28 November 2019

Empowering Women by Creating Awareness

One year ago United Nations Academic Impact announced the inauguration of the UNAI SDG Hubs, UNAI member institutions selected as exemplars for their innovative scholarship and engagement related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) who serve as resources for best practices for the UNAI network, currently composed of over 1,400 universities and colleges in more than 130 countries.

On the anniversary of the program launch, we’re taking this opportunity to check in with some of the hub schools to highlight their scholarship and activities over the past twelve months and look ahead to future initiatives. The next school profiled in our anniversary series is Ahfad University for Women (Sudan), hub for SDG 5: Gender Equality

Since its establishment in 1966, Ahfad University for Women (AUW) has been a leader in the education and empowerment of women. Aligned with its vision of being a leading institute in gender equity and social responsibility, AUW has implemented initiatives and evidence-based activities to empower women to become agents of change and transform their communities.   

This past year AUW’s School of Psychology Trauma Outreach, Recovery and Community Healing (TORCH) Center organized lectures, seminars and workshops to end discrimination and eliminate violence against women and girls. It has also provided skills and vocational training tailored for women, including on self-reliance and income-generating activities, to increase their employment opportunities.

During the annual Rural Extension Field Trip conducted by the university, junior students from the School of Psychology and Preschool Education contributed to raising awareness about female genital mutilation (FGM). Students participated in structured theatrical plays that reflect the harmful effects of FGM and the social, physical, and psychological advantages for girls who have not undergone FGM.

The Regional Institute of Gender, Diversity, Peace and Rights (RIGDPR) developed a training manual on gender concepts and gender mainstreaming in development policies, programs and gender budgeting as well as good governance principles and peace. The manual was used to train almost 400 participants between October and November 2019, who are then going to replicate the experience within their own communities.

On 20 November 2019 RIGDPR contributed to the celebration of the African Universities Week by participating in a dedicated seminar where Professor Balghis Badri, director of the center, spoke on the new perspective in defining and conceptualizing quality education in relation to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with emphasis on Goal 5. Gender equality, gender needs, women’s empowerment and potentials were the highlights of the presentation.

The university’s Gender and Reproductive Health Rights and Advocacy Centre (GRACe) celebrated the International Day of the Girl Child with a research forum on 14 October 2019 on the current status, challenges, opportunities and future prospects for promoting reproductive health in Sudan. In November GRACe, along with other AUW entities, observed the 16 Days of Activism to eliminate Violence Against Women by mobilizing and enhancing the role of youth in combating gender-based violence (GBV).

This year, in collaboration with the PanAfrican Youth Union (PYU), this initiative included not only students but also the community and some participating celebrities and dignitaries. It involved a wide range of activities, including a bicycle race, a lecture on sexual harassment and rape, a film featuring the story of a survivor of GBV, theatrical programs and an accompanying exhibition.

Through education, research and evidence-based community activities, Ahfad University for Women will continue to advance women’s rights and empower succeeding generations of women and girls to be full and equal participants in society and change agents in Sudan and beyond.

To learn more about the UNAI SDG Hubs, including Ahfad University for Women, visit the United Nations Academic Impact SDG Hubs.