11 October 2021
Africa University’s student body celebrated the Day of the Girl Child through a workshop organized by the Campus Life Department of the Dean of Students Unit where both female and male students came together to discuss the importance of female empowerment and shone a light on difficult topics that impede progress towards realizing this goal such as gender based violence and anti- progressive stereotypes.
In a display of sisterhood and intergenerational knowledge sharing, presenters at the special occasion were drawn from across the university with Librarian Dr. Rosemary Maturure, Chaplain Reverend Maudy Muchanyerei , Sister in Charge Mrs. Tsitsi Murapa and Alumni Association President Dr. Faith Nyamukapa sharing pearls of wisdom and encouragement. Held under the theme , My voice, our equal future, presentations focused on how female students can uplift and celebrate each other, how to stand out and how young women can learn self- respect and worth.
*According to the United Nations, the International Day of the Girl Child focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote their empowerment. It also aims to identify and amplify the voices of adolescent girls globally.
The most progressive blueprint for advancing the rights of women and girls — the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action — was adopted in 1995 during the World Conference on Women in Beijing. On December 19, 2011, United Nations General Assembly declared October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child.
Guest of honor and keynote speaker alumna Dr. Faith Nyamukapa impressed upon the attendees the necessity for today’s youth to embrace their uniqueness and to never dull themselves to fit in . Her talk was derived from her book which she published in 2020 titled, Valley Moments of Life: Stepping Out .
” I lost my mother at a young age and this really affected me mentally and emotionally. As young women and men we will face challenges that will hurt us and seem to set us back but we must find the courage and strength to soar in such circumstances. When others are sitting down stand up. When others are standing up, stand out! God put you here for a purpose and you must achieve it.”
Dr. Nyamukapa made a donation of sanitary pads and stationary to the student body of Africa University that shall go to students in need to assist in meeting basic needs along with a copy of her book which shall be made accessible to all students through the Jokomo Yamada Library.
Discussions around violence against women, how to rise above it and how to keep the conversation and debate alive made for a lively interaction between workshop facilitators and the students in attendance with young men challenged to speak up and speak out against the scourge that is especially prevalent among university students . Gender based violence in universities is often mistakenly narrowed down to sexual harassment however, the scope needs to be widened to include intimate partner violence and abuse, bullying and sexual assault in order to develop suitable policies and safe spaces for victims to come forward.
Both female and male students decried gender based violence emphasizing the inextricable link between mitigating the scourge and giving young women the space to shine. With the positivity and collective effort toward appreciating and celebrating young women and men, Africa University’s students have shown an unparalleled wisdom and eagerness to recast the narrative of gender relations within their communities and through education and action, work towards the achievement of gender equity and opportunities for all.