About the project
This project is about Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) within Higher Education (HE) – a widespread, global problem that requires urgent attention. We aim to develop a survivor-centred theory and approach to better understand and respond to SGBV in HE by bringing together insights and experiences from survivors, activists, academics, and policy makers from four countries: South Africa, Nigeria, Brazil and Argentina. The project will have a strong focus on SGBV prevention and on bringing about culture change in HE institutions.
The project name is FemIDEAS – foregrounding the ideological principles that we are guided by- Feminist, Intersectional, Decolonisation, Equality, Abolition, Survivor-centred.
We believe there are four main gaps in our knowledge and understanding regarding SGBV in HE: 
A lack of data on the prevalence and nature of violence and the available support mechanisms.
A lack of focus on empirical research from the Global South.
A lack of knowledge about the intersections of structural violence with the processes of establishment, continuance, and transformation of HE institutions.
A lack of knowledge exchange between institutions, academics and policy makers along with a limited transfer of knowledge between HE institutions across different countries, especially between countries in the Global South and those in the Global North.
Africa this project aims to address these existing gaps in knowledge, bringing together theories and methodologies across different disciplines.  In developing new theory and approaches, the project aims to decolonise dominant understandings of SGBV in HE. This means critically questioning the viewpoint our information about SGBV comes from in the Global North. It also involves engaging with learning from institutional practices and feminist struggles in the Global South and applying these to how we address SGBV in HE in the UK and elsewhere.  We will work with project partners in each of the 5 countries, who will support our work with local organisations and participants.
Study aims and objectives
We aim to achieve the following objectives during this study:
Foreground the voices of people with lived experiences of SGBV and survivor-centred methodologies, at all stages of the project.
Make a substantive contribution to the intersectional theoretical scholarship on SGBV within higher education (HE), with a systematic understanding of institutional structures and processes.
Decolonise the theoretical understandings and practices of SGBV by (re)centering and amplifying epistemologies of the Global South and applying these to learning in the Global North.
Develop a database of theories, policies, and practices of SGBV across higher education institutions (HEIs) from the Global South.
Develop a database of theories, policies, and practices of SGBV across higher education institutions (HEIs) from the Global South.
Shift the dominant focus from one of criminalisation to prevention in understanding and addressing SGBV in HE.
Explore how dominant gender norms can be transformed within HE spaces in order to achieve cultural and institutional change as regards SGBV.
Create a global network of scholars, activists, policymakers, and people with lived experience who are committed to eliminating SGBV in HE from an internationalist, intersectional and interdisciplinary perspective.
Research Questions
To achieve our aims and objectives, we are led by the following questions
How do HEIs in the case study sites currently address SGBV?
What are the barriers to accessing justice mechanisms and support for survivors of SGBV in HEIs in the case study sites?
To what extent does a feminist, survivor-centred, intersectional and or abolitionist approach feature in their responses to SGBV?
What are the barriers to accessing justice mechanisms and support for survivors of SGBV in HEIs in the case study sites?
What can be learnt from the case study sites regarding the key challenges and opportunities for the prevention of, and intervention in, SGBV in HEIs in the current moment?
What can be learnt from the case study sites regarding the key challenges and opportunities for the prevention of, and intervention in, SGBV in HEIs in the current moment?
In what ways can perspectives and aspirations of people who have experienced SGBV shape the institutions’ responses to SGBV in HE?
Project Timeline
Ethics & Literature review
Digital mapping & online survey
Fieldwork phase 1: South Africa, Nigeria & New Zealand
Fieldwork phase 2: Brazil & Chile
Write up, Knowledge exchange & workshops
Resources & Outputs
We will use a range of different tools and methods in order to gather data. The voices of people who have lived experience of SGBV will be at the centre of everything that we do. We will begin by conducting a digital mapping experience to understand the current landscape regarding SGBV in HEIs in the present moment.
This will be followed by a combination of focus groups and interviews with people at each of the fieldwork sites. The main groups of people we will be speaking to will be as follows – we know that these groups are not mutually exclusive, and that people may occupy more than one group:
people with lived experience of SGBV in HE (victim-survivors)
academic workers from higher education institutions
non-academic workers from higher education institutions
student and worker activists from higher education institutions
We are incredibly proud to be supported and guided by a Research Advisory Group (RAG) made up of an international panel of experts from research, policy and practice. You can find out more about who is on our Advisory Group and the work that they do here. We will be featuring discussion and news pieces from the group throughout the course of this project.
In addition to the RAG, we will be setting up a Lived Experience Advisory Group (LEAG) consisting of people with personal experience of the issues we’re talking about during the project. This group will act as consultants and advisors throughout the life of the project and will also help us to understand key local issues and support us with the development of the methods we use. If you’re interested in being a part of this group, please let us know.
Project partners
There will be at least one partner organisation in each of our fieldwork sites. Their role will be to:
Assist with recruitment into the study by disseminating information via their local networks.
Provide localised information as regards SGBV in their localities or institutions, as well as information regarding services available for people who have experienced SGBV.
Provide spaces in their institutions or organisations in which to safely conduct interviews and/or focus groups.
More information about our project partners will be updated here as the study progresses.
About the team
This project team is made up of Dr. Adrija Dey and Dr. Jessica Wild. Adrija is the Principal Investigator, and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Westminster. Jessica is the Co-Investigator, and Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Westminster. Both Adrija and Jess have at least a decade of experience conducting survivor-focused research on the topic of SGBV and have experience working in practice.
Research Advisory Group
Our esteemed international Research Advisory Group (RAG) is made up of expert academics, practitioners and policymakers will support the progress and development of this study. The group members are as follows:
Anna Bull
Institution: University of York, UK & The 1752 Group
Email address: anna.bull@york.ac.uk
Social media:
Elisabet Le Roux
Institution: Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Email address: eleroux@sun.ac.za
institutional website: www.sun.ac.za/urdr
Diana Ojeda
Organisation/institution (if any): Universidad de los Andes
Email address: dc.ojeda@uniandes.edu.co
institutional website:
Esteban Hadjez B
Institution: Departamento de Salud Pública, Universidad de Valparaíso
Specialist research/practice/policy area(s): Collective Health, Collective Action and Social Movements. Latin American Critical Thinking and Dialectical Methodologies.
Furaha-Joy Sekai Saungweme
Organisation: Africa End Sexual Harassment Initiative (AESHI)
Email address: Saungwemenyoni@gmail.com
Social media:
J. Anitha Menon
Institution: University of Zambia, Zambia
Email address: anithamenon316@gmail.com
Social media:
Personal webpage: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=c7fmtCcAAAAJ
Leena Pujari
Institution: Kishinchand Chellaram (KC) College, India
Email address: leena_pujari@hotmail.com
Social media:
Institutional website: https://kccollege.edu.in
Melany Cruz
Institution: University of Leicester, UK
Email address: mc715@le.ac.uk
Social media:
Institutional website: https://le.ac.uk/people/melany-cruz
Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi
Social media:
Organisation website: http://www.standtogendrape.org
Radha D’Souza
Organisation/institution (if any): Westminster Law School, University of Westminster
Social media:
Institutional website: https://www.westminster.ac.uk/about-us/our-people/directory/dsouza-radha#research
Sabah Boufkhed
Institution: Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute, The University of Manchester
Email address: sabah.boufkhed@manchester.ac.uk
Institutional website: https://research.manchester.ac.uk/en/persons/sabah.boufkhed
Silvana Tapia Tapia
Institution: University of Birmingham / Universidad del Azuay / Alianza Contra las Prisiones, Ecuador.
Email address: s.tapiatapia@bham.ac.uk silvanatapia@protonmail.com
Social media:
Personal website: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Silvana-Tapia-Tapia
Willice O. Abuya
Institution: Department of Sociology, Moi University, Kenya
Email address: w.abuya@mu.ac.ke williceabuya@yahoo.com
Social media:
Institutional website: http://mu.ac.ke
Survivors’ Network, UK
Organisation: Survivors’ Network, UK
Organisational website: http://www.survivorsnetwork.org.uk