Ethiopiaid Canada Safeguarding Policy

Posted by Kristin on Tuesday 30th March 2021

Ethiopiaid Canada Safeguarding Policy

Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults

Statement:

Ethiopiaid Canada takes the protection and safety of all its beneficiaries, partners and staff seriously. We work with partner organizations that provide vital support and opportunities to vulnerable and marginalized individuals in Ethiopia. We respect local values and work with partners to promote equality and who do not discriminate based upon a person’s gender, age, faith or sexuality. As such our responsibility is ultimately to ensure that the right individuals are reached and that our donors’ money is spent appropriately. We work closely with our trusted partners to ensure that their programs are responding to real needs, are engaged with the communities in which they work, and encourage the participation of beneficiaries in decisions that affect their lives. All Ethiopiaid partners must be compliant with their own country law relating to the safeguarding of children, young people and vulnerable adults, staff and volunteers. They must also commit to Ethiopiaid’s Code of Conduct in order to be considered for funding, and any further eligibility criteria required by an Ethiopiaid funder. This policy reflects our commitment and is a document that will be reviewed on an annual basis.

1. Introduction

Who is this policy for?

This policy provides information for anyone who is involved with the work of Ethiopiaid Canada and in Ethiopia, including staff, volunteers, directors and fundraisers.

Who is a child? 

A child is someone who is under the age of 18 years, even if married or a mother.

Who is a young person?

A young person is determined as someone between the ages of 18 years and 23 years.

Who is a vulnerable person?

A vulnerable person is someone, of any age, who is, or may be, in need of community care services (or equivalent in Ethiopia) because of mental or physical disability, age or illness, and is unable to take care of themselves, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation.

What is abuse?

Abuse includes mistreatment, exploitation, or neglect. The definition of abuse is: ‘a violation of a person’s human and civil rights by any other person(s). It may be: a single or repeated act(s), physical verbal, psychological, sexual, institutional, discriminatory or financial, an act of neglect or failure to act.’

Who might abuse?

Anyone can be an abuser, including:

• A relative or unpaid carer, neighbours, friends or acquaintances, paid employees, carers or volunteers working with the individual, other vulnerable services users, a stranger.

What are the essential duties for people who work with children, young people and vulnerable people?

• Be mindful of the possibility of abuse, take any urgent action needed to ensure the safety of those involved, be aware of the Safeguarding Policy and how it applies to you, know when and how to report a safeguarding issue, record any information or evidence you are aware of, respect the rights and wishes of the child/young person/vulnerable adult whilst also considering their capacity to understand any particular risks they may face. 

The policy applies to all Ethiopiaid employees, volunteers and representatives of the charity and should be read in conjunction with the additional Safeguarding Policies relating to children and vulnerable adults as appropriate.

NOTE: Ethiopian partner organisations will be required to meet the safeguarding standards expected by the Ethiopian Charities and Civil Society Agency. They will also be required to commit to Ethiopiaid’s safeguarding code of conduct.

2. Principles and Values

Principles:

• The welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults is paramount.

•All children, young people and vulnerable adults have equal rights, or the right to, protection from abuse and exploitation.

• All children, young people and vulnerable adults should be encouraged to fulfil their potential and inequalities of potential should be challenged.

• Everybody has a responsibility to support the care and protection of children, young people and vulnerable adults.

• INGOs have a duty of care to children, young people and vulnerable adults with whom they work, and with whom their representatives (including consultants) staff and volunteers work.

• The care, dignity, privacy and respect of beneficiaries is important and is reflected in every aspect of our fundraising practices, partnerships and monitoring processes.

• Ethiopiaid maintains policies and procedures to safeguard the interest of all parties.

• Ethiopiaid is committed to working with its partners on developing and implementing their own organizational policies and procedures.

• This policy applies to all Ethiopiaid board members, staff and volunteers. We also expect our partner organizations who receive funds from Ethiopiaid, to apply this policy to all their staff, board members and volunteers, except in cases where the partner organization has its own robust Safeguarding Policy.

• A copy of this Safeguarding Policy is available to all Ethiopiaid partner organizations. • Every Ethiopiaid member of staff, trustee and volunteer has signed a commitment to the Safeguarding Policy.

• All Ethiopiaid staff and trustees have had two references obtained at the time of appointment and have been the subject of regular DBS checks (every 3 years). • Safeguarding is referenced in all our recruitment advertisements.

Values

• The needs, rights and views of every individual are at the centre of all practice and provision.

• Individuality, difference and diversity are valued.

• Equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice are actively promoted.

• Health and well-being of employees and beneficiaries are actively promoted.

• Personal and physical safety is safeguarded.

• Confidentiality and confidential information is respected in line with legislation and agreed practice as defined in the Ethiopiaid code of conduct.

Ethiopiaid will endeavor to:

• Work towards its vision of an Ethiopia free from poverty, in which every person has access to quality education, healthcare and a life of dignity.

• Break the cycle of poverty in Ethiopia by enabling local communities to realize their potential.

• Seek partnerships and collaboration with Ethiopian registered partners.

• Respect, listen and respond to our staff, volunteers, Ethiopian partners and beneficiaries

• Be accountable by measuring improvements in the lives of the people who participate in our projects. In this way we ensure our donors’ and supporters’ funds are used effectively and responsibly

• Be inclusive by working with the most vulnerable and marginalized members of society in Ethiopia regardless of creed, race, ethnicity, religion or philosophical beliefs.

• Provide opportunities by helping people to build the knowledge and assets needed for self-sufficiency.

• Share information about safeguarding concerns with the relevant person(s).

• Provide effective management to ensure safe and best practices are maintained.

3. Child Protection in the Ethiopian Context

The Ethiopian Revised Criminal Code (2005) defines the following criminal offenses with respect to children:

Harmful traditional practices; enslavement of children; trafficking of children for prostitution and forced labour; sexual abuse; corporal punishment in schools and institutions; rape, maltreatment and neglect of children.

The Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs (MOWCYA) is the main Government body in charge of coordinating and implementing the Child rights in the country.

In 2006, the Ministry formulated a National Action Plan on Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (2006-2010) with the overall goal of reducing the impact of commercial sex work on children. The Plan identified four levels of intervention: prevention, protection, rehabilitation and reintegration, to be coordinated and monitored during implementation.

Some of the government committees that collaboratively work to promote and protect the rights of the child include the:

• National CRC Committee

• National OVC Task Force

• National Steering Committee against Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children

• National Steering Committee on Child Labour

• Inter-Institutional Management Team Working on Gender Based Violence (GBV) and Violence against Women and Children

• National Committee on Trafficking in Women and Children.

4. Child Protection in the Canadian Context

Everyone, including members of the public and professionals who work closely with children, is required by law to report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect. If you have reasonable grounds to suspect that a child is or may be in need of protection, you must report it to a children's aid society (CAS). Learn how to recognize the signs of child abuse and neglect.

All suspicions of child abuse or neglect must be reported directly to a CAS. CASs have the exclusive mandate, under the Child and Family Services Act, to investigate allegations of child abuse or neglect and to deliver child protection services.

5. Ethiopiaid’s Commitments

5.1 Transparency and Accountability

Ethiopiaid is committed to ensuring that it is transparent and accountable in all its dealings with stakeholders including partners, beneficiaries, donors, grant makers and the general public.We regularly review our finances, audits and operational systems to ensure that we are legally compliant.

We believe that honesty is important in all matters related to raising, using and accounting for funds. We maintain sound financial, accounting and administrative systems that ensure the use of resources in accordance with intended purposes.

The activities of our partners are monitored, evaluated and reported upon both by the partners themselves and by Ethiopiaid staff.

Ethiopiaid has a global strategy that is shared with Ethiopiaid Australia, Ethiopiaid UK and Ethiopiaid Ireland. Each country draws from the strategy to inform its own relevant country’s operational plan and strategy. The global strategy is disseminated to interested stakeholders e.g. donors, grant makers, partners.

5.2 Good Internal Governance

Ethiopiaid has by-laws, a clearly defined mission, objectives and organizational structure. The charity is governed by a board of experienced board members. The service of the board is voluntary, and no fees are paid other than agreed essential expenses incurred during service (e.g. travel). Positions are always offered based on experience, qualifications and meeting the relevant requirements for the role. Ethiopiaid’s transactions are free of personal and professional conflicts of interest.

5.3 Honesty, Integrity and Cost-Effectiveness

We strive for honesty and integrity in all our professional activities. Fraud of any kind (including but not limited to misappropriation of funds, equipment, supplies, or other assets; Impropriety in the handling or reporting of money or financial transactions; Disclosing confidential information to outside parties; Accepting or seeking anything of material value from contractors, vendors, or persons providing services/materials; Destruction, removal, or inappropriate use of records, furniture, fixtures, and equipment) is not acceptable.

Our internal and external practices are regularly reviewed by the Executive Director and the Board of Directors to ensure that they do not undermine the ethical integrity of our organization. We accept funds and donations only from sources whose aims are consistent with our mission, objectives and values. We ensure that our partners document and regularly communicate the results and impact of our funding. We promote a spirit of volunteerism, recognizing the important contribution that can be made by volunteers in promoting our objectives.

5.4 Sustainably Strengthening Communities

We recognize that capacity building of our partners is essential in supporting them to become self-sufficient and more sustainable. We check that our partners design and implement projects in collaboration with local communities, health authorities and the relevant government ministries in order to meet local needs and to ensure long term sustainable development.

6. Scope of this Policy

The policy is applicable to all Ethiopiaid staff (full time and part time), board members, volunteers and those engaged on a short-term basis such as consultants, researchers, interns, photographers and writers.

It is expected that all Ethiopian partner organizations will have their own safeguarding policies in place. They will be required to commit annually to Ethiopiaid’s Safeguarding Code of Conduct in order to be ‘fit for funding’.

Any person representing Ethiopiaid in any capacity and who may come into contact with children, young people or vulnerable adults, must be given a copy of this policy and be made aware that they must act in accordance with it whilst visiting projects or offices.

All staff are to receive an annual induction on Ethiopiaid’s Safeguarding Policy. Annual performance reviews will include a review of understanding and commitment to the Safeguarding Policy.

• Staff members read and commit to the Safeguarding Policy and sign the ‘Statement of Commitment’ as part of their annual review.

• Ethiopian partner organizations to supply their safeguarding policy annually as part of the monitoring process, and to agree to Ethiopiaid’s safeguarding code of conduct.

• Ethiopiaid’s Safeguarding Policy and Code of Conduct is reviewed annually by the Executive Director and Board of Directors.

• Trustees sign the ‘Statement of Commitment’ annually.

7. Recruitment of Staff, Board Members and Volunteers

All jobs advertised will be with a job description and person specification which states that Ethiopiaid has a Safeguarding Policy and Code of Conduct and that the successful applicant will be expected to comply with this.

Interview candidates selected will be asked to read the Safeguarding Policy in advance of their interview and asked questions specific to safeguarding during the interview. We will request two references from all prospective employees. References from family members will not be accepted.

All new Ethiopiaid employees will be required to undergo a Criminal Record check if they will be working directly with children or vulnerable adults.

All new volunteers will be expected to read and sign a statement of commitment to the policy and code of conduct prior to commencement of their placement.

All new Board Members will read and sign a statement of commitment to the policy and code of conduct, and annually thereafter.

All employees will read and sign a statement of commitment to the policy and code of conduct as part of their Annual Review.

All external consultants will be required to read and sign a statement of commitment to the policy and code of conduct before the commencement of their assignment. Consultants working directly with children and/or vulnerable adults will be required to provide a Criminal Record check. This must be less than two years old. In cases where this is not available they must provide details of two voluntary organizations that will provide professional and character references.

• The ‘recruiting person’ will ensure that the recruitment process meets Ethiopiaid’s Safeguarding standards

• All staff, trustees and volunteers to sign and commit to the Safeguarding policy and Code of Conduct

• All external consultants to sign and commit to the Safeguarding policy and Code of Conduct

8. Compliance

If a volunteer, employee or board member is found not to comply with elements of the policy, including reporting cases, witnesses, reporting time frames, respecting reporting lines, supporting the role out and implementation of the Safeguarding Policy etc., disciplinary action may be taken. Depending on the nature of the accusation and the form of the breach, the case may have to be formally investigated.

Ethiopiaid’s Executive Director, in consultation with the Executive Committee, will decide on the appropriate action to be taken in all cases. If the Executive Director is accused of inappropriate behaviour the Chair of the Board of Directors will decide on appropriate action in consultation with the Executive Committee.

When and where an investigation identifies a criminal offence, child abuse or exploitation the case will be reported to the appropriate authorities for legal action.

9. Education and Training

Ethiopiaid

All new members of staff, volunteers and board members must attend an induction into Ethiopiaid’s Safeguarding Policy and Code of Conduct by the Executive Director and/ or the Safeguarding lead on the Board of Directors. This must take place at the earliest possible opportunity, and certainly within one month of appointment.

Refresher training to all staff and regular volunteers will be given on an annual basis.

The Executive Director and/ or the Safeguarding lead on the Board of Directors will receive refresher training and will actively participate in training courses and groups to ensure that he/she is up to date with new developments in best practice. In collaboration with the Board of Directors, they will undertake to review the Safeguarding Policy annually.

Safeguarding will form part of the agenda for all quarterly Board meetings.

• Ethiopiaid’s current staff, volunteers and board members to be trained in the Safeguarding Policy and Code of Conduct

• Training in the Safeguarding Policy and Code of Conduct to be included in all new staff, volunteer and board member inductions

• Board Member agendas and minutes have clear reference to Safeguarding issues.

Ethiopian Partner Organizations

Ethiopian partners who do not have a robust Safeguarding policy will be required to develop and implement a Safeguarding Policy and sign up to Ethiopiaid’s Code of Conduct. Deviation from this will be investigated and may result in a cessation of grant(s) and partnership with Ethiopiaid.

Ethiopiaid’s due diligence, with new partners and with existing partners when starting a new grant, will include checks on:

(a) organizational Safeguarding Policy

(b) evidence of good Safeguarding practices when delivering activities

(c) evidence of good case management when recording, processing and referring Safeguarding incidents

Partners that do not have an adequate Safeguarding policy, commit to Ethiopiaid’s Code of Conduct or/and who do not evidence understanding and good practice in relation to safeguarding will be assisted to achieve this through the planned capacity building activity or may be phased out of organizational partnerships.

Ethiopiaid is committed to supporting partners to put in place rigorous and appropriate policies and procedures that are applied across the organization. There will be an agreement at the outset of partnerships that child and vulnerable person protection issues will be included as an appropriate element of monitoring, evaluation and reporting.

• Executive Director to request and review Safeguarding policies form all partners during the annual monitoring process

• Ethiopian partners to understand and sign up to the Ethiopiaid Code of Conduct

• The new capacity building program will include opportunities for safeguarding training

10. Behaviour Protocols

Ethiopiaid’s Code of Conduct should be distributed and adhered to by all staff, board members and volunteers.

Ethiopiaid staff must comply with UN standards on Protection and Child Protection understand and may incorporate local norms around physical contact with adults, young people and children as long as these comply with these internationally recognized standards.

All Ethiopiaid staff, trustees and volunteers should be inducted in the Code of Conduct.

All Ethiopian partner organizations should be inducted into Ethiopiaid’s Code of Conduct.

Although children, young people and vulnerable adults are the direct beneficiaries of Ethiopiaid’s work, Ethiopiaid staff and volunteers should not, in the course of their normal employment, come into contact with children. If Ethiopiaid staff and volunteers do come into direct contact with children, this should never be alone or without the supervision of the parent, guardian, teacher or suitable responsible person(s).

• All staff members have obtained a criminal record check.

• All staff members have two references obtained and verified.

• Staff members receive (refresher) training regarding Safeguarding annually.

11. Reporting Procedures

The reporting of suspected or actual abuse and/or a safeguarding concern is a professional responsibility and legal obligation. Failure to report information can lead to disciplinary action or dismissal.

It is the responsibility of the Safeguarding Officer in each of Ethiopiaid’s partner organizations to ensure that children, young people and vulnerable adults are made aware, in an age sensitive and language appropriate way, that they understand what to do if they feel uncomfortable and want to report something.

All designated Safeguarding Officers of the local partner organization are to compile a list of local agencies/emergency contacts that deal with issues relating to the protection of vulnerable adults, young people and child protection and to whom children can be referred e.g. social services, emergency medical help, psychologist, pediatrician etc. This list should be made visible to partner staff and beneficiaries.

The guiding principle is that the best interest of the child, young person or vulnerable adult and the desire to secure the best outcomes for the child, young person or vulnerable adult shall always govern decisions regarding what actions should be taken in response to concerns and the level of confidentiality to be maintained in specific reported cases.

Reporting issues in Canada

In any cases of suspicion of a safeguarding issue in Canada (or relating to Canadian member of staff, board member, volunteer or contractor) the person to whom it has been reported must immediately inform Ethiopiaid’s Executive Director and/ or the Safeguarding lead on the Board of Directors.

Reporting issues in Ethiopia

In any cases of suspicion of a safeguarding issue in Ethiopia the person to whom it has been reported must immediately inform the designated Safeguarding Officer of the local partner organization. The designated Safeguarding Officer will then action as per their own safeguarding policy. They must also inform Ethiopiaid of the incident using the reporting protocol.

• Ethiopiaid’s Executive Director is responsible for ensuring that the incident reported is recorded and stored securely in the Ethiopiaid office.

• All staff have a responsibility in maintaining confidentiality of records and cases of allegations or suspicions. This information shall only be made available to the relevant parties.

• All employees, board members, volunteers, partners and beneficiaries shall receive additional support, guidance and supervision during or following an incident or allegation. o All children, young people and vulnerable adults involved in Ethiopiaid supported projects are aware of procedures for reporting a concern.

o Partner organizations to display the mechanism and process for reporting abuse in order that beneficiaries, staff and volunteers know what to do.

o Canadian Emergency and Safeguarding contacts are displayed in the offices of Ethiopiaid Canada.

o Ethiopian Emergency and Safeguarding contacts are displayed in the offices of Ethiopian partner organizations.

o All Ethiopiaid staff, board members and volunteers are aware of reporting procedures.

12. Media and Communications

As part of our duty of care to children, young people and vulnerable adults, Ethiopiaid will always put the individual’s needs first.

Ethiopiaid recognizes its responsibility to the individuals who are portrayed in any of the images or communications used and will always strive to represent them accurately and not as passive victims – they must be represented with their own identity and dignity preserved.

Consent will always be sought from the subject themselves, their parents or guardian, or via the partner organization, before taking photographs. Ethiopiaid has a ‘Media Consent Form’ to be used for this purpose. Consent is understood as lasting for 4 Years , or in the case of a child, until their 18th birthday if that is sooner. When a child becomes 18 they should be asked as an adult to renew their consent.

No images of children or vulnerable adults should be used which are degrading, sexually provocative or where children or vulnerable adults are partially clothed or naked.

No photographs should be manipulated or taken out of context.

Ensure that any image or recorded case study history of a child, young person or vulnerable adult does not place him/her at risk or render him/her vulnerable to any form of abuse. In particular, it is vital that their real name and other information that could lead to them being identified or tracked must not be used.

Third parties who work with us to promote our work requesting the use of Ethiopiaid images or other materials should read and sign Ethiopiaid’s Safeguarding Policy and Code of Conduct.

All social media (blogs; Facebook etc.) and case studies generated by Ethiopiaid will be subject to the same Safeguarding guidelines as outlined in this policy.

Information about a child/children’s life and any images of children will be kept confidential in secure files. Access to images is limited to those that need them during the course of their work.

Where possible Ethiopiaid will only use images recorded on Ethiopiaid cameras and for which informed consent has been secured. Staff are requested to delete all images from personal cameras when returning from a field trip.

Informed Consent Forms obtained for case studies and images

• All consultants, journalist, photographer or other stakeholders visiting Ethiopiaid supported projects commit to Ethiopiaid’s safeguarding policy and code of conduct

13. Expectations of Local Partner Organizations

Ethiopiaid expects all its partners to ensure the wellbeing of children, young people and vulnerable adults by having in place robust policies and procedures that prevent and respond to cases of or concerns about exploitation, abuse, violence or neglect. Ethiopiaid expects that all of its partners will:

• Have a safeguarding policy that meets the requirements of the Ethiopian Charities and Societies Agency and is in line with key global guidance documents on the subject, namely:

o UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)

o UN Convention to Eliminate All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)

o UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)

o UN Secretary General’s Bulletin of 2003 ‘Special Measures for Protection From Sexual Exploitation and Abuse’

• Have safeguarding procedures clearly documented

• Train all of its staff and volunteers in its safeguarding policy and procedures and regularly refresh knowledge

• Regularly review the safeguarding policies & procedures

• Report safeguarding issues/ allegations to Ethiopiaid and how they are addressing them

• Provide documents and information requested by Ethiopiaid in a timely manner

• Sign Partnership Agreements with Ethiopiaid making reference to their own organizational Safeguarding Policy and agreeing to adhere to Ethiopiaid’s Code of Conduct.

o Local partners have developed a Code of Conduct o Local partners have developed a Safeguarding Policy o Code of Conduct and Emergency safeguarding contact details are displayed in Local partner offices.

 

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