Makerere University has unveiled a mobile application to fast track sexual harassment cases at the university and other higher education institutions in Uganda.
This comes after several university students have reported being sexually harassed by their lecturers in order to get marks.
Launching the system dubbed “Kicking Sexual Harassment out of Higher Education Institutions” (KISH), Prof Grace Bantebya Kyomuhendo, the lead investigator, told Daily Monitor the platform will be used by different categories of people within Makerere to manage sexual harassment cases.
Prof Kyomuhendo also said victims will upload evidence against the accused person and thereafter, the KISH team will provide feedback through the system so that the victim is able to monitor the progress of the case.
She also revealed that the system will provide an online course on sexual harassment to train members of Makerere Community about the vice.
“We needed to understand the situation on the ground. We did a baseline study and established that students and staff are not aware of where to report sexual harassment cases. They don’t have trust in the structures and systems in place,” Prof Kyomuhendo said.
The Makerere vice chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, said with the new system, sexual harassment will be kicked out of the university.
Prof Nawangwe said students who were sexually harassed could not physically approach management over fear of stigmatisation.
“I have been approached by students with cases of sexual harassment but majority were unwilling to write or formally appear before the investigations committee. This system is the answer to our question,” Prof Nawangwe said.
He also revealed that all staff who will be found guilty will be discontinued from work.
Findings from the baseline study indicate that the commonest form of sexual harassment at Makerere University include unwanted sexual statements, pressure for sexual favours, being failed or made to retake the course for refusing sexual advances.
The survey also indicates the hot spot for sexual harassment on campus is in offices, social media, halls of residences and outdoor.
How it works
The KISH portal, as hosted on the Makerere University site provides for victims to freely access and formally file complaints. The victim or complainant is supposed to register after logging on to the application.
When a victim wants to file a case, they share details such as academic year of study, course and faculty.
The site demands users provide details of how the sexual incident occurred in writing and later upload audio, video or photos if any, to support the filed complaint. The administrators later receive a notification message each time a complaint is filed.
The collected data is then kept confidential.
Credit: Daily Monitor