(Editor's note: InterAction, the alliance of U.S. international nongovernmental organizations, issued the following statement on behalf of all its members on February 13th, 2018. Action Against Hunger USA is a member of InterAction.)
InterAction, representing U.S. nongovernmental organizations operating around the world to advance the lives of people living in the poorest and most marginalized conditions, reiterates our firm commitment to fight discrimination, sexual harassment and abuse within our community. U.S. NGOs have an obligation to the populations we serve, our staff, our supporters and donors to embody the values for which we stand.
As recent media reports continue to demonstrate, international nonprofits are not immune from incidences of sexual harassment and abuse. We are firmly against sexual exploitation and abuse in all its forms. We have demonstrated this commitment before, advancing our long-standing efforts to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse by our own staff, through working on improved policies, procedures and structures that advance the protection of populations with whom we work. In 2006, working with the U.N., we embraced policies to address sexual exploitation and abuse based on a zero-tolerance approach.
Given recent events, we recognize that we must put additional initiatives in place. In late 2017, InterAction stood up a CEO Task Team on Sexual Harassment and Abuse that will work with our members to advance efforts to both eradicate harmful practices from amongst those who we employ, and to improve our support for survivors. We are exploring how we can fortify our policies and procedures to prevent sexual harassment and abuse, as we increase our transparency and accountability when incidences occur. This includes working as a collective to identify better practices that will ensure perpetrators are prevented from re-employment within the sector.
We will reinforce with concrete action our respective member organizations’ commitment to ensuring that our programs are implemented in a manner that ensures both the populations we seek to help, and our staff are treated with dignity and respect. The work that we do is too important to be jeopardized by anything less.
Lindsay Coates, President, InterAction
Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Co-Champion, InterAction CEO Task Team on Sexual Harassment and Abuse and President & CEO, Project Concern International (PCI)
Abby Maxman, Co-Champion, InterAction CEO Task Team on Sexual Harassment and Abuse and President & CEO, Oxfam America
Carolyn Miles, Chair, InterAction Board of Directors and President & CEO, Save the Children
Sam Worthington, CEO, InterAction