- Engages relevant stakeholders in discussions about sexual harassment on campuses.
- App ready for wide adoption on Nigerian campuses, amid endorsements.
By Agbaje Ayomide
To address sexual harassment on Nigerian tertiary institutions, Gender Mobile Initiative, a non-governmental organisation leveraging technology in gender-based violence prevention and response, has launched its feature-rich mobile App, Campus Pal.
The app launch event was held on Tuesday, April 24, in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nigeria and convened in partnership and support from Ford Foundation.
The event had in attendance heads of government agencies, regulatory bodies and higher institutions, development partners, civil society organizations, students, faculties, the media, amongst other relevant stakeholders. The keynote address was delivered by H.E. Erelu Bisi-Adeleye Fayemi, the Ekiti State First Lady and a panel session was featured by a line-up of experts including the Vice Chancellor, University of Abuja, Emalohi Iruobe and other key figures in anti-sexual harassment advocacy.
According to Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi in her address, she recommended that all tertiary institutions adopt a zero-tolerance approach to all forms of Sexual and Gender Based Violence and promote a healthy culture devoid of fear and intimidation in their schools. “Students must feel safe on campus, and victims also have a right to be heard and not to be intimidated or shamed into silence,” she said.
“All tertiary institutions should have a Sexual Offences and Harassment Policy, and all lecturers, workers and students must be familiar with its provisions. School authorities should make the required financial, material and technical resources available for the implementation of any Sexual Harassment policies put in place.”
While speaking at the event and unveiling the mobile application, Omowumi Ogunrotimi, the Executive Director of Gender Mobile Initiative, Omowunmi Ogunrotimi, noted that CampusPal App is a mobile platform with confidentiality-driven reporting, tracking and management of reported cases, and access to support community and safe spaces. This is in line with its core mission of leveraging technology for social good and impact in tackling gender-based violence. “It supports proactive bystander intervention, information escrow, access learning centre to learn about policies, case appeal and onboarding information function,” she added.
Also, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, who was represented at the event, also stated the need for tertiary institutions to “inaugurate proactive policy aimed at preventing sexual harassment within the learning and teaching spaces as complementary approaches to CampusPal application. However, he also advised that, while ensuring confidentiality and data privacy, the mobile technology platform should be operated within the confines of our extant laws.
With over 101 higher institutions who have expressed interest, the app initiative is set to respond to the scourge of sexual harassment on campus. Asides reporting a case, the app also has other key features that provide relevant information and support including a students’ onboarding information platform, the institution’s timetable, the user institution’s sexual harassment policy, campus map and an open forum to promote peer to peer interaction
The organizations, agencies and groups present are the event include theIndependent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), National Orientation Agency (NOA), Committee of Vice-Chancellors, Ministry of Education, National Universities’ Commission (NUC), National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and Nigerian Union of Campus Journalists (NUCJ).
In the last 3 years, Gender Mobile has been driving policy engagements towards deconstructing the culture that facilitate power-centred sexual harassment to thrive in environments of learning with its Campus Initiative and a network of campus ambassadors. Afterwards, the organisation hopes to embark on a mobile app adoption outreach to campuses across Nigeria to inform and encourage members of tertiary Institutions to use CampusPal app and adopt the Campus Initiative project.