse against female students in West African universities.
The project collaboration between Amnesty International and Denmark’s Civil Society in Development (CISU) is to help end this endemic
Samuel Komla Agbotsey says the school environment should be free of manipulation of students into having sex with lecturers for grades.
“Students also should be very free that I deserve the mark the lecturer is giving me not because I have given in to his request for sex or I have refused him what he wants in terms of sex and relationship,” he said.
The first phase of the project will focus on relationship and capacity building for university authorities, Students’ Representative Councils, civil society and state institutions in addressing sexual violence on campuses.
“We are devoting the next six months into building relationships and network with all the institutions on board to understand ourselves how we are going to move so that when the main project starts everyone will be clear on what role to play,” said Mr. Agbotsey.
The focus currently is on capacity development of partners and interventions in Ghana and Nigeria.
Amnesty International Denmark’s strategic goal over the next years is to develop a SGBV program in West Africa.
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