In a development aimed at increasing access to sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR) information and related services for students, Midlands State University, with the support of UNFPA and SAYWHAT, has established a state-of-the-art student resource centre at the University’s Gweru Main Campus.
The modern resource centre, which was officially opened on Friday the 19th of May, 2017 by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Zimbabwe Representative, Mr Cheikh Tidianne Cisse, is part of cross-cutting strategies that have been adopted by the University in collaboration with various partners such as UNFPA and SAYWHAT to empower its student body by mainstreaming SRHR issues as well as provide access to youth friendly clinical and counselling services.
Speaking during the official opening ceremony, Mr Cheikh Tidianne Cisse commended the University for prioritising SRHR issues, noting that the resource centre was a product of the University’s vision to provide life-saving information and resources, which dovetails with UNFPA’s mandate, which among other things includes ensuring that young people reach their full potential.
‘Let me commend the leadership of this University for placing such great importance on equipping young people with the necessary life skills and information related to their sexual reproductive health and rights by opening this resource centre …UNFPA is extremely proud to be part of this because it strongly resonates with our mandate’, said Mr Cheikh Tidianne Cisse.
Also speaking at the same event, MSU Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor D Z Moyo thanked UNFPA, SAYWHAT and various other stakeholders for partnering the University, highlighting that as a stakeholder driven institution, MSU continues to value partnerships aimed at enhancing the welfare of its principal stakeholder, the student.
The resource centre, which is a model project that UNFPA and SAYWHAT are optimistic will be replicated at other tertiary institutions across the country, is designed for both educational and entertainment (edutainment) purposes, and is equipped with pool tables, dart boards, computers, a television and also includes networking zones, a counselling room and a boardroom to cater for formal discussions and presentations.
The official opening was attended by Mr Cheikh Tidianne Cisse, who was also the guest of hounour, MSU Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Doreen Z Moyo, UNFPA Assistant Country Representative, Mrs Abbigail Msemburi, SAYWHAT Executive Director, Ms Vimbai Mlambo, Midlands Provincial Aids Coordinator, Mr M Hwingwiri, officials from the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Deans of Students from sister institutions and representatives from various partners such as the National Family Planning Council of Zimbabwe. Also in attendance were various members of the University community among them, the Executive Dean of Students, Mr I Chaka, Faculty Executive Deans, Acting Director of Health Services, Mr Tafirenyika Shoko, members of staff, the Student Representative Council (SRC), peer educators and students.
The day’s program also included an exhibition that took place on the side-lines of the official opening with various partners showcasing and offering different sexual reproductive health and rights related services. The day ended on a high note with Travellers, a popular Gweru based jazz band and MSU’s Wati Wati drama club providing entertainment.