Concern signs InterAction CEO pledge against sexual abuse, harassment, and exploitation

March 28, 2018
Photo by Jennifer Nolan

Concern Worldwide U.S. signs on to the InterAction CEO pledge to recommit the organization to a workplace that is free of harassment and abuse, both by and of its staff.

In response to recent reports of sexual misconduct across the humanitarian aid sector, Concern has become one of the signatories of a pledge created by InterAction, an alliance of more than 190 U.S.-based international non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

The pledge, signed by member organization CEOs, recommits NGOs to strengthen efforts to reduce sexual abuse, exploitation, and harassment by and of staff. The pledge includes a plan for improving the reporting culture within InterAction organizations and concrete steps that will protect both staff and members of the communities they serve.

“I cannot overstate the importance of signing up to this pledge,” said Aine Fay, President of Concern Worldwide U.S. “Alongside other InterAction member organizations, Concern is committed to maintaining a harassment-free workplace, while ensuring that already vulnerable communities are not subject to sexual abuse or exploitation by staff.”

To see the full text of the pledge, please see below: 

The CEO Pledge on Preventing Sexual Abuse, Exploitation and Harassment by and of NGO Staff represents our commitment to practices and policies that will not only protect our own staff, but also the communities we serve.

While standards and legal frames already exist, this pledge is our promise to take additional steps towards greater success. The language used allows flexibility in implementation at the organizational level, with a common commitment to develop collective solutions over multiple years.

As the CEOs of InterAction members, we:

• Are committed to the establishment of working environments free from sexual abuse, exploitation, and harassment by and of NGO staff within our organizations and the countries in which we operate.

• Commit to strengthen our policies, procedures, accountability, and transparency of all incidents of sexual abuse, exploitation, and harassment, no matter where they occur or the personnel involved. This includes examining and strengthening ways to empower staff and the communities in which we work to report all incidents without fear of reprisal or punishment.

• Will create and proactively assure that reporting mechanisms are in place and that all staff understand their responsibility to report inappropriate behaviors, including suggestive jokes or remarks on physical appearance to more egregious and serious behaviors such as assault, even if they are not the target of the behavior.

• Will assure a review, as necessary, develop the appropriate policies on sexual abuse, exploitation, and harassment to ensure inclusivity, promote diverse and safe environments, and outline roles and responsibilities for each member of the organization. As appropriate, we commit to sharing a version of those policies on our websites.

Will create mechanisms for feedback across all offices to allow staff to speak or share information, including time for staff to speak one on one with leadership, including CEOs.

• Commit to sharing the learning which emerges, including uncomfortable insights, within a confidential learning space, so we can all benefit from each other’s experiences and identify how to tackle this issue together

• Will establish a reporting culture within our organizations that supports confidential reporting of all allegations of misconduct, with regular updates to the CEOs.

• Will ensure our training is adaptive, flexible, and properly resourced so that it meets the needs of our staff, includes specialized training on bystander intervention, and empowers supervisors to prevent, respond to, and report incidents.

• Will ensure a comprehensive review of our existing investigation procedures related to sexual abuse, exploitation, and harassment by and of NGO staff with attention to ensuring appropriate confidentiality, legality, and privacy, supporting due process while mitigating against “victim blaming.”

• Recognize the immediate and long-term effects sexual abuse, exploitation, and harassment have on our staff and the people we serve, and we will ensure our organizations have robust policies and funded mechanisms to provide the necessary medical and psychosocial support.

• Commit to informing the relevant authorities and cooperating in investigations, when applicable and as necessary.

• Will seek to develop a common reporting framework to openly demonstrate our commitment to our staff and the communities with whom we work.

• Will publicize a consolidated incident report on an annual basis, ensuring that this report includes the appropriate relevant data and maintains confidentiality.

• Will investigate mechanisms which will allow termination for cause when investigations determine that a violation has occurred.

Reaffirm our expectation to partners that they must take all appropriate measures to prevent sexual abuse, exploitation, and harassment of and by their staff.

• Will work together to develop practices that facilitate greater transparency regarding incidents in an effort to prevent perpetrators from re-employment within the sector.

Signatories

ACDI/VOCA: Sylvia Megret*, Interim President & CEO
Action Against Hunger USA: Andrea Tamburini*, CEO
Adventist Development and Relief Agency International (ADRA): Jonathan Duffy, President
Airlink: Steven J. Smith, Executive Director
Alliance for Peacebuilding: Melanie Greenberg, President & CEO
Alliance to End Hunger: Rev. David Beckmann, President
American Red Cross: Gail J. McGovern, President & CEO
American Refugee Committee: Daniel Wordsworth, President & CEO
Americares: Michael J. Nyenhuis, President & CEO
Amref Health Africa INC: Robert Kelty, Executive Director
Association for Volunteers in International Service (AVSI-USA): Ezio Castelli, President
Asylum Access: Emily E. Arnold-Fernandez, Executive Director
Bread for the World: Rev. David Beckmann, President
CARE: Michelle Nunn*, President & CEO
Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB): Bruce Wilkinson, President & CEO
Catholic Relief Services (CRS): Sean Callahan*, CEO
CDA Collaborative Learning Projects: Polly Byers, Executive Director
Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC): Federico Borello, Executive Director
Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE): Serra Sippel, President
Child Aid: Nancy Press, Ph.D., CEO
ChildFund International: Anne Lynam Goddard, President & CEO
Church World Service: Rev. John L. McCullough, President & CEO
Christian Blind Mission US: Ed Epp, President & CEO
Concern Worldwide (U.S.): Áine Fay*, President
CORE Group: Lisa Hilmi, Executive Director
Doctors of the World USA: Fraser Mooney, Executive Director
Eastern Mennonite University: Susan Schultz Huxman, Ph.D., President
Episcopal Relief & Development: Robert W. Radtke, President & CEO
Food for the Hungry: Gary Edmonds, President & CEO
Friends of ACTED US: Marie-Pierre Caley, CEO
Friends of the Global Fight Against Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Chris Collins, President
Giving Children Hope: Sean Lawrence, Executive Director
Global Communities: David A. Weiss, President & CEO
Global Health Council: Loyce Pace, MPH, President & Executive Director
The Global Hunger Project: Suzanne Mayo Frindt, President & CEO
Habitat for Humanity International: Jonathan Reckford, CEO
Headwaters Relief: Dr. Rebecca Thomley, CEO
Heart to Heart International: Jim Mitchum, CEO
Heartland Alliance International: Brooke McKean, Acting Executive Director
Heifer International: Pierre Ferrari, President & CEO
Helen Keller International: Kathy Spahn, President & CEO
HelpAge USA: Kate Bunting, CEO
Helping Hand for Relief and Development: Raza Farrukh, President & CEO
HIAS: Mark Hetfield, President & CEO
Himalayan Cataract Project: Job C. Heintz*, CEO
Humentum: Thomas Dente*, President & CEO
Ideas42: Josh Wright, Executive Director
IHC Global: Judith A. Hermanson, PhD, President & CEO
IMA World Health International: Rick Santos, President & CEO
iMMAP: William Barron, CEO
INMED Partnerships for Children: Linda Pfeiffer, Ph.D., President & CEO
InterAction: Samuel A. Worthington, CEO/Lindsay Coates*, President
International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC): Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo, Secretary General
International Center for Research on Women (ICRW): Dr. Sarah Degnan Kambou, President
International Eye Foundation: Victoria M. Sheffield, President & CEO
International Lifeline Fund: Daniel Wolf, CEO
International Medical Corps: Nancy A. Aossey, President & CEO
International Relief Teams: Barry La Forgia, Executive Director
International Rescue Committee (IRC): David Miliband, President & CEO
International Youth Foundation: William S. Reese, CEO
IntraHealth International: Pape Gaye, President & CEO
Islamic Relief USA: Sharif Aly, Interim CEO
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA: Joan Rosenhauer, Executive Director
Jhpiego: Dr. Leslie Mancuso, President & CEO
Keystone Human Services: Charles J. Hooker, III, President & CEO
Lutheran World Relief: Daniel Speckhard, President & CEO
Management Sciences for Health (MSH): Marian W. Wentworth, President & CEO
Medicines for Humanity: Margaret E. Brawley, MPH, Executive Director
Mennonite Central Committee U.S.: J. Ron Byler, Executive Director
Mercy Corps: Neal Keny-Guyer, CEO
Mercy-USA for Aid and Development: Umar al-Qadi, President and CEO
Mobility International USA: Susan Sygall, CEO
NCBA CLUSA: Douglas O’Brien, President & CEO
Near East Foundation: Charles Benjamin, President
Norwegian Refugee Council USA: Joel Charny, Executive Director
Operation USA: Richard Walden, CEO
Oxfam America: Abby Maxman*, President & CEO
PATH: Steve Davis, President & CEO
Physicians for Peace: James E. Morgan, CEO
Plan International USA: Tessie San Martin*, President & CEO
Planet Aid: Ester Neltrup, President & CEO
Plant with Purpose: Scott Sabin, Executive Director
Project Concern International (PCI): Carrie Hessler-Radelet*, President & CEO
Project C.U.R.E.: W. Douglas Jackson, Ph.D., JD, President/CEO
Refugees International: Eric Schwartz, President
Relief International: Nancy Wilson*, CEO
ReSurge International: Jeff Whisenant, President & CEO
Rise Against Hunger: Rod Brooks, President & CEO
RTI International: E. Wayne Holden, Ph.D., President & CEO
Save the Children US: Carolyn Miles*, President & CEO
Solar Cookers International: Julie Greene, Executive Director
Solidarity Center: Shawna Bader-Blau, Executive Director
Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS): David Lillie, Executive Director
Team Rubicon Global: Stephen Hunt, CEO
Transnational NGO Initiative at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University: Tosca Bruno-van Vijfeijken, Director
UMCOR: Thomas G. Kemper, General Secretary
UNICEF USA: Caryl M. Stern, President & CEO
United Muslim Relief: Abed Ayoub, Ph.D., CEO
U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI): Eskinder Negash, Acting CEO
Village Enterprise: Dianne Calvi*, CEO
Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA): Michael Deal, President and CEO
War Child Canada: Dr. Lorna Read, COO
WaterAid America: Sarina Prabasi, CEO
WEEMA International: Elizabeth McGovern, M.D., Executive Director
Women for Women International: Laurie Adams*, CEO
Women Thrive Alliance: Emily Bove, Executive Director
Women’s Refugee Commission: Sarah Costa, Executive Director
World Bicycle Relief: David Neiswander, CEO
World Concern: Jacinta Tegman, President
World Food Program USA: Richard Leach, President & CEO
World Institute on Disability: Anita Aaron, Executive Director
World Learning: Carol Jenkins, CEO
World Relief: Tim Breene, CEO/ Scott Arbeiter, President
World Renew US: Carol Bremer-Bennett, Executive Director, U.S.
World Vision: Richard Stearns*, President & CEO
Zakat Foundation of America: Halil Demir, Executive Director

*Indicates signatories who are members of the CEO Task Force on Preventing Sexual Abuse, Exploitation and Harassment of and by NGO Staff

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