Commemorating 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence
The College Challenge -Zero Tolerance for Sexual Harassment in Colleges of Education!
Every year, the United Nations declares November 25 to December 10 as a period of campaign to end violence against women across the world. This period, is mainly dedicated to raising awareness and generating public support for the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls. These sixteen days has other significant international days:
- 25 November – International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
- 1 December – International Aids Day
- 3 December – International Day of the Disabled
- 6 December – Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre
- 10 December – World Human Rights Day
The global theme for this year’s campaign is “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape”.
The theme was selected in recognition that sexual abuse including rape is strongly rooted in a complex set of patriarchal beliefs, power, and control that continue to create a social environment in which sexual violence is pervasive and normalized. The exact numbers of rape and sexual assaults cases are difficult to confirm due to the extent of impunity surrounding sexual violence, the stigma towards victims, and its associated culture of silence.
In recent times, the issues of sexual abuse including sexual harassment has received increased attention across the world. In Ghana, the spotlight has been thrown on sexual harassment within academic institutions particularly after the airing of a BBC Documentary titled “Sex for Grades”, making sexual harassment a topical issue that can no more be ignored, therefore calling for increased actions to address it.
Given, this year’s theme, it will be strategic for Colleges of Education to join the global campaign by accelerating efforts to address sexual harassment within CoEs over the sixteen days period.
In line with this, the National Council for Tertiary Education with support from T-TEL is inviting colleges to a CHALLENGE dubbed The College Challenge!; where colleges embark on creative and innovative activities targeted at increasing awareness on sexual harassment within the college community. The Challenge also encourages CoEs management to demonstrate a strong level of political will to ensure a sexual harassment free environment.
Objectives of The College Challenge!
- Increase awareness and understanding of what constitutes sexual harassment and how seek help
- Demonstrate a clear commitment to keep the college environment safe and free of sexual abuse.
- Break the silence and facilitate safe and frank discussions around issues of sexual abuse in the college community.
- Declare zero tolerance for sexual harassment.
- Boost confidence of victims and witnesses of sexual harassment to report.
Recommended Activities for The College Challenge!
These proposed activities are intended to inspire CoEs as they think through and design their activities. CoEs are not restricted to these activities; they are encouraged to develop very innovative and creative activities as they may find suitable.
- Banner campaign – display of banners with educational messages on sexual harassment
- Daily broadcasts – serialize sections of the CoE/ NCTE Sexual Harassment policy
- Seminars/ talks/ lectures – Discuss sexual harassment issues openly using well-informed resource persons
- Quizzes/ debates/ skits/ drama etc
- Support the Campaign (Dress Orange) – spot an orange attire accompanied with dissemination of information of sexual harassment
- Orange your social media presence – messages on all your social media platforms should increase awareness on sexual harassment.
- Voice to Victims (hear their experience) – create safe spaces for reporting or experience sharing. This can include circulating secured email addresses, phone numbers, reporting boxes etc to encourage people to share their experiences or report cases of abuse
- Sample opinions on prevalence of sexual harassment within the college using Paper or Online Surveys, and share findings in creative ways.
- HeForShe Campaign – Mobilize men as crusaders against sexual harassment in the CoEs
- Use creative arts to communicate messages on sexual harassment within the CoEs
- Orange Ribbon Day – declaration of commitment by CoEs management and leaders to effectively prevent and address sexual harassment. This can be accompanied by the tying of orange ribbons on the wrist of everyone in the CoE.
- Walk-in-Her Shoes/ Walk-in-His Shoes Day – A day where men and women walk in the shoes of the opposite sex to acknowledge the effect and pain of sexual harassment victims and also show solidarity to end sexual harassment. This activity is one loud way of discussing gender-based violence.
- The Orange League – A day of competitive sports to increase awareness on sexual harassment
- Inter-CoEs Competition – Any competitive activity (quizzes, debate, sports etc) between 2 or more colleges to increase awareness sexual harassment.
- Pledge Your Support in 16 Words – CoE put up messages (in 16 words or less) from college community members pledging support to end sexual harassment or pledging not to commit sexual harassment.
- College Durbar – A gathering of college community members to discuss sexual harassment and agree on the way forward.
Criteria for Participation:
- Activities must be implemented within the sixteen-day period but must not necessarily take places on each of the 16 days (25th November, 2019 to 10th December, 2019).
- Activities must be creative, innovative and exciting
- Activities must lead to increased awareness on sexual harassment and how to seek help (Hint: depending on the nature of activity, it may be important to conduct baseline and endline surveys to measure levels of awareness)
- Activities MUST target members of the CoE, either as individual groups or collectively as an institution (students, teaching staff, non-teaching staff, management, governing council)
- Activities MUST be interactive where a large number of college community members are involved and are engaged on the issue of sexual harassment.
Submission of Entries
- Entry into The College Challenge! Shall be based on the submission of an activity report (activity should have taken place within the 16 days period).
- Each entry must provide detailed information on the activities as follows: what was done; how was it done; who led it; who participated; what was the output and outcome; any significant or outstanding experience or impact. Entry must also clearly state the goal and intended outcome of the activity.
- All entries must clearly focus on sexual harassment. Means of verification (evidence) should be indicated.
- Reporting may take any format – narrative report, powerpoint presentation, videos, pictures etc. Online links and sources should be shared where applicable. An entry with sufficient visual evidence stands a higher chance of being shortlisted.
- Deadline for submission is Friday 20th December, 2019 before or at midnight.
Award – The College Challenge!
- Three (3) CoEs with the most innovative and impactful activities shall receive an award of GHc 5,000. 00
- All qualified entries shall receive a “16 Days of Activism Champion” Certificate.
- The awards to the three (3) best CoEs will be presented during the launch the National GESI Strategic Plan in January, 2020.
- Winners will be announced by early January, 2020