This report presents the findings of an extension to an earlier research
study carried out into the abuse of girls in junior secondary schools in
Zimbabwe (Leach and Machakanja 2000). This earlier study found that
girls were subjected on a routine basis to aggressive sexual advances
from older male pupils and male teachers within the school and from
'sugar daddies' in the vicinity of the school, who prey on girls for
sex in exchange for money or gifts. Other forms of abuse directed at
both female and male pupils were verbal abuse (often with demeaning
sexual connotations when directed at girls) and excessive corporal
punishment, administered by female as well as male teachers.
This extension had the combined aim of taking the Zimbabwe research
further as well as attempting to bridge the gap between research and
action in addressing this abuse of children's rights. This aim was
achieved through three distinct components: firstly, information
gathering and dissemination of studies on the abuse of girls and related
topics through both print and electronic modes; secondly, further
school-based research to assess the prevalence of abuse in two other
African contexts (Ghana and Malawi) with a slightly younger age group
(most girls were in the 11-14 age group); and thirdly, the trialling of
a range of small scale strategic interventions to counter the types of
abuse uncovered by the research.
The introductory chapter in this report (Chapter 1) presents the
context, rationale and methodology of the study. Chapter 2 summarises
the process of information gathering and dissemination of work relevant
to the study of the abuse of girls. The second component of the study
(further research into the abuse of girls in Ghana and Malawi) is
covered by the first part of Chapters 3 and 4, where the findings from
the field work component in three schools in each country are presented.
The third component of the study is covered in the second part of
Chapters 3 and 4, and in Chapter 5, which provides an account of the
dissemination and trialling of strategies in Zimbabwe. Chapter 6,
discusses the impact of the research, and recommendations.
Educational Paper No. 54, DFID, London, UK, ISBN 1 86192 5751,174 pp.
An investigative study of the abuse of girls in African schools