A Two-day Residential Meeting on Formulation of a Data Collection Mechanism aimed at Addressing Gender-Based Discriminations and Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria Organized by Alliances for Africa (AfA)

Co- Impact Project

Funded by Co-Impact, Alliances for Africa (AfA) held a Two-day Residential Meeting on Formulation of a Data Collection Mechanism aimed at Addressing Gender-Based Discriminations and Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria.

Sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination have remained an endemic concern ravaging tertiary institutions in Nigeria with long implications on the welfare of women, girls and the vulnerable group. Though efforts have been made at different levels but we realize that to address this issue requires a holistic and multisectoral approach which involves system change, foundational education, creating inclusive systems that are gender sensitive, policies that protect and deter victimization or re-occurrence of same.

AfA engaged with these heads of Gender Units of tertiary institutions and the vulnerable group to critically xray the issues and facilitate change on the 10 – 13th September, 2023.

The meeting was also to provide a comprehensive understanding of the Co-Impact project, fostering strategic and result-oriented engagement among stakeholders as well as plan on how to access harmonized data for baseline studies in the project.

The Co-Impact project is a collaborative endeavor aimed at addressing the issue of sexual harassment  in the tertiary institutions through system change.

The participants  identified some of the challenges towards  addressing Sexual harassment in the tertiary institutions both structurally and social culturally as well as proffer solutions.

  • Absence of gender and sexual harassment policy documents in some institutions
  • Where present, lack of awareness and sensitization
  • Lack of implementation giving rise to impunity
  • Patriarchy system in the universities
  • Under prioritization of the institutions
  • Break down of values, (cutting corners – end justifies the means attitude
  • Not appointing the right  persons into positions of authority
  • Under reporting incidences of  of sexual harassment

Socio cultural factors

  • Complicity on the part of the students
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Conspiracy of silence
  • Normative behaviour Women are not given fair opportunity and are not elected into positions of leadership within the system
  • Ignorance  and lack of knowledge
  • Complacency
  • Biases Men feel discriminated against as a result of creation of women centre in the university
  • Fear of stigmatization fear of failure
  • Religion, some departments bring religion into appointments example department of Islamic studies etc.

Some of the solutions include:

  • Have policy documents
  • Aggressive and proactive sensitization to the hostels, faculties and departments.
  • More involvement of men in the awareness creation
  • Have gender champions/Ambassador appointed and trained for each department/faculty
  • Encourage whistle blowing policies and use of gender app.
  • Open door policy to listening to cases ore reports
  • Create multifaceted channels of  reporting sexual harassment
  • Deliberate about punishing  violators and effective implementation
  • Naming and shaming publications

The team had further agreements on the relevance of data in addressing sexual harassment in tertiary institutions, data gathering for baseline study and an action plan for execution.

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