The Female Students Network Trust (FSNT) is a membership based organisation that works with female students in 36 Higher and Tertiary Education institutions. Its mission is to advocate for a conducive learning environment through students activism for the enhancement of lobbying and advocacy capacities of female students in Tertiary Education Institutions (TEIs). 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 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.
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.