Mercy Corps Reaffirms Gender Diversity and Inclusion, Safeguarding as Global Priorities

United States

March 1, 2018

Statement from Neal Keny-Guyer, Chief Executive Officer

PORTLAND, ORE. - Mercy Corps strives to build a better world where everyone is treated with dignity and respect, free of harassment and bias. To that end, last spring we made it a global priority to strengthen our culture, policies and procedures related to gender diversity and inclusion and sexual misconduct in any form. This proactive self-audit and improvement initiative reflects Mercy Corps' firm commitment to an inclusive and safe workplace for our team members around the world.

A new Gender Diversity and Inclusion Initiative is currently underway, in partnership with outside experts, to strengthen Mercy Corps' culture and identify steps to building an even more inclusive work environment. Over the past year, we have worked diligently to strengthen our existing policies and procedures on preventing sexual exploitation and abuse, including those on whistleblowing and hotline complaints, anti-sexual harassment, anti-trafficking and child safeguarding - all of which take a zero tolerance approach to sexual misconduct in any form. Our goal is to ensure these stronger policies are effective and relevant, go beyond industry standards and donor requirements, and take emerging best practice into account.

In addition, over the past two years, we reinforced our global Integrity Hotline and our response to complaints. We have established a dedicated, independent Ethics Team staffed by trained, professional investigators to monitor the hotline and oversee investigations. An in-house team is working to identify options for stronger processes and procedures for vetting new team members such as background-checking mechanisms, safeguarding-screening questions and improved selection processes. And another team is working to find legal ways to ensure anyone terminated for sexual misconduct at Mercy Corps cannot find work in the NGO sector again.

We know that policies have to be more than words on paper. It's what we do with them that will determine whether they're effective. Our new measures will receive the appropriate time, attention and dedicated resources.

We know that every industry, every workplace could improve its culture and practices around diversity, inclusion and conduct. At Mercy Corps, we reaffirm our commitment to a world where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.