ABOUT THE FEMALE STUDENTS NETWORK
The Female Students Network Trust (FSNT) is an organisation that works with female students in tertiary institutions. The organization was established in 2005 as a loose network with students from the University of Zimbabwe. After wide consultations with female students in TEIs and various other stakeholders it became a fully-fledged organisation in 2010 as a platform where female students in TEIs interact and share experiences on the challenges they face in their day to day lives. FSNT is a membership based organisation and it works with 36 institutions in the 10 provinces of Zimbabwe.
FSNT concept was birthed from the experiences of a female student leader and activist, Evernice Munando advocating for academic freedoms for students within TEIs. Being the only female student leader at the time, she observed that there were gendered barriers to female students’ participation and involvement in decision making processes within TEIs and the wider society. This experience inspired her to initiate the FSNT and her dream was to see the voices of female students in TEIs being amplified and their concerns addressed. Exclusion of female students from leadership meant that their voice was not heard, their needs were not addressed, their aspirations, particularly, were not given space to flourish and those who dared to participate were labelled and subjected to various forms of abuse. At the time FSNT was incepted in 2005, there was difficulty in nurturing the idea due to resistance from male students who always wanted to supress the voice of a woman in TEIs.
The Network’s programming revolves around:
- Policy Advocacy
- Women’s participation in Leadership of Student Representative Councils (SRCs)
- Women’s and human rights Advocacy and Psycho-social support.
FSNT was registered in 2010 with the Zimbabwe Youth Council under the Youth Council Act, and later registered as a Trust in November 2013. FSNT work closely with the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Development as well as the Ministry of Women Affairs Gender and Community Development amongst other civil society pressure groups, students’ organisations and women’s organisation such as Musasa and Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe to mention just a few.
- To advocate for gender sensitive policies and practices of Student Representative Councils (SRCs) and other student bodies in tertiary Education institutions.
- To facilitate increased participation of female students in decision making positions of Student Representative Councils (SRC) and other student bodies.
- To increase the level of women’s and human rights awareness amongst female students in tertiary education institutions.
- To facilitate female students’ access to psycho-social, legal aid and other relevant support services.
- Dignity & Integrity
- Tolerance & Respect