Stand to End Rape Initiative

“Winning an UN SDG Action Award has motivated STER to develop new strategies and mobilize like-minded organizations to implement programs in line with the SDGs 5, Gender Equality."

Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi, Executive Director of STER

Nigeria – The Stand to End Rape (STER) Initiative advocates against sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) by leading policy change, working with communities to generate homegrown solutions, and providing pro-bono holistic psychosocial support to survivors. Sexual harassment within tertiary education institutions is one of the most prominent forms of sexual and gender-based violence women and girls face in Nigeria. Lecturers often abuse their powers to demand sex in exchange for admission and marks from both prospective and enrolled University students. One gender activist, Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi, decided to take action and create STER after experiencing sexual violence upon refusing to engage in bribery.

STER began publishing educative content on social media to raise awareness about the Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Educational Institutions Prohibition Bill 2016 that was before the National Assembly. This effort achieved limited success, with a less effective version of the bill presented, and STER and partners demanded a bill review and met with the Senate President to renew this demand. The original bill was not passed due to the Academic Staff Union of Universities claiming that sexual harassment was not an issue. In 2018, STER partnered with the BBC Africa Eye Team to conduct an investigative exposé on sexual harassment in academic institutions. STER worked with survivors of sexual harassment from the University of Lagos to gain evidence against abusive lecturers. The BBC #SexForGrades documentary released in 2019 has over 5 million views and led to the re-introduction of the Sexual Harassment Bill by the Nigerian Senate following increased pressure and scrutiny through awareness and advocacy efforts.

STER implements a robust, multi-sectoral prevention framework that combines societal, community and relationship-level partnerships to move beyond compliance and create culture change in tertiary institutions. This initiative also centers the voices, experiences and perspectives of students (the most vulnerable group impacted by campus sexual harassment), empowering them as champions in efforts from awareness to action that target the elimination of sexual harassment in tertiary institutions. These high-level changes have the potential for a broader and more sustainable campus impact than a sole focus on individually oriented approaches.

What is new with this initiative since winning an UN SDG Action Award?

STER continues to be a leader in recognizing unequal power relations and protecting the safety of women and girls by preventing and responding to sexual and gender-based violence. In 2021, STER worked alongside other organizations to have the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act adopted in Adamawa State, Nigeria. This initiative built up the capacities of state and non-state actors in understanding the law and how to apply it to improve access to justice.

STER also continues to strive to improve accountability and as such has launched a project to develop and implement a system for grading the effectiveness of state governments’ efforts to reach, protect and support victims of SGBV – including sexual harassment in tertiary institutions. Through literature and systemic reviews, STER will identify policies and programmes being employed by different states across Nigeria, will review their effectiveness in improving preventions, response and intervention and will make this information available to the public.

The project will highlight the commitment of Nigerian states in addressing SGBV based on the resources available and by reporting the findings, will enable individuals to hold tertiary institutions accountable, allowing prospective students to make informed decisions based on now only academic rations, but also sexual harassment prevention frameworks.

STER’s Executive Director, Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi, has also continued her journey to stand against SGBV and advocate for safer environments for women and girls. Oluwaseun reached a global audience by participating in the UN Bonn podcast to discuss STER’s intervention in the area of SGBV in Nigeria. Additionally, she was invited to the Overseas Development Institute-led feminist think tank conversation as a key speaker.

Amina J. Mohammed

Deputy Secretary-General
Executive Office of the Secretary-General (EOSG)

Ms. Amina J. Mohammed is the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group.

Prior to her appointment, Ms. Mohammed served as Minister of Environment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria where she steered the country’s efforts on climate action and efforts to protect the natural environment.

Ms. Mohammed first joined the United Nations in 2012 as Special Adviser to former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with the responsibility for post-2015 development planning. She led the process that resulted in global agreement around the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the creation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Ms. Mohammed began her career working on the design of schools and clinics in Nigeria. She served as an advocate focused on increasing access to education and other social services, before moving into the public sector, where she rose to the position of adviser to four successive Presidents on poverty, public sector reform, and sustainable development.

Ms. Mohammed has been conferred several honorary doctorates and has served as an adjunct professor, lecturing on international development. The recipient of various global awards, Ms. Mohammed has served on numerous international advisory boards and panels. She is the mother of six children and has two grandchildren.



Mame Balla is a Senegalese singer, songwriter, and music producer based in Europe who sings about peace, environmental issues, the experiences of growing up in West Africa and more.

Mame Balla has worked with Bouba Ndour, producer and brother of the famous singer Youssou Ndour, with whom he released two internationally successful albums. Between his solo career and the former music groups Dancehall Masters and Darou Salam, Mame Balla has partnered with international artists of different music genres such as Senegalese pop singer Viviane, dancer Ndeye Geye, hip hop group Gokh-Bi System, and Dutch-Albanese rapper Jon Tarifa. He has also partnered with Polish and German artists for a jazz project, and performed with Congolese afrobeat singers in the Netherlands. Between 1999 and 2004, Mame Balla and his former group Dancehall Masters received awards as Best New Group and Best Group in The Gambia; and also received the prize Prix de l’intégration at a Senegalese hip-hop awards. Mame Balla took a course in music production at the State of Mic Studio in The Gambia. Performing with Pape Samory and Issa Ndiaye. 

Katlego Kai Kolanyane-Kesupile


Katlego Kai Kolanyane-Kesupile is an international award-winning cultural architect, communications specialist, performance artist, development practitioner and human rights advocate. OkayAfrica named her one of the 100 Most Influential Women of African Descent in 2018. Her accolades include being nominated for the US State Department’s International Women of Courage Award, a TED Fellow, Queen’s Young Leader, Chevening Scholar, Mandela Washington Fellow, and OutRight’s UN Religion Fellow. She holds a Sociology Masters in Human Rights, Culture, and Social Justice, with a focus on Disability Rights and Public Space Design, from Goldsmiths University of London, UK. Her published writing spans theatre, academic texts and policy analyses. 


Ms. Ponti is the Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign since July 2018.
Prior, Ms. Ponti served as Global Deputy Director and Regional Director for Europe for over a decade and was at the vanguard of innovative campaign initiatives, building multi-stakeholder coalitions, mobilizing resources and forging long-term partnerships between civil society organizations, local government, parliamentarians, media, the private sector and the UN.
Ms. Ponti served as an advocacy and resource mobilization specialist with UNICEF and the UN Secretariat. She also was Chief Operating Officer of Catapult -a girls and women’s right crowdfunding platform and as Special Advisor on post-2015 during the final negotiations of the Agenda 2030 for the global network Social Watch.
Ms. Ponti holds an MA in Political Science from the University of Milan and has completed an executive education programme from INSEAD in Global Management, Finance and Partnerships.

Ulrika Modéer

Assistant Secretary-General, Assistant Administrator and Director of the Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy (BERA) United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Ms. Ulrika Modéer officially began her role on 20 August 2018 as UNDP’s Assistant Administrator and Director of the Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy. In this role she leads the organization in nurturing and growing key relationships with Member States, and new and emerging partners, as well as lead UNDP’s communications and advocacy, as it works to realize the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals. Ms. Modéer previously served as Sweden’s State Secretary for International Development Cooperation and Climate and has been instrumental in reshaping the country’s international development cooperation to support the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. She combines a strong policy background with parliamentary and civil society experience and has had several assignments in Latin America (Bolivia, Guatemala) and Africa (Mozambique/South Africa). Ms. Modéer holds a BA in International Relations from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.



Tolu Olubunmi is a Nigerian-born, American-raised chemical engineer turned political strategist, social entrepreneur and public speaker. She is the founder and CEO of the social impact venture, Lions Write. In 2018, Tolu was tapped by the Director-General of the UN Migration Agency (IOM) for a special appointment as Advisor to the UN Department of Global Communications and Manager of the Climate Action Campaign ActNow.  Tolu has established and led numerous NGOs and campaigns focused on education, migration, economic inclusion, sustainability, and climate change. She has worked closely with leaders in government, the private sector, and civil society to shift culture, influence public policy and build strategic and mutually beneficial partnerships – she served on the World Economic Forum’s Migration Council, co-founded Immigrant Heritage Month, and has helped draft and implement U.S. immigration policies.  

Tolu sits on the Board of Directors of the Anti-Defamation League, Board of Directors of USA for IOM. In 2015, the World Economic Forum named her one of 15 Women Changing the World and an Outstanding Woman Entrepreneur. Her inspiring personal story and work have been profiled by several media outlets, including BBC, MSNBC, TIME, CBS, US News and World Report. Tolu is an inaugural Leadership Institute Fellow at the Center for American Progress and holds a chemistry-engineering degree from Washington and Lee University. 

Deadline Extended!

Seeing how many incredible initiatives have been submitted already, we want to give more people a chance to apply.

BY 30 June

His Excellency Mr. Khalifa Jassim Al-Kuwari

Director General

Qatar Fund for Development

Since 2014, Khalifa Jassim Al-Kuwari has led the establishment, strategy-setting, partnerships, and funding programs of the Qatar Fund for Development in developing countries. Previously, Mr. Al-Kuwari was the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director – Joint Venture and International Business of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). He has been appointed to the boards of leading organisations, including: Harrods, Volkswagen Group, Fairmont Raffles Group, Songbird Real Estate, Qatar Exchange, Katara Hospitality, and Mowasalat. He holds an Executive MBA in Business Administration from the London Business School, an MBA in Accounting from Cleveland State University and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Qatar University. He graduated from the Leadership Development Program at Harvard Business School and Qatar Leadership Center.