A survey on gender-Based violence against girls as a barrier to increased educational participation: A case of selected Secondary Schools of Lusaka, Southern and Western Province

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Nyambe, Barbara Kwaleyela Mwala
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Gender-Based Violence (GBV) against girls and women is a threatening global phenomenon that seems to resonate in every aspect of life including educational settings; and in most cases the perpetrators are the men and boys while the victims are women and girls. GBV is a violation of human rights and a manifestation of gender discrimination because the physical, social, emotional and psychological challenges that the female pupils experience hinders their educational participation as compared to the male pupils. This poses serious threats and obstacles for the achievement of the Education for All (EFA) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) especially the ones relating to gender equality. Therefore, this study aimed at establishing the existence, types, causes and effects of GBV against the female pupils as a barrier to their increased educational participation in the Secondary Schools in Zambia.A survey approach was used in conducting this research. Data was collected through structured questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, unstructured interviews and focus group discussions to a sample of 440 pupils (374 females and 30 males), two (2) Career teachers, 20 teachers, three (3) deputy head teachers, nine (9) parents and two (2) key informants from FAWEZA and YWCA respectively. The study used both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collections and analysis. Quantitative data was analysed using the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) while qualitative data was analysed thematically.The main findings were that both explicit and implicit GBV does exist in schools in Zambia and the results of the study from the population sample of 340 female pupils showed that about 30% have experienced GBV while 70% did not. Furthermore the study findings showed that there are relationships between GBV and age, GBV and types of schools (govt versus grant-aided, day school versus boarding, co-education versus single sex), GBV and socio-economic status in terms of residence. According to the study, the root cause of GBV is the implications of industrialization in relation to girls and women’s accessing education, lifestyles, modernity, culture, puberty challenges and recommended the following: •MOE to kick start lessons in GBV in all the schools from grade 5 through to university (ages between 11 and 22) as it was in the fight against HIV/AIDS; so as to strengthen the awareness, knowledge about puberty and its implications (physical, social, emotional, psychological) on both sexes. .Need for MOE and other stakeholders to liaise with the Legal fraternity to come up with clear feasible GBV guidelines that defines, prohibits, lays procedures of reporting, recording GBV incidences and the rights of the pupils, parents, school with special regard to sexual harassment and penalties for acts; from the Anti-Gender-Based Violence ACT No. 1 of 2011. •Society should be aware of its role in facilitating sensitization and awareness on social changes in relation to culture, tradition and modernity through strengthening of family structures.•Ministry of Information should put in place measures of monitoring and controlling the music industry so as to prevent the negative influences in terms of songs and dances. •Churches should turn themselves into centres of excellence in terms of acceptable behaviour, marriages should be given the attention it deserves especially in terms of inter-tribal marriages.
Girls-violence against-Zambia