Cordaid is deeply upset by the sexual misconduct of humanitarian aid workers, recently revealed in the media.
Cordaid as well registered five cases of sexual misconduct in the past three years. This concerns five separate cases by individuals staff members working for Cordaid in four different countries. Three of these cases have led to disciplinary measures. Two incidents are still being investigated. Obviously, we deeply regret every one of these cases.
Sexual misconduct is a reprehensible reality that occurs in all layers of society. If it occurs inside the international aid community, it is all the more reprehensible, because development and humanitarian organisations aim to support people in need and living in a context of fragility. Addressing and countering gender based violence is an important part of our mission. Every form of sexual abuse therefore goes against the heart of who we are and what we stand for.
We use and will continue to use all instruments to our disposition to prevent misconduct, report it and handle it appropriately. Cordaid has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to abuse, whether it be fraud or sexual misconduct. This policy is established in several protocols, among which a code of conduct and a whistle-blower policy.
Cordaid has appointed Confidential Councillors in its offices, to whom staff can report and share information about abusive behaviour. Prevention of and dealing with sexual harassment is part of our (mandatory) safety and security training of staff. Annually, Cordaid measures staff satisfaction to detect, in an early stage, work floor signals that need attention. We conduct gender audits to detect if the culture in the Cordaid office is not according to our standards. New and existing Cordaid employers actively follow an onboarding program and introduction trajectory to understand and acquire the knowledge of the Cordaid culture and rules, protocols and regulations.
We will continue to evaluate the efficiency of standing procedures and protocols, also in the light of recent incidents.
We fully understand and share the public outcry, following the misconduct of individual aid workers. And as part of the aid community, we will continue to do everything that is necessary to prevent and address future sexual misconduct.
Still over 1.2 billion people live in fragility and poverty. We will continue to reach out to them and provide continuous support, jointly with our individual and institutional donors.
The Hague, 16 February 2018
Board of Directors Cordaid
Kees Zevenbergen (chairman)
Willem Jan van Wijk