SGBV/HP Symposium Series

1.     Introduction


UNICEF Zimbabwe is collaborating with the Child Rights Research Centre of Africa University to run a series of activities on SGBV/HP and SRHR and develop and disseminate research evidence in commemoration of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence.  The project with run over 6 months and the following outlines the CRRC-AU preliminary proposal on how the project will be run going forward.  This proposal is guided by the initial UNICEF concept note shared with the CRRC.


2.     Brief background


Violence against Women and Girls in various forms has long been a major concern in Zimbabwe. Every day, women and girls all over the country experience physical, emotional and sexual violence, often by people they know. Data collected through the Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey (ZDHS) and other prevalence studies show that Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) among those 15-49 years is the most prevalent form of violence experienced. Thirty-five percent of girls and women 15-49 years have experienced physical violence since age 15; 14% have experienced sexual violence at least once in their lifetime. The experience of violence among adolescent girls also is high. The 2010 National Baseline Study on the Life Experiences of Adolescents shows that 43% of girls 13-17 years reported that their first incident of sexual intercourse was unwanted. Unplanned and unwanted pregnancies sometimes result from these encounters.


In September 2017, the EU and the UN launched an ambitious joint partnership to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls worldwide. The Spotlight Initiative (SI) aims at mobilising commitment of political leaders and contributing to achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Initiative aims at ending all forms of violence against women and girls, targeting those that are most prevalent and contribute to gender inequality across the world. The Spotlight Initiative will deploy targeted, large-scale investments in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Pacific and the Caribbean, aimed at achieving significant improvements in the lives of women and girls. Zimbabwe is one of the eight countries in Africa to benefit from this transformative initiative.


The overall vision of the Spotlight Initiative in Zimbabwe is that women and girls realize their full potential in a violence-free, gender-responsive and inclusive Zimbabwe. The Spotlight Initiative will directly contribute to Zimbabwe’s achievement of three of the country’s prioritized Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Goal 5 on Gender Equality, Goal 3 on good health and well-being and Goal 16 on inclusive and peaceful societies. The programme will contribute to the elimination of SGBV and HPs through the creation of a broad partnership with Civil Society, Government, Private Sector, Media, among others; and, build a social movement of women, men, girls and boys as champions and agents of change at the national, subnational and community levels. A specific focus will be on reaching and including in the programme women and girls who are often isolated and most vulnerable to SGBV and HPs due to intersecting forms of discrimination. The programme will also seek to address the SRHR needs of all women and girls using a life-cycle approach.


There is significant commitment from different stakeholders to prevent and respond to SGBV/HP and SRHR.  These include actors in government, the judiciary, prosecution authorities, independent constitutional commissions, CSOs and in academia among others. While coordination efforts exist, there is a need to create a platform for stakeholders working in institutions mandated with implementing different aspects of the SGBV/HP prevention and response, to meet with stakeholders in academia who conduct research and rigorous academic analyses on SGBV and HP to facilitate cross fertilization of ideas, information and best practices in terms of what works as well as new knowledge on SGBV/HP. 


The proposed symposia/colloquia fall under the Spotlight Initiative Outcome 2, which is concerned with ensuring that “national and sub-national institutions effectively plan, budget and deliver multi-sectoral programmes that prevent and respond to SGBV and HPs against women and girls, including women and girls with disabilities.”


It is also aimed at providing a platform for key actors in the response to SGBV/HP and SRHR to meet and engage in strategic conversations and reflections on their roles and responsibilities, with a view to ensuring the full and effective implementation of their mandates. This will also aid in the formation and deepening of strategic alliances and partnerships.


3.     Main objectives of the project


  • To provide a platform for key actors in the SGBV/HP response to engage with academia and select practitioners to share knowledge and evidence on SGBV/HP research, analyses and best practices
  • To reflect on how mandated institutions may discharge their roles, responsibilities in a way that prevents and responds to SGBV/HP and promotes the right to SRHR for women and girls.


4.     Planned Activities


The Africa University’s CRRC and UNICEF will have the following broad outputs over the next 6 months:


  • A series of virtual symposia and colloquiums on SGBV/HP and SRHR
  • Packaged research based knowledge products on SGBV/HP and SRHR
  • Dissemination of research-based knowledge products on SGBV/HP and SRHR tailor made for the strengthening of mandated institutions and other practitioners in the area of SGBV/HP and SRHR

To fulfil these three outputs, the CRRC will make good on the following deliverables as outlined in the UNICEF concept note:

  • Proposed work plan and budget to carry out assignment
  • Map relevant institutions and practitioners key in implementing the assignment
  • Successfully plan and host the symposia/colloquia
  • Symposia knowledge products
  • Symposia reports.



5.     Duties and responsibilities of the AU and UNICEF


The following specifies the roles and responsibilities assigned to the two parties:


5.1  Roles and responsibilities of Africa University’s CRRC


5.1.1        Establishment of a Steering Committee

As a first port of call, Africa University will establish a Steering Committee whose terms of reference will be developed by the Director of the Child Rights Research Team. The director will clearly define the roles and responsibilities of each committee member.  The Deputy Vice Chancellor will play an oversight role in ensuring that the team delivers on its mandate.

It is proposed that the steering committee will be constituted by the following personnel

  • Chair (Director of CRRC)
  • Content committee Chair
  • Logistics
  • Finance and Procurement Officer
  • Publications officer
  • Public Relations Officer from the Advancement and Public Affairs Office


5.1.2        Work Plan Development       

The Director of the Child Rights Research Centre will urgently develop the work plan and a Gantt chart which spans over the next 6 months of the project.  The Gantt chart will be shared and agreed upon with UNICEF.  It will illustrate the project schedule which will show the dependency relationships between activities and current schedule status. Critical information such as who is assigned to what, duration of tasks, and overlapping activities in a project will be included in the chart.  The chart will be placed on a platform which will allow the CRRC Director and the UNICEF project coordinator to make updates and amendments in real time for ease of monitoring and tracking progress.


5.1.3        Conceptualisation of thematic areas to be covered by each of the virtual symposia 

The conceptualisation of the theme of the symposia will be done by a content team of researchers in the Child Rights Research Centre led by the Director.

This will be done by way of establishing the intent of the symposia guided by the UNICEF concept note.   will determine what the “takeaway” from the series of the symposia should be for the participants to remember after they leave. In so doing the team will also establish the targeted researches and the audience that will benefit from the evidence which will strengthen their institutions in fighting against SGBV/HP


5.1.4        Issue a call for papers/abstracts for each of the thematic area; reviewing and editing; development of programme as well as all other related aspects of hosting a symposium/colloquium

The Content lead and team will develop a call for papers for a series of symposia with thematic areas related to the main theme. It will develop the relevant guidelines and information for the abstract and determine the following:

  • The deadline for submissions
  • Topics or themes that they can submit to
  • The formats/structure for their submission. (The AU team will develop a template for submission)
  • The word limit
  • Important dates such as the notification of acceptance or the deadline for final paper submission
  • Select a team of reviewers
  • Select respondents


5.1.5        Production of materials for symposium, including knowledge and information products

The Content lead and team will develop a programme booklet of the series of the symposia which will also contain short versions of the research papers that will be presented abstracts of the presentations and as well as the times of each of the symposia sessions. (The AU proposes that the series is run over 5 days spread out within the 16 days of activism.)

Africa University has the Advancement and Public Affairs Office which is well capacitated to:

  • Devise and implement effective internal and external messaging and methods of communication (such as stories, videos, publicity materials, print and e-publications, website content, special correspondence.).
  • Ensure ongoing access to background information, articles, photographs and video footage that documents the symposia and events related to the 16 days of Activism
  • Oversee the media relations, including preparing news releases, statements, and other materials; encouraging media coverage of the symposia and ensuring timely and effective handling of media calls and requests.
  • Publication of information products

The Content team together with the Advancement Office will develop the following products for dissemination after the series of the symposium. 

  • Special Symposium Report which will document the proceedings of the series of symposia detailing the key points for discussion
  • Special Issue peer reviewed hard copy and electronic publication which includes all papers presented during the series of symposia
  • Series of selected policy briefs from the research papers produced


5.1.6        Planning and coordinating all aspects of identifying and securing the attendance and participation of leading experts and other participants from mandated institutions          

The Steering committee with the direction of the content team will Plan and coordinate all aspects of the Symposia.  The content team will identify the following participants

  • Key presenters after a process of review of abstracts submitted in response to the call for papers
  • Key respondents from mandated institutions and practitioners from the UN, donors, and NGO world (these may also be national, regional and international)
  • Facilitators/moderators
  • Leading experts from academia (national, regional and international)

Africa University will finalise the participants list in consultation with UNICEF and co-sign invitation letters before dispatch.

The logistics team together with the Office of Advancement, and ICT unit will send out invitations and follow up on RSVPs to maximize attendance.

The ICT team will also set up a registration platform for those who would like to participate in any of the symposia.


5.1.7        Preparation of presenters     

The content team will schedule a couple of calls with speakers in the prior weeks leading up to the event to ensure they have been provided with everything they need to be prepared. The basis of the call is to ensure the material and presentation lines up with the expectations initially set out. The content call will ensure that the presenters have actively thought about their material, how it is being delivered, and doing so in an engaging and valuable manner. 

The AU proposes that allowance be given for pre-recorded videos from practitioners in the field to also give insight on what is happening on the ground.  This will also break the monotony of the research presentations.  

Selected respondents from mandated institutions will also be given presentations in advance to enable them to give an informed response to the presentations.


5.1.8        Management of finances       

The Finance officer from the AU Business office together with the Director of the CRRC will ensure the following:

  • Development of a working budget
  • That funds from UNICEF will be used in accordance with acceptable financial standards.
  • Timeously make all required payments to service providers where necessary
  • Submit a financial report to UNICEF on the disbursement of funds and further submit original copies of receipts and other supporting documents for all payments made.



5.2            Roles and responsibilities of UNICEF


  • UNICEF will supervise and manage AU activities. The assignment will be directly managed by the UNICEF Gender and Rights Specialist with support from the UN Spotlight Initiative inter-agency technical team.
  • UNICEF will be responsible for convening, coordinating and supporting the assignment in close collaboration with the SI Technical Coordination Unit.
  • Provide other necessary technical and administrative support to ensure the success of the activities.
  • Transfer a total of USD [xxxx] to Africa University as per the budget agreed upon.



6.     Proposed Planning Team


It is proposed that there be a core planning team (comprised of the CRRC-team) which is supported by a support team of members of Units whose services will be required before and during the workshop.