The 4th edition of the Summer School Leadership training held in Harare last month took aim at capacitating student leaders with a cocktail of skills so that they are able to effectively respond to the contemporary challenges they encounter at their respective higher learning institutions.
The Summer School Leadership training is supported by the Norwegian Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund (SAIH), whose goal is to see all young people having access to quality education, in order for them to meaningfully contribute towards societal development.
This leadership training is an ongoing exercise that brings together students who are in different governance structures at various higher learning institutions across the country.
Since its inception in 2018, more than 200 student leaders have been trained on how to respond to sexual and reproductive health rights, Gender-Based Violence, barriers to effective leadership as well as on how to be strategic when dealing with complex student related matters.
Facilitators for this training were recruited from different professional fields to deliver on a number of topics that included strategic thinking, effective leadership, and sexuality, sexual and reproductive health among other issues.
Zandile Mlotshwa, a peer educator from the National University of Science of Technology (NUST) said the leadership exchange program was an eye opener for her to understand what a leader ought to do.
She said: “The training taught me that being a leader is not about having strong mental or physical power, but the ability to influence people to do something for their good.
“The situational leadership session also made me to appreciate that there is no universal approach that can be used to address different challenges.”
Student leaders too had an opportunity to exchange ideas on how to tackle sexual harassment at higher learning institutions which the media continue to report as rampant.
“We need to be involved in the development of the sexual harassment policy that would universally work across higher learning institutions to address sexual harassment issue. It is a complex issue and would require clearly laid down friendly procedures to protect the victims,” said Anna Sande, a student from the University of Zimbabwe.
The training also included team building skills to cultivate the culture of working together amongst students themselves.
Team-building also helps students to appreciate the significance of communication skills to motivate others to achieve the desired goals.