3. Applying the policy in practice

In every emergency programme, the Country Director (or CEG in the case of a Type 3 emergency – refer protocol A2) should ensure the following at a minimum:

  • Each staff member deployed for emergency programming and management including consultants, and other temporary staff receives a copy of the CARE Code of conduct and is made aware of the established procedures to report any incidents of sexual exploitation and abuse in the particular emergency setting.
  • Each staff member is required to sign an agreement as a mark of having read and understood the CARE Code of conduct/policy and procedures, and abide by the policy.
  • Responsibility for preventing and responding to sexual exploitation by staff is explicitly included in the job description of the team leader/HR manager/regional emergency advisors. This should include a clear role to monitor the development and implementation of SEA-related work in the CO emergency plans.
  • The emergency programme manager/team leaders develop and implement plans to create awareness among programme partners, vendors and beneficiary communities-especially among vulnerable groups such as women and children-regarding information on relief criteria, their entitlements and rights, CARE’s zero tolerance policy for sexual exploitation and abuse, and reporting procedures for any incidents of SEA.
  • Resources are made available for the implementation of SEA work which would require a budget line for training or awareness-raising on SEA prevention and reporting procedures.
  • An effective feedback mechanism is implemented for grievance and complaints in the areas/communities we work in. This is critical to provide the opportunity for every individual in the community to let us know how we can improve our response, and as part of that they can also report on SEA issues.

An assessment of the status of response to SEA incidents and measures taken for prevention is included in the after-action reviews and other evaluations of emergency response. These assessment teams should include staff/consultants with expertise on gender and the topic of SEA.

The following ideas to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse of beneficiaries in relief operations should be considered in emergency programming. These ideas should be considered by all CARE International Members, both lead and non-lead members, in carrying out their respective roles in emergency preparedness and response.

3.2.1 Human resources manager/coordinator

  • To avoid recruiting the wrong candidates, conduct reference checks before any new hiring. Include specific questions in reference checks on this aspect of their past behaviour.
  • Strive for gender balance in staff. Include at least one or two women in each field team.
  • The human resource person, the gender coordinator or the programme manager should give and explain CARE’s policy/Code of conduct to each new and existing employee.
  • Each employee should be required to sign the agreement to abide by the Code of conduct.
  • It is desirable to organise an orientation workshop for all deputed staff and their supervisors (refer Annex 33.7 CARE USA’s short orientation module for emergency staff and a facilitation guide with additional guidelines and activities for longer training).
  • Explicitly include in the job description of the team leader/HR manager, responsibility to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation by staff.
  • CARE’s policy/code should be communicated/discussed with all partners and their staff, and included in the partner agreements. Partners should be encouraged to get all their staff to review and sign a similar code.
  • Organise additional skill-building events for those with significant responsibilities, for receiving, investigating and/or responding to reported incidents.

3.2.2 Programming/program management

  • Carry out assessments to identify specific needs and potential exploitation/protection issues, especially for women and children. Include people with expertise in the area of gender, child protection, psycho-social care, etc. in assessment teams.
  • Emphasise the need for staff to be aware of the psycho-social impact of such disasters and exploitative behaviours, and respond with empathy.
  • Identify and partner with individuals/organisations to respond to the psycho-social, medical and legal needs for survivors of sexual abuse/exploitation.
  • Conduct awareness-raising activities and display locally appropriate and effective posters that communicate CARE’s values/standards for staff behaviour and incident-reporting options at all prominent response points/camps in communities.
  • Display posters with information on relief criteria and entitlements prominently outside camps/distribution sites.
  • Collaborate and coordinate with other agencies to develop and implement reporting and feedback mechanisms, as well as advocacy efforts on SEA as required.

Ensure that the gender equity and diversity (GED) coordinator or an independent consultant periodically conducts a random survey with staff to find out their knowledge and attitude towards sexual exploitation, the CARE policy and procedures, and their individual responsibility.