Youth tasked with creating innovative solutions to prevent gender based violence on campus at heaids conference

Date: Thursday, June 8, 2017

UN Women in partnership with UNFPA and HEAIDS will hold “ideathons” over two days, during the HEAIDS conference, facilitated by innovation social enterprise, RLabs. The ideathons on 9 and 10 June will harness the knowledge, experience and creativity of students to develop innovative solutions including use of technology that prevent and respond to the challenge of gender based violence at higher education institutions (HEIs).


Sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) is an increasingly recognised problem in campuses all over the world. In South Africa, the issue of SGBV in tertiary institutions has come under spotlight in recent years, fuelled by student protests demanding their institutions take the problem seriously, especially the perceived leniency towards perpetrators. However, SGBV prevention and response at HEIs has in many instances been inadequate. Furthermore, it has been recognised that SGBV is one of the main drivers of HIV new infections amongst young women. It is UN Women and its partners’ belief that young people who are most likely to be affected by SGBV on campus, should be at the forefront of designing preventative and responsive solutions.

Using design thinking approaches, the ideathons will generate student centred ideas to prevent multiple forms of SGBV on campus. The teams will then create their first prototype of the idea that best addresses the challenge they have defined. Each team will have the opportunity to develop at least two versions of the idea which will be evaluated for further refinement. Teams will then have the opportunity to develop basic prototypes and the rest of the conference participants would vote for their favourite idea. The most popular ideas will be developed further and presented during the conference closing session.

Each session will bring together at least 50 youth from institutions of higher learning in South Africa. Government departments, strategic NGOs and development partners are also invited to attend. By the end of the sessions it is anticipated that at least 100 students would have contributed ideas for preventing and responding to gender based violence on campuses. 

Members of the media are invited to attend and cover the event, scheduled as follows:


Dates: Friday, 9 June 2017 and Saturday, 10 June 2017

Time: 1pm – 4:30pm

Venue: Durban International Convention Centre, Meeting Room 22



Date: Sunday, 11 June 2017

Time: 9am – 11am (during conference closing plenary)

Venue: Durban International Convention Centre, Hall 1 

More information:
  • Ms Otae Mkandawire, otae.mkandawire(@)
  • Ms Ziyanda Ngoma, ngoma(@)