ACU Gender Grants 2019: supporting equity and equality across the Commonwealth

Three female summer school university students sit down and lean in to look at a document

Our annual ACU Gender Grants help member universities meet the costs of organising projects promoting gender equity and equality in their institutions.

Now in its third year, we’re pleased to announce the institutions receiving our gender grants and what their project plans are.

Birla Institute of Technology, India, will train 115 female research scholars to effectively balance their professional and personal life. In addition, experienced female professors will mentor young scholars to help them set career goals and a long-term vision to further their professional careers.

Midlands State University, Zimbabwe, aims to create a platform that supports the development and productivity of early career female academics to ensure their career advancement. As part of the project a professional network of senior and emerging female academics will be established. In addition, the university will organise a research article writing retreat and will review its institutional research policy to make it gender sensitive.

City, University of London, UK, will train staff in key roles about how to deal with reports of sexual harassment incidents by students, following a recent UUK report which identified that academic or security members of staff are generally not sure how to respond. Relevant disclosure training will be offered to provide knowledge and skills to potential first-line responders. Senior staff will then be encouraged to train other members of staff utilising ‘train the trainer’ methodology.

Heriot-Watt University (HWU), UK, will support the delivery of awareness-raising training for students, residence assistants and relevant support staff. The ACU grant is contributing to a larger HWU funding package, which aims to reach 100 individuals through four bespoke workshops. The university partners on the wider Fearless Edinburgh Partnership multiagency initiative which aims to prevent gender-based violence in all its forms through joint strategic and operational actions and to deliver safer communities and cultural change.

Kenyatta University, Kenya, will develop an Anti-Violence Android Mobile App. Students can use the App even when they are away from the campuses and can access services through relevant referrals. The App will facilitate anonymous, efficient and secure reporting of sex and gender-based violence, including any evidence, which will be investigated further and referred by the Centre for Gender Equity and Empowerment.

The University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka will focus on raising awareness of sexual and gender-based harassment and violence (SGBHSV) through a series of short videos on both well and lesser-known instances of SGBHSV on university campuses, that have come to seem normal. The intention is to encourage new takes on this and empower those at the receiving end to speak up. The video clips will be shared with the university community using a variety of approaches such as screens, websites, social media platforms, etc. in addition to using them in student orientation and staff induction sessions.

The Faculty of Public Health at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, will organise training workshops for academic staff to help them mainstream gender issues into the curriculum for undergraduate and graduate students. This will result in improved knowledge on gender equality, which will then be scaled up to other faculties. Sensitisation workshops will also be organised for non-teaching staff to provide gender awareness and promote gender equality among administrative staff. The project directly targets 64 academics, 200 non-teaching staff and 773 students.

Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) will develop a Gender Equality and Diversity Policy by organising several town hall sessions with multiple stakeholders within the university in order to introduce the initiative and gain buy-in of the university community. The proposed policy will mark the first of its kind for Malaysian universities, statutory bodies and public service organisations and will be presented to the Legal Office and top management of USM.

More information

The ACU Gender Programme advances gender equity in higher education through local projects, grants, and advocacy.

For more than 30 years, we have worked to address gender issues – such as championing women in leadership and combating sexual violence on campus – in partnership with our member universities.

Find out more about our Gender Programme

For all further enquiries, please email