Tanzania: Gender Desks for Higher Learning Institutions in Offing

COALITION against Gender-Based Violence (Mkuki) has reiterated a need to establish gender desks in higher learning institutions in the country to curb sextortion at campuses.

Speaking in Dar es Salaam yesterday ahead of the launch of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) tomorrow, Director of Women in Law and Development Africa (WiLDAF) Anna Kulaya said although the government had taken several measures to end the vice and ensure perpetrators were held accountable, GBV at different universities was still a challenge.

Sextortion is a form of corruption that employs non-physical forms of coercion to extort sexual favours from the victim.

In most cases, those entrusted with power, for example, educators, government officials, judges, law enforcers and employers seek to extort sexual favours in exchange for something within their jurisdictions to grant or withhold.

Examples of such abuses of power include government officials who request sexual favours to obtain licences or permits, teachers who trade good grades for sex with students and employers who make providing sexual favours a condition for employment.

The 16 Days of Activism against GBV will run from November 25 to International Human Rights Day on December 10, this year, a campaign launched by the Centre for Women's Global Leadership (CWGL) at its first Women's Global Leadership Institute in 1991, has been used worldwide to call for the elimination of GBV.

"During the 16 days, among other things, we will also have a caravan route in various regions to advocate gender desks to be established in universities for the students to be free to report incidents of sextortion," she said.

Head of Communications Unit in the Ministry of Health (Community Development) Prudence Constantine said this year's campaign theme was 'End Gender-Based Violence: Change Begins with Me'.

"The theme is a call to action for every one of us to take responsibility to end GBV by tackling persistent social norms that devalue women and girls and ensure survivors can access comprehensive support service," he said.

Last year, a 70-year-old lecturer with National Institute of Transport Samson Mahimbo was jailed for soliciting sex from a female student in exchange for good marks.

As part of efforts to control an increase in sexual harassment cases, Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) has launched a special campaign to raise public awareness about the dangers of sexual corruption.

Under its slogan 'Kataa rushwa ya ngono' (Reject sexual corruption) trained officers will go to the streets to educate people on how to defeat the social malady.

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