The Gender and HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office (GHAPCO) started its operation as a Special Interest Group on Gender (SIGG) at St. Mary’s University (SMU) in 2008. The Office, in addition to carrying out different activities of the SIGG, had already contributed tremendously to the fight against sexual harassment at the University with the support of the university-wide anti-sexual harassment policy, which has been put in place through the Anti-Sexual Harassment Committee. The Gender and HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office is accountable to the Executive Vice President’s Office.
GHAPCO strives to ensure gender equity and equality of the highest standard on the premises of SMU and create an HIV free generation.
GHAPCO’s mission is to work hard and attain educational quality by creating a gender-sensitive and inclusive academic environment.
Major Duties and Responsibilities
GHAPCO runs two wings: Gender and HIV/AIDS. In relation to Gender issues, GHAPCO is responsible for:
- empowering women and mainstreaming gender in institutions;
- preparing and reviewing gender policies, anti-sexual harassment policies, and gender mainstreaming guidelines;
- addressing gender-related problems of female students and the University community;
- protecting female students’ and staff’s rights in the University;
- fighting for justice whenever there is a violation of females’ rights in the University;
- working toward minimizing the attrition rate among female students;
- Achieving educational quality through gender-sensitive and inclusive curriculum and other teaching learning materials;
- Increasing awareness of gender among the University community;
- developing female students’ and staff’s assertiveness;
- creating an enabling environment for female students and staff members to realize their potential;
- enhancing female students’ academic performance;
- involving female students and employees of the University in shouldering male responsibilities;
- providing services and interventions for female and male reproductive needs and intentions in the University; and
- addressing domestic violence, emotional and physical abuse, and the threat of abandonment.
Regarding HIV/AIDS, GHAPCO works to increase the availability and use of timely and reliable information in the University through shared agreement on goals and coordinated responses to HIV/AIDS issues to achieve a reduction of its prevalence. More specifically, GHAPCO works towards:
- mitigating effects of HIV/AIDS and improving care for those affected by it;
- preventing HIV infection among all SMU employees and their family members;
- fostering a working environment that does not discriminate based on HIV infection;
- setting an example of comprehensive management of HIV/AIDS in the University community;
- enhancing the awareness of students and staff about HIV/AIDS;
- sensitizing the University community about the harms of HIV/AIDS, thereby bringing about a sense of social responsibility;
- carrying out research in to the prevention of the existing problems of HIV/AIDS; and
- creating network and referral linkage with different institutions, organizations, and partners.
P.O. Box: 1211 /18490