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FSNT holds awareness campaigns for college girls 

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FSNT holds awareness campaigns for college girls 


Ellen Mlambo

MASVINGO-Female Students Network Trust (FSNT), a Non-Governmental Organisation working with female students at tertiary institutions is conducting awareness workshops. 
The workshops reacted to a story published by The Mirror where a Government Minister, Davis Marapira, allegedly pestered a first-year Biotechnology National University of Science and Technology (NUST) student for sex. The Minister was her benefactor and threatened to withdraw his support if she spurned his advances. 
Marapira is the Minister of State responsible for Agricultural Colleges, Water Resources, Irrigation Development, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. He sponsored the girl since she was doing Form 5 at Zimuto High School. 
FSNT executive director Evernice Munando confirmed the development in a telephone interview.
She said they held dialogues with males and females over their challenges and they proffered solutions. She added that the awareness programs are conscientising students to be wary of perpetrators who purport to be sponsors. 
FSNT envisions a democratic learning space for female students free from abuse and discrimination and equal opportunities for girls and women. It also aims to make female students aware of their rights and responsibilities, provide capacity-building training workshops and run sexual harassment campaigns and policy advocacy to ensure authorities’ accountability toward the needs of female students.  
Munando said they held their first campaign at Midlands State University (MSU) on June 27-28, 2023, before proceeding to NUST on July 1. The last campaign was held in Harare at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) and other colleges.  
“We conducted awareness programs at NUST and other institutions like MSU and UZ to conscientize girls in regard to perpetrators who purport to be well-wishers. Some sponsors will have hidden agendas. 
“We also conscientised them to be able to vet and differentiate sponsors who are authentic from those who are not. In the case of the NUST student, it came out that the minister had a hidden agenda. We were also advising students that our organization can assist in reporting cases and facilitating legal proceedings,’’ she said. 
Munando added that male students are crucial in the fight against sexual exploitation as they are an immediate support system whilst some may also be peddlers. She said they also encouraged male students to have a meaningful co-existence with their female counterparts. 

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