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Giving Compass' Take:
• Oxfam is owning up to their past mistakes and is taking steps to prevent similar abuses in the future.
• Is their plan sufficient to regain the trust of those they serve and the donors who support them? How can other organizations take steps to prevent abuses by their employees and volunteers?
• To better understand the impact of the scandal, learn what Devex discovered during a year-long study of how media coverage of aid affects public opinion.
Recent reporting of sexual misconduct by former Oxfam Great Britain staff in Haiti in 2011 has led Oxfam to take a hard look at our past. President Moïse of Haiti recently referenced these reports as one in a series of cases highlighting the power imbalance between aid groups and the Haitian people. From my first-hand experience in Haiti, I wholeheartedly agree.
A new Safeguarding Team and a confidential “whistleblowing” line were created as part of a package of measures to ensure that we do all we can to prevent sexual abuse and misconduct and improve how we handle allegations when they happen.
But, we made mistakes. At a minimum, we should have demonstrated greater transparency by being clear in our public statements at the time about the nature of allegations of sexual misconduct. And we should have had better procedures in place to minimize the risk that those who were fired would take new positions in other organizations.
We recently announced a wide-reaching new plan to change our culture, strengthen our policies, and hold ourselves accountable. This includes an Independent Commission on Sexual Misconduct, Accountability and Culture Change that will look into all aspects of Oxfam’s policies and practices relating to the safeguarding of staff, volunteers, and beneficiaries.
We are also doubling the staff dedicated to preventing abuse and sexual misconduct and tripling their resources, and we have created a list of Oxfam staff who are officially authorized to provide references, designed to end the use of forged or dishonest references.
Read the full article on Oxfam after the scandal by Abby Maxman at Devex International Development