In view of the ongoing international debate about the misconduct of aid workers, Woord en Daad would like to take this opportunity to share its integrity policy with its financial partners. The information in this letter is also available on our English website, as we want to be transparent and accountable to our supporter base.
At Woord en Daad we are both shocked and upset about the misconduct of international aid workers, which has been reported and debated extensively in the media. Respectful interaction with every fellow human being is a matter of principle at Woord en Daad. Our mission, vision and core values are crystal clear about this. We want to be a reliable link between supporters at home and vulnerable people abroad, who are often the poorest of the poor. We do this in collaboration with local partner organizations in Africa, Central America and Asia. Woord en Daad does not employ Dutch staff abroad for long-term missions, unless there are exceptional circumstances that make this necessary.
Woord en Daad has implemented a clear integrity policy to prevent and detect misconduct. New staff members are fully and carefully informed about this policy and are required to endorse it when they start to work for us.
Woord en Daad uses a donor handbook for its collaboration with local partner organizations. In this handbook Woord en Daad has formulated what it expects from partner organizations in several key areas: financial policy, human resource management, anti-corruption policy, etc. Every partner organization signs a Partner Agreement in which it endorses the rules in the handbook and the Code of Conduct for Child Protection. Compliance with these codes is evaluated during periodic assessments.
The Code of Conduct for Child Protection is a clear and explicit document. Upon signing it the signatory promises to always respect the integrity and rights of children under all circumstances. It includes concrete examples of misconduct and the corresponding sanctions. It is not just partner organizations who have to subscribe to this Code of Conduct. Our own staff and any co-travellers must also sign the Code of Conduct before making a working visit.
For emergency aid programmes financed by Woord en Daad and implemented by local partner organizations, Woord en Daad subscribes to a number of well-known ethical codes, like the Code of Conduct of the International Red Cross and the Sphere Standards.
Following the recent examples of misconduct in our sector, Woord en Daad has decided to take a number of additional measures:
- All new staff will be requested to submit a Certificate of Conduct issued by the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security before they can take up their position (instead of just financial staff).
- The sanctions for breaking the Code of Conduct for Child Protection will from now on be explicitly stated in the document that must be signed. This document already stipulates that any misconduct will be reported to the police.
- Woord en Daad will soon organize internal sessions for its own staff to enhance knowledge and awareness of its integrity policy. We will encourage our staff to report any suspicions about or cases of misconduct.
- Woord en Daad will start a dialogue with our partner organizations to discover the extent to which their staff are aware of the endorsed integrity policy and comply with it. Wherever necessary, actions will be taken to strengthen the integrity awareness of local staff.
We hope that the information in this letter has provided you with a good insight into Woord en Daad’s integrity policy and the additional measures that we have taken in light of recent events.
We are more than willing to provide any additional information that you might require.
Ir. J. Lock, chairman Board of Directors