Today, ACDI/VOCA joined InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S. nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) working in every developing country in the world, in announcing a pledge signed by more than 110 members to improve our efforts to prevent sexual abuse, exploitation, and harassment by and of NGO staff.
The pledge stems from the work of leaders within InterAction’s member organizations since December 2017, to address sexual abuse and exploitation within the international NGO community. While many international nonprofits began work on the prevention of sexual abuse and exploitation nearly a decade ago, changing cultural conversations sparked the need for more robust action. The pledge represents a public commitment to practices and policies that will not only protect the staff of the participating organizations, but also the communities they serve.
“ACDI/VOCA is dedicated to strengthening its policies and practices surrounding incidents of sexual abuse, exploitation, and harassment among our staff and the communities in which we work. I sign this pledge as a commitment to ensuring inclusivity, promoting diversity, and creating safe environments and a culture of trust and accountability. ACDI/VOCA will review and develop mechanisms for prevention and safe reporting of incidents and ensure that all staff understand their responsibility to report allegations of misconduct.” — Sylvia Megret, ACDI/VOCA’s interim president and chief executive officer.
“We recognize the long-term effects that sexual abuse, exploitation, and harassment have on individuals and work cultures, and this pledge sets out a series of promises from NGOs leaders. We commit to strengthening the implementation of the policies we have already, and to work together to find common solutions to the challenges that remain, such as preventing perpetrators from re-employment within our community,” said InterAction President Lindsay Coates, who also serves as a co-champion for the Prevention of Sexual Harassment and Abuse for the UN’s Inter-Agency Standing Committee.
In addition to urging action to establish work environments free from sexual abuse, exploitation, and harassment by and of aid workers, the pledge calls for establishing a reporting culture within InterAction organizations that supports confidential reporting of all allegations of misconduct, with regular updates to the CEOs. The full pledge can be found on the InterAction website.
Photo credit: David Snyder