The Next Step in Combatting Sexual Harassment, Abuse, and Exploitation

InterAction Announces Program to Prevent and Respond to Incidents in Development and Humanitarian Settings

InterAction will begin a new program to establish a culture of prevention, response, and support within the NGO community to address sexual harassment, abuse, and exploitation. Working with its member organizations, the program will focus on implementing systems and tools with InterAction members and partners that prevent and respond to sexual incidents to improve work environments for NGO staff and the communities they serve. 

“With this crucial new program, InterAction is poised to continue our work on preventing sexual harassment, abuse, and exploitation,” said Carolyn Aeby, InterAction Vice President of Membership and Public Engagement, who will lead the project. “Our member organizations have already shown a strong commitment to addressing these issues, starting at the field level and all the way to our CEOs and Board of Directors.”

The project is made possible through a three-year, $1.98 million grant from Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies. The funding will support a variety of activities such as surveying InterAction member organizations to track improvements in incident reporting, sharing knowledge between organizations through a collaborative online platform, and developing accessible and effective complaint systems. The project includes a sub-granting mechanism that allows for the research and piloting of innovative approaches adaptable to NGOs across InterAction and our partners, regardless of size, capacity or budget.  As a result, the international NGO community will be better positioned to enact policies and norms, as well as employ new training and evaluation methods, on the prevention of sexual harassment, abuse, and exploitation.

“We are committed to creating safer environments for our member NGO staff and the communities with which they work around the world,” said Patricia McIlreavy, InterAction Vice President of Humanitarian Policy and Practice. “This will require our members to develop sound practices that can eventually serve as an example beyond the nonprofit sector.”

Since 2006, InterAction has led efforts to establish policies to prevent sexual harassment, abuse, and exploitation. The InterAction Community of Practice on Preventing Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) continues to seek advancements in the implementation of PSEA approaches within humanitarian programs. In March 2018, more than 120 member and partner CEOs signed on to the CEO Pledge on Preventing Sexual Abuse, Exploitation, and Harassment by and of NGO Staff.  In addition, leaders of InterAction member organizations spoke openly of their existing efforts to advance these issues at InterAction Forum in June, at a retreat among the CEO Pledge signatories in October, and again at the annual InterAction CEO Retreat held in December.