The United Nations women set foot on Solusi grounds on the 24th of May 2017, to carry out an assessment and observe if there was Gender Mainstreaming in the institution’s curriculum. The meeting took place in the library’s conference room and the faculty Deans, Dean of students and HODs in the various departments took part.
The programme assistant of Gender Peace and Security at UN Women Sarah Marera expressed a lot of passion on the treatment of the girl child.
“I am an advocate of gender Empowerment that is why I speak with so much passion on the treatment of the girl child.”
Sarah also needed to know if the students were benefiting from the Gender mainstreaming at Solusi. The Dean of faculty of Arts Mr. R. D. Manungo responded by saying that though the Gender degree programme is not yet in place the students were being educated on gender issues in their modules/courses. He also said that the Gender Policy was to be implemented first then the Gender studies Degree programme would follow.
Interesting questions were exchanged during the course of the meeting and one of the notable ones was how lecturers could address or teach gender issues with the existence of a gender which is neither male nor female and where would this group fall? This was one of the challenges met in other institutions. Fortunately the UN Women stated that when it comes to issues of Gender they always liaise with the country’s constitution.
On discussion also was the suggestion that Gender issues could be taken as a general course in which all the students in the institution could take it as a compulsory course.
“I think all students should take this cause despite their major so that all of them can get the knowledge of gender sensitivity. It helps them even when they go to the industries for work they won’t be taken advantage of. The main focus is on the girl child who is often taken advantage of, abused and also mistreated without sidelining the boy child too,” said Sarah.
She also pointed out that some of the students were being abused and yet they had no knowledge about it.
Solusi has been cooperating a lot when it comes to issues of gender as it managed to send close to 17 lecturers last year to go and receive training on “Gender Mainstreaming in Curriculum Development Process – strengthening Capacities for Gender Sensitive Peace and Security in Zimbabwe.” Students have benefited a lot on the courses. This is mainly because a number of them are interested in it and have started writing their own articles concerning gender issues.
Mr. Manungo also pointed out what other lecturers were doing with regards to Gender Issues within Solusi grounds.
“The HOD in the History department Mr. J. Ndimande and colleagues are going to publish research journals on Gender in December. This clearly shows that the institution is Gender conscious and is willing to educate more who are not yet in the same boat.”
“Also outside the curriculum [socially], the students are beginning to put on gender hats and very soon the SRC elections are going to take place and Solusi has two female students running for the Presidential post which was normally a post reserved for the male figure.”
The Dean of students Dr. C. N. Thebe also noted that the seventh Day Adventist church has always worn the gender hat and has always considered women as important figures in the church.
“The SDA church has always recognized women and their importance. We have the women’s ministries department which includes all women from the age of 15 upwards and there is the Dorcas club which includes all married women.”
Mrs. Sarah Marera was pleased with the results at Solusi and also after taking note of some of the problems stressed in the meeting said that she was going to come up with a National Conference where all the institutions in Zimbabwe could meet and exchange ideas and also their needs and challenges concerning gender mainstreaming.