Barriers and opportunities for gender-based violence prevention & response at universities in Sub-Saharan Africa

Michelle L. Munro-Kramer*, Karley Morris, Sinegugu Duma, Akanni Akinyemi, Sibongile Kamusoko, Judith A. Chamisa, Darlington S. David, Ruth Owusu-Antwi, Tatiana Omolo, Eugene K.M. Darteh, Moreoagae Bertha Randa, Sarah D. Compton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Globally, one in three women experience physical and/or sexual violence and sub-Saharan Africa displays increased rates of gender-based violence (GBV) compared to other regions. There is limited information on the factors sustaining GBV among university students in sub-Saharan Africa as well as barriers and opportunities towards its effective prevention and management. This study explores and describes the GBV prevention needs at six universities in five sub-Saharan African countries (Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe) using a qualitative approach. In-depth interviews (n = 27) were conducted with key stakeholders (faculty, staff, students, community members). Main findings showed that GBV is influenced by location and types of relationship with the perpetrator, and some of the barriers to implementing GBV prevention programmes are patriarchal norms, lack of awareness, and poor institutional infrastructure. Identified areas for opportunity are raising awareness, early warning signs for prevention, proactive system-wide response, justice for survivors, and fair punishment. PRACTICE IMPACT STATEMENT: Current prevention and response resources are not equitably available to individuals of all genders and sexual orientations at universities across sub-Saharan Africa. There is a need for promotion of institutional partnership, shared knowledge, and resources for addressing GBV among all university students within sub-Saharan Africa.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sexual Aggression
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Gender-based violence
  • prevention
  • sexual violence
  • sub-Saharan Africa
  • university students


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