The #CampusMeToo campaign was launched on 19th November, 2019 at the University of Nairobi, main campus. This saw student leaders from various Kenyan universities grace the occasion and asking other students to sign the petition for the change and implementation of policies around sexual harassment in higher institutions. The campaign comes weeks after a BBC documentary titled ‘Sex for Grades’ exposed how lecturers in West African institutions of higher learning preyed on their students.
In a research conducted by ActionAid Kenya, out of 1,015 students 49% female and 24% male have experienced sexual harassment from a staff member at their institution. 66% of the incidences were by a lecturer. Many of the victims of sexual harassment do not tell anyone. 38% female and 33% male students think it would be unlikely that the institution will take a report of sexual harassment seriously.
There were creative performances from University of Nairobi Travelling Theatre (UNTT) and Daystar University and a panel discussion on sexual harassment in higher institutions where students were encouraged to use whatever means they have to speak out on cases in Universities involving sexual harassment.
The petition which will be delivered to the Ministry of Education has 5 demands and a call for the Ministry to commit to ensuring higher learning institutions uphold the laws on sexual harassment outlined in the sexual harassment outlined in the Sexual Offences Act Section 23 and 24. The following are the demands in the petition:
- Facilitate all newly enrolled students to watch an educational resource on sexual harassment, and make sexual harassment a topic in every induction for newly enrolled students.
- Conduct a yearly training for all staff on sexual harassment. At the end of the training, all staff must sign a standardized code of conduct and ethics.
- Appoint a Gender Officer with the obligation to: facilitate training and outreach on sexual harassment; provide resources and support to victims of sexual harassment; and develop, disseminate, implement and review relevant policies on sexual harassment.
- Establish an investigative committee that students can approach when they have received unfair or missing marks due to instances of sexual harassment from university lecturers or staff.
- Incorporate Demands 1 – 4 into its sexual harassment policy, publish an annual report detailing the progress on achieving the objectives, and implement a sexual harassment assessment survey every two years to monitor the issue.
You can sign the petition here https://sdg-ambassadors.com/petition/
The campaign involves Vunja Kalabash, ActionAid, UN Women, and Imara TV.