ZIMBABWE Child President Tinaye Mbavari on Tuesday said gender-based violence was now prevalent in schools while se_xual violence affected both boys and girls and hindered them from reaching their academic potential.
Speaking at an event held by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation regional office for Southern Africa at a Harare hotel, Mbavari said social norms as well as gender stereotypes and unequal power dynamites fuelled school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV).
“It is important to note that se_xual violence affects both boys and girls in all countries regardless of the levels of economic development,” Mbavari said, adding that there was need for the educational curriculum to incorporate issues to do with SRGBV.
SRGBV refers to acts of se_xual, physical or psychological violence and is a universal phenomenon that impacts millions of children worldwide.
The Child President said although non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were doing their best through conducting workshops, there was need for follow-up mechanics if the trainings were to be effective.
“I know NGOs are trying their best by having workshops and inviting teachers to teach them on SRGBV, but they are not doing follow-ups. My suggestion as Child President is that these NGOs should go into the schools themselves and do the lessons systematically with teachers and students as audience,” she said.
Mbavari said tuck-shops should be banned in schools as they were forcing schoolgirls into compromising positions with teachers so they could access cash to buy goodies.
“Schools must ban tuck-shops as girls are being abused by teachers or other peers at the price of a dollar to buy lunch. If schools want to benefit through selling commodities, they should introduce cafeterias where parents pay monthly food allowances for their children,” she said.