Updated March 2022
The Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) is fully committed to safeguarding the welfare of all children and young people. It recognizes its responsibility to take all reasonable steps to promote safe practice and to protect children from harm, abuse, and exploitation. WEDO acknowledges its duty to act appropriately to any allegations, reports, or suspicions of abuse. Paid staff, interns, volunteers, and partners will endeavor to work together to encourage the development of an ethos which embraces difference and diversity and respects the rights of children, young people and adults.
The organization believes that:
- The welfare of the child is paramount.
- All children, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious beliefs and/or sexual identity have the right to protection from abuse.
- All suspicions and allegations of abuse should be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.
- All members and employees of the organization should be clear on how to respond appropriately.
In implementing this child protection policy WEDO will:
- Communicate to all staff/partners their legal and moral responsibility to protect children and young people from harm, abuse, and exploitation.
- Communicate to all staff/partners their responsibility to work to the standards that are detailed in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) and the Declaration of Human Rights (1948), and the need to work at all times towards maintaining high standards of practice in protection of children.
- Ensure that all staff/partners understand their duty to report concerns that arise about a child or young person, or a colleague’s conduct towards a child/young person, to PRIMUS Human Resources at WEDOHR@primusco.com.
WEDO does not tolerate any form of child abuse or exploitation. The purpose of this policy is to ensure that WEDO has procedures in place to prevent and deal with child abuse and exploitation witnessed, or conducted, by any staff or partner.
The policy applies to all WEDO staff and partners that work with, or receive funding, from WEDO including:
- Full and part-time staff
- Consultants, advisers, and contracted individuals
- Non-Government Organization (NGO), Civil society Organization (CSO) and contractor organizations who work with or receive sub-grants from WEDO
External parties must also abide by their own relevant policies, international declarations, conventions, agreements, and domestic legal frameworks, which seek to protect children.
How WEDO interacts with children
WEDO does not engage directly in any work that involves children. Despite this, the organization recognizes its responsibility to take all reasonable steps to promote safe practice and to protect children from harm, abuse, and exploitation.
Definition of a child
Any person under the physical age of 18 years.
Forms of Child Abuse and Exploitation and how to recognize it
Please see Appendix 1
WEDO staff/ partners must never act or make a decision alone where child abuse or exploitation is suspected. Child Protection is a State and Society responsibility. Decisions are made collectively or by those empowered to make specific decisions.
The role of WEDO staff/partners in Child Protection:
- Report and record any incident of concern about child protection to the appropriate child protection agency.
- Ensure that a culture of openness exists amongst staff to enable any issues or concerns to be raised and discussed.
- Ensure that poor practice or potentially abusive behavior by WEDO partners/staff does not go unchallenged.
- In the event WEDO or its partners engage with work with children, the role of WEDO staff/partners will also include:
- Ensure community and children are aware of and have easy access to reporting authorities and procedures for reporting concerns and complaints.
- Develop working partnerships with community leaders and professionals with responsibility for child welfare and protection.
- Ensure parental or guardian consent is sought for any activity with a child and encourage parental participation in all activities involving children.
- Ensure parental or guardian consent is sought before taking any images or footage of children.
- Ensure that the parent or guardian understands the purpose of this activity and how the images or footage will be used.
- Plan and organize the work and the workplace so as to eliminate risks to children.
- Be aware of situations which may present risks and ensure these are supervised appropriately.
- Ensure that staff are accountable for the welfare of children during activities.
The role and duty of WEDO Director in Child Protection:
- Ensure staff and partners are aware of, as well as have access to, Child and Human Rights documents.
- Ensure that staff and partners are aware of procedures for reporting concerns and their responsibilities in reporting.
- Be aware of the local law applying to child protection and the agencies responsible. Ensure that all staff are aware of these.
- Create procedures for reporting of and investigating suspected cases of abuse and exploitation.
- Ensure disciplinary procedures are implemented for staff members found to have violated the Child Protection Policy.
- Ensure all staff are aware of how to recognize child abuse and exploitation and take appropriate action.
The role and duty of Human Resources in Child Protection:
- Ensure this Child Protection Policy is included in the Employee Handbook and shared with all new employees. As part of the hiring procedure, employees will be asked to sign a declaration of the policy stating that they are aware of its existence and will abide/adhere to it. The declaration will be kept on the staff members file and may be referred to in legal proceedings if a staff member is found to be in breach of the policy.
If WEDO staff/partners are made aware of sensitive information concerning children, the following steps must be taken:
- Concerns must be reported immediately to the Director and PRIMUS Human Resources at WEDOHR@primusco.com.
- Complaints may be submitted to PRIMUS Human Resources anonymously through the online Complaint Form. Additionally, proper law enforcement should be notified.
- Whenever a staff member of WEDO has concerns of abuse or exploitation, detailed notes of circumstances and dialogue must be included in records and kept confidential. These records may be used as evidence to save a child from abuse and exploitation.
- Concerns that are evidenced by impairment of health, physical injury, sexual exploitation, criminal activity, or threats must be reported immediately to statutory child protection agencies or equivalent authorities.
- Any knowledge regarding partner/staff prior record of children-based activities which are questionable should be raised with the Director.
Any staff member found to be engaged in the following acts will be summarily dismissed:
- Inducing or coercing a child to engage in any sexual activity.
- Any commercially exploitative activities with the children including child labor or trafficking.
- Use of children’s photographs for pornographic or other inappropriate use.
- Subjecting any child to torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.
- Mistreating or depriving the child in any way.
- Any partner found to be engaged or suspected of being engaged in the above acts will be reported to the relevant authorities in their country of residence. Their names will be removed from any WEDO related materials or directories.