As many of you will be aware, recently a number of allegations were made against Oxfam and how it handled a number of serious allegations relating to misconduct of its staff.
As the CEO of African Initiatives, I too was shocked to hear of the misconduct reported and discussed through the various reports in the media. There is no excuse whatsoever for the behaviour of those individuals. I am determined that at African Initiatives we demonstrate leadership to prevent any kind of unacceptable behaviour or misconduct, and avoid any form of exploitation and abuse.
Our vision is focused on empowering marginalised women and girls in Tanzania, so they can achieve their potential. In that vision there is no space for abuse and exploitation of children and vulnerable adults. We work through local partner organisations, often from the communities we support to find sustainable African-led, long-term solutions through supporting the ideas, ambitions and initiatives of marginalised people.
Our recently reviewed and approved Vulnerable Adults and Child Safeguarding policy is a reflection of our commitment to ‘do no harm’ through our work and the work we support. The policy was developed following a number of training sessions with all staff at African Initiatives in 2017. We also appointed a Trustee as the Safeguarding focal point. The policy is applicable to all African Initiatives staff, trustees, volunteers, interns and those engaged on a short term basis such as consultants, researchers, and photographers.
With our strong Safeguarding policy as a basis, we are well prepared to show leadership in our commitment to safeguarding. We will work to achieve the highest possible standards throughout our organisation, as well as with our partner organisations.
Our actions going forward will include:
- Re-distribution of our Safeguarding policy for Children and Vulnerable adults to all staff, trustees, volunteers, interns and others engaged on a short basis emphasizing the importance of Safeguarding and our commitment to it.
- Distribute the policy to our partner organisations reinforcing our commitment to Safeguarding and the related procedures, and engaging in a dialogue with our partners to support them in the implementation of the policy (and reinforce their own policies).
- Prioritise a quarterly review of the progress we are making in terms of implementing our Safeguarding policy including vetting and training of all new staff and volunteers and conduct training with our partner organisations.
African Initiatives takes the protection and safety of all beneficiaries seriously. We are committed to changing lives together, for the better. Please rest assured that going forward African Initiatives will do its utmost to ensure that we ‘do no harm’ to those we are trying to support.
CEO, African Initiatives