1. Kyambogo University Marks its first International Women’s Day April, 5th, 2019
On 5th April 2019, Kyambogo University joined the rest of the world to commemorate international women’s day at the University main campus, the first of its kind under the theme: “Think equal, build smart and innovate for change” and coordinated by the Directorate of Gender Mainstreaming. The day served as an occasion to advocate for equal participation in innovation, technology and other fields of science where women with the highest CGPA for both Arts and Science courses and best exhibitors of the day from the Department of Industrial Art & Design received awards for their outstanding innovation and contributions in their fields of work. A march past by students and staff opened the function accompanied by the Band from the Department of Music, Dance and Drama of KyU.
The Acting Director Dr. Opit Elizabeth was happy to report that the University Council approved Kyambogo University Gender Policy and directed Management to establish the Directorate of Gender Mainstreaming both of which (Policy and Directorate) were operational. The process of developing an Anti-Sexual Harassment Policy for the University was ongoing and all this would support mainstreaming gender-related issues at the University.
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Prof Maria Musoke Kiwanuka in her welcome remarks underscored the importance of education in creating avenues through which perceptions and attitudes are positively influenced; creativity and critical thinking skills developed and the opportunity presented for male and female to fully engage their brains in finding solutions to problems. She commended young women with innovative ideas who had founded solutions to problems in society; citing an example of Phyllis Kyomuhendo of KyU whose innovation of the mScan technology had received the Overall Young Achievers Award in 2018. She emphasized education as a solution to many societal issues including the marginalization of women.
A cross-section of KyU Management and the Guest of Honor who graced the function
The keynote speaker Mrs. Jane Mpagi, a social development consultant challenged Kyambogo University to invent and propagate innovative solutions and technologies that would work and transform women and girls’ lives for the better geared at the achievement of gender equality. Such innovations would, for example, assist women in the field of agriculture to increase production and improve their productivity; in energy to reduce time and labour on unpaid care and domestic work, and e-learning platforms and technology to explore markets.
The Deputy Vice Chairperson of Kyambogo University Council Dr Goretti Nakabugo made reference to Steve Jobs statement with regard to discrimination that, “the source of sustainable wealth and capital in this 21st Century is not material things…. It is the human commitment to have consideration for others, the human spirit to desire for ourselves what we equally desire for others, the human imagination of how amazing life would be with zero discrimination and our faith in the future where all people were treated equally.” She, therefore, applauded Kyambogo University for maintaining being the Centre of Academic Excellency and its continued commitment to the promotion of gender equality since its attainment of a University Status in 2003 by among others:
KyU Performance on Gender and Equity Budgeting BFP 2019/2019
- Graduated 1,113 (12.4%) Female engineers.
- Hired female Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Academic Affairs and a female Academic Registrar in Top Management Positions.
- Appointed 03 (three) Female Deans of Faculties and a female Dean of Students.
- Boasts of 20 (two) Female PhD holders
- Had two 02 (two) female Guild Presidents and Female Vice Presidents.
The Chief Guest of the day Lady Justice Prof. Lillian Tibatemwa Ekirikubinza of the Supreme Court of Uganda in her experience to the achievement of women’s empowerment noted that the barriers to girls’ education are not about resources, access to scholarships, transportation or school bathrooms but it was about attitudes and beliefs. She advised all women to be encouraged by Mwalimu Julius Nyerere quotation in his book entitled “Women’s Freedom: Women are Eagles, Not Chickens”, that:
“Women, you were created in the image of God, but people have made you think that you are chickens, and you yourselves also think so, but you are actually eagles. Straighten your wings and fly, do not be content with chicken feed. With your own efforts and with the support of your friends take yourselves out of this state of weakness in which you are today so that you can enjoy freedom and justice …”
2. Induction Training of the Kyambogo University Gender Technical Working Committee – GWTC
The Gender Technical Working Group Committee is a core team of the University in implementing the Gender Policy. The Directorate of Gender Mainstreaming organized a 3-day induction training that took place on 22nd, 23rd and 29th June 2019.
The purpose of the training was to train the GTWC on how to perform their tasks and duties (Ref. their Terms of References). The training introduced the GTWC on the identification of gender and equity issues from the different units. This was in preparation for the upcoming development of a 5-year Gender and Equity Strategic Plan of the University. This will enhance gender and equity resource allocation making KyU a gender-responsive Institution of Academic Excellence.
The three days came up with the following recommendations and way forward
- The Gender Technical Working Group Committee was tasked to support the Planning Unit with gender and equity information to be included in the Ministerial Policy Statement in line with government priorities under the Budget Call Circular.
- For planning purposes, the committee should engage in discussions about the fees generated for each course in relation to the amount of money allocated to that faculty. There should be a cost analysis of each course to avoid courses like Engineering getting funding from other courses like Business Administration leaving such courses without enough money to run their activities. For courses/ faculties that have a big budget, their income generation must also be high in order to sustain their activities.
- There is a need to constantly write and remind the government that if it is pushing a policy on improving sciences then they should provide enough money for it. Normally the courses of humanities and social sciences are given fewer funds yet they have the bigger number of students who also need more training in skills like public speaking which isn’t provided. Parliament committees and educational committees should be informed about this so that they can increase the monies for science courses which need a lot of specialized equipment so that funding can be increased.
- Each committee member in their respective department was tasked to identify gender and equity issues and propose solutions on how to address them. For example, Human Resource shares information on recruitment levels over a certain period of time with improvement in closing gender and equity gaps. Special needs to share information about the number of disability centres and resources that they have and how they plan to expand with the growing numbers of students in the university. School of Management can plan exhibitions that are led by girls to showcase entrepreneurship skills for the girl child. The Dean of Students shares a report on the leadership gap and the interventions they are planning to put in place to bridge that gap.
3. The Directorate Disseminates Kyambogo University Gender Policy to staff and Students of KyU
Kyambogo University Gender Policy was approved in 2014 with a purpose of promoting gender equity, equality and empowerment among staff and students of Kyambogo University. The KyU Gender Policy shall contribute to transforming the university into a leading gender-responsive institution of academic excellence. The KYU Gender policy is meant to enable the university effectively mainstream gender in its core functions.
In separate meetings, the policy was disseminated to Academic and Administrative staff of KYU on 2nd& 3rd May 2018 and targeted Deans of Faculties (8), Heads of Academic Departments (34), Heads of Administrative Departments (13) and Heads of Directorates (3). The policy was also disseminated to 200 students of Kyambogo University on 22nd, 23rd and 28th March 2018. The students included student leaders from all faculties and departments with the objective of introducing relevant gender concepts, identifying gender and equity issues and creating awareness about gender and equity responsive planning and budgeting. The KyU Gender Policy is annually disseminated to different Stakeholders of the University to enhance institutionalization of gender equality and equity in the core functions of the University.
Key recommendations that emerged from the dissemination of the KyU Gender Policy
- Decentralization of the Gender policy to departments and classrooms to allow information trickle down to the lowest levels to facilitate planning and budgeting for diverse gender and equity needs at department and faculty levels;
- continuous sensitization and training on gender planning and budgeting;
- Increased awareness about the implementation of the Gender policy through reinstating a monthly online Newsletter to make it cheaper and easier to be accessed by students and staff of the university in different locations;
- Enhanced institutionalization of gender committees at all levels i.e administration, academia, students and support staff to oversee gender-responsive planning and budgeting;
- Continuous affirmative action for students with disabilities not to be rated with the same CPGA as normal students;
Amendment the guild constitution to have more girls in leadership at faculty level instead of one.
4. Addressing Sexual Violence at Kyambogo University
In response to a letter from parliament inquiring about Sexual Violence at Kyambogo University, a select committee was instituted under the Directorate of Gender Mainstreaming that established the following;
The extent of Sexual Violence cannot be determined since most of the victims are unwilling to report and no conclusive statistics/documentation. The victims seek health assistance but do not pursue legal justice.
Minimal coordination of existing structures (Security, Medical and the Counseling Unit, Disciplinary committee and Student tribunal) to support the establishment of a database on sexual Violence.
Measures the University has instituted to address the vice and support services according to the victims/ survivors
- Develop Anti-Sexual Harassment Policy to guide receiving, investigating and resolving complaints of Sexual Violence. It is supported with the University Anti-Sexual Harassment Committee with guidelines to handle cases of sexual harassment. The Committee also creates awareness about the Anti-Sexual Harassment Policy.
- Implementation of Kyambogo University Mentorship Initiative that trains mentors to guide first-year students against conmen, academic malpractices and any vulnerabilities to reduce risks of encountering situations of Sexual Violence among students.
- Existing police post where students file cases and report crimes against their oppressors. This ensures the safety and security of victims against the perpetrators.
- A well-stocked Medical Center to treat and provide appropriate medication including Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) to victims of Sexual Violence.
- The lighting of the University to make the mobility of Students and Staff safe and secure at night to reduce the risk of Sexual Violence acts like rape on campus.
- Existence of a record of books at the entrance of halls of residences and hostels to keep track of the people entering and going out to reduce the acts of Sexual Violence. Non-residents leave IDs at the entrance that can be identified in case something goes wrong.
- Sensitization programs, public lectures, orientation/induction programs provide security tips to reduce risky situations that link someone to acts of Sexual Violence. It is a combined effort by the Directorate of Gender Mainstreaming, the Guild Cabinet, Office of the Dean of Students and Guidance and Counseling Unit.
Way Forward for the Management and Control of Sexual Violence at KyU
- Conduct a baseline survey to determine the causes and extent of the Sexual Violence at Kyambogo University. This will help the University to understand the extent to which Sexual Violence has affected students and staff.
- Establish a sexual violence database with online reporting.
- Review the Human Resource Manual to include sanctions for perpetrators of Sexual Violence.
- Review the assessment and grading system across all programs of the other university to reduce the loopholes of sex for marks which is one of the main reasons for Sexual Harassment in Universities.
- Review the Fresher induction booklets to emphasize Sexual Violence.
5. Established Structures and Terms of References for Committees Supporting the Directorate of Gender Mainstreaming at Kyambogo University
A) Terms of Reference (TORs) for the Directorate of Gender Mainstreaming
- The Directorate shall among others develop and implement a Gender a
- The Directorate shall ensure mainstreaming gender in the entire Kyambogo University Community through the enforcement of the University Gender Policy and other related policies.
- Through the gender equality committee, the Directorate will draft periodic reports for the Vice-Chancellor and making appropriate recommendations towards improving gender environment in the University.
- The Directorate shall strengthen faculties and Schools (sentinel sites) to mainstream gender in their work plans, budgets and Monitoring and Evaluation tools.
B) Composition and Terms of Reference for the Gender Equality Committee
Composition of the Gender Equality Committee
- Kyambogo University
- Ministry of Education and Sports in particular BTVET, TIET and Gender Unit
- Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development
- Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development
- Equal Opportunities Commission
- Makerere University- School of Women and Gender Studies.
- Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) Uganda
- Development Partners in Education/Research Institutions
- Office of the Prime Minister
Terms of Reference (ToRs) for the Gender Equality Committee
- Defines the strategic direction of KYU on gender equality in consultation with the relevant Ministries, Agencies and Institutions
- Supports KYU Faculties, Schools, Directorates, Departments and Affiliated Institutions in fulfilling their roles and responsibilities for the achievement of gender equality.
- Supports KYU Faculties, Schools, Directorates¸ Departments and Affiliated Institutions in developing and implementing relevant policies and programmes on gender equality.
- Supports the development of gender-responsive performance indicators and setting of KYU performance targets including informing and supporting University Council in monitoring and evaluation efforts to achieve gender equality, keeping abreast of opportunities to improve the status of women and men in the various academic and administrative fields.
- Provides oversight to the Directorate of Gender Mainstreaming in promoting accountability on the delivery of gender equality in KyU including supporting staff to conduct gender equality assessments/audits and support supervision.
- Provides quality assurance for all gender equality processes and programmes, supporting and approving ToRs, study tools, review and monitoring processes of the University.
- Networks with external and internal centres of expertise on gender equality including international agencies, national institutes, academia and NGOs, relevant to the University’s mandate.
- Guide action research for purposes of coming up with innovative ideas and projects aimed at promoting gender equality in KyU.
C) Terms of Reference (ToRs) for Kyambogo University Gender Technical Working Committee (GTWC)
The Kyambogo University Gender Technical Working Committee (GTWC) shall be composed of Gender Focal Persons from the Faculty, School, and Directorate and all other academic and administrative Departmental planning and budgeting Units.
The Terms of Reference for KYU Gender Technical Working Committee include the following:
- Support the integration of gender in Faculty, School, Directorate and Departmental planning and budgeting processes.
- Support knowledge management on gender issues related to the University mandate by acting as a “help desk” for the faculty, school, directorate and departmental and sharing knowledge through contributing to and forwarding to all staff periodic gender requests for articles and resources.
- Inform and support Management in monitoring and evaluation efforts to achieve gender equality, keeping abreast of opportunities to improve the status of male and female staff and students in the faculty, school, directorate and department and affiliated institutions.
- Support the Directorate of Gender Mainstreaming in identifying capacity gaps and capacity building for gender mainstreaming among colleagues.
- Advocate for equal representation and participation of both men and women in pieces of training, committees, organs and other University programmes.
- Act as a liaison with the Directorate of Gender Mainstreaming which coordinates all processes, programmes relating to gender mainstreaming within the KyU and participate in gender mainstreaming processes, programmes and activities.
- Support the Directorate of Gender Mainstreaming to scrutinize the University policies, plans, budgets, innovations and project proposals among others to ensure gender responsiveness.
- Make proposals and recommendations for engendering University programmes and activities.