The Female Students Network Trust (FSNT) in partnership with the Canadian Embassy in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana implemented the program titled, “promoting effective participation of female students in decision making processes with higher and tertiary institutions of Zimbabwe and beyond through transformative leadership, policy review and information dissemination” in Matabelend South at Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Polytechnic (JMN POLY) and in Bulawayo with students from National University of Science and Technology and Bulawayo Polytechnic.

The initiative inculcated a series of Transformative Leadership Trainings (TLT) and dialogues aimed at capacitating female students with skills and create a positive environment for their inclusion and participation in decision making processes paying deliberate attention at influencing the review of the Student Representative Councils (SRC) policies within these institutions in order for them to be gender sensitive.

At JMN Polytechnic both institutional authorities and the students concurred to the dire need of reviewing the SRC constitution as the current one had not been inclusive enough to encompass all the faculties when electing student leaders. Hence, a coordinating committee was set up to follow up on the progress of the policy review. Moreover, female participants vowed to cast their nets into the SRC leadership pool with the determination of catching big and key leadership positions.

Female students encouraged themselves to acquire more knowledge on leadership and enrich self with the current affairs for them to be vibrant and trusted leaders capable of delivering their mandate to the best interest of students.

“I really want to encourage my fellow sisters to furnish themselves with knowledge through reading widely on especially on current affairs, this will help them to be articulate when campaigning and when selling their idea to the electorate”, said a female student.

Currently, 48 % of students enrolled at institutions of higher learning are female students and only 16% of student leaders in Student Representative Councils (SRCs) are female students. Zimbabwe’s institutions of higher learning have seen marginal female student representation in decision making and very low voter turnout during SRCs elections, a situation that also reflects participation in national elections.