Gender and HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office (GHAPCO) started its operation at first as a Special Interest Group on Gender (SIGG) at SMU in 2008. The Office, in addition to carrying out different activities of the SIGG, had already contributed tremendously in fighting against sexual harassment in the University with the support of the university-wide Anti- Sexual Harassment Policy, which has been put in place through the Anti- Sexual Harassment Committee.
Moreover, taking the serious impact of HIV/AIDS in the sector, SMU took the lead in the private HEIs to open HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office to give comprehensive response to prevent and control the spread of the pandemic among the University Community and the surrounding society as a whole. Following the decision made by the General Assembly of Higher Education Institutions’ Forum for the Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS held on 2010, the University merged the office with the Gender Office as Gender and HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office (GHAPCO), to make all programs, activities and services gender sensitive and responsive in all the University’s structure and to take various measures and initiatives to prevent and control HIV/AIDS within the University and the surrounding community. To define the Office’s directions and priorities in relation to HIV/AIDS prevention and control, an HIV Task-Force, which has nine members and is chaired by the Executive Vice President, was set up. This Task-Force oversaw the overall activities of the office.
Duties and Responsibilities of the GHAPCO
GHAPCO is committed to ensure gender equity and equality of the highest standard in the premises of SMU and contribute to the achievement of similar objectives in Higher Education Institutions in the country.Moreover, the office is dedicated to work hard for the attainment of educational quality by creating gender sensitive and inclusive academic environment. In addition to dealing with empowering women and mainstreaming gender in the institution, the Office works towards alleviating major gender-related problems such as HIV/AIDS and sexual harassment.
GHAPCO runs two wings, Gender and HIV/AIDS. Concerning Gender issues, GHAPCO is responsible for:
- Alleviating gender-related problems of female students and the university community;
- Fighting for justice whenever there is violation of females’ right in the University;
- Working toward minimizing the attrition rate among female students;
- Achieving educational quality, through gender sensitive and inclusive curriculum and other teaching learning materials;
- Increasing awareness on gender among University Community;
- Developing female students’ and staff’s assertiveness;
- Creating an enabling environment for female students and staff members to realize their potential;
- Protecting female’s rights in the University;
- Working towards ending gender-related problems such as sexual harassment through Anti Sexual Harassment endeavors;
- Enhancing female students’ academic performance;
- Contributing to the national endeavors toward developing gender policy for academic institutions of higher learning;
- Involving female students and employees of the University in shouldering male responsibilities;
- Providing services and interventions in females’ and men’s reproductive needs and intentions in the University;
- Involving female students in identifying, prioritizing and resolving reproductive health issues; and
- Addressing domestic violence, emotional and physical abuse, and the threat of abandonment.
Besides, the Office is responsible for the preparation and review of Gender Policy, Anti -Sexual Harassment Policy, Gender Mainstreaming Guideline, to create friendly working and learning environment for both genders. It also deals with Students' and staff's cases (e.g. promotion, development, sexual harassment, etc.).
With regard to HIV/AIDS issues, GHAPCO works to increase availability and use of timely and reliable information in the University through shared agreement on goals and coordinated responses to HIV/AIDS issues to achieve a reduction of its prevalence. Furthermore, GHAPCO works to contribute to the prevention of HIV transmission and mitigation against the social, economic and health impact of AIDS through research, advocacy and participation in the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS for the betterment of humanity. The Office also coordinates and supports HIV/AIDS prevention activities, programs and plans of the University by involving the University and surrounding community to join hands in eliminating stigma towards HIV positive people and by putting in place corrective actions to achieve the objective "getting to zero". More specifically, GHAPCO works towards:
- Mitigating its effects and improving care for those affected by HIV/AIDS;
- Preventing HIV infection among all SMU employees and their family members;
- Fostering working environment that does not discriminate on the basis of HIV infection;
- Setting an example of comprehensive management of HIV/AIDS in the University community;
- Ensuring that all its activities are carried out to meet its goal and objectives in a sustainable manner;
- Enhancing the awareness of students and staff about HIV/AIDS;
- Sensitizing the University Community about the harms of HIV/AIDS thereby bringing about a sense of social responsibility;
- Developing and regularly updating HIV/AIDS model policies for the prevention, control, and care for the infected and affected and mitigating the impact of HIV/AIDS;
- Carrying out research into preventing the existing problem in relation to HIV/AIDS.
- Developing a strategic plan for prevention, control, treatment, care and support of HIV/AIDS infected and affected persons within the University Community;
- Creating network and referral linkage with different institutions, organizations and partners;
- Disseminating up-to-date research results to the University Community.
Consultative meeting on Institutional Anti-sexual harassment and
HIV Policy Revision
SISTA (Sisters Informing Sisters on Topics about
AIDS) Program Facilitators
Red Card Event at SMU
TOT on Peer Education
Sensitization program on SRH issues