Senior Leaders Endorse Steps to Protect Staff and Local Communities
WASHINGTON—Project Concern International (PCI) joined InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S. nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) working in developing countries, in announcing a pledge signed by more than 110 organizations to improve efforts to prevent sexual abuse, exploitation, and harassment by and of NGO staff.
“At the heart of our work is service to others – work that upholds the dignity of each human being and honors our common humanity,” said Carrie Hessler-Radelet, PCI’s President & CEO. “As such, we have zero tolerance for sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse, especially as so many of our programs are expressly designed to empower women and girls.”
The pledge stems from the work of CEOs and other senior leaders within InterAction’s member organizations 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.
“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 on Sexual Harassment and Abuse of Aid Workers 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.
About PCI: PCI’s mission is to empower people to enhance health, end hunger and overcome hardship. PCI envisions a world in which the most vulnerable people will have the power to lift themselves out of poverty and to create vital, healthy lives for their families and communities now and for the future. PCI works in 18 countries, including the United States. For more information, visit www.pciglobal.org.
About InterAction: InterAction is the largest U.S. alliance of international nongovernmental organizations. Our members work with local communities to overcome poverty and suffering by helping to improve their quality of life. Visit www.interaction.org.