A selection of promising practices on organizational culture change: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi IASC 2020 Championship on Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and Sexual Harassment – World



Sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment are rooted in systemic fractures in organizational culture.
They are based on power and gender differences driven by one or more factors that place an individual at a power advantage, allowing the abuse of that advantage to manifest in various forms of abuse of power. In the humanitarian and development context, sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment are different forms of sexual misconduct, one perpetrated against those we serve and the other against humanitarian and development workers themselves. , respectively. However, both from the point of view of organizational culture and practical and operational programming, they arise from the same imbalances, have a similar impact on the victim, require similar preventive measures to tackle the root causes, and require services and similar remedies in responding to cases when they arise.

With the rise of the #MeToo movement and increasing attention to allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment in the humanitarian sector, many organizations have started to focus on these elements and take a closer look at their own inner workings and culture of their workplace to examine the root causes of such forms of misconduct. While different organizations embarked on different approaches to do this, clear areas of interest and attention were and remain common.

At its roots, every organizational culture is guided by a certain value system and set of principles that define how individuals use the authority and power they hold. These systems and principles vary from organization to organization, especially as all organizations approach and define workplace culture differently. This makes it difficult to take a single holistic approach to defining organizational culture and tackling the issues associated with it, both in individual organizations and in the industry as a whole. At the same time, the nuances in how each organization defines and guides its culture also provide the opportunity for multiple ways to approach the issues associated with its different elements in a multi-pronged approach.

Work around culture is granular and requires long-term investment, and often requires numerous and sometimes small and targeted interventions to ensure that it is approached with an appreciation of its multidimensional nature. This is all the more complex when we look at culture because it concerns difficult and sensitive areas such as sexual misconduct. The connections are intrinsic, requiring a methodical and thoughtful approach to ensure that all root causes are addressed even when the direct connection to sexual misconduct is not immediately clear. This includes considerations of power differences based on gender, age, race, sexual orientation, contract status, rank and level, unconscious bias, and ethnic or religious background, among others. How these differences may manifest may have direct implications for the type of environment created and whether sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment can take place, individuals feel safe and an appropriate response to the needs of the people. victims can be guaranteed.

Ultimately, combating such abuses begins by exploring their very foundations in the attitudes, behaviors, values ​​and culture that give rise to them. It is in this spirit that this collection was compiled at the initiative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, as part of its IASC Championship on Protection against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and sexual harassment. The collection of initiatives aims to highlight the work undertaken by humanitarian organizations on organizational culture with the objective of specifically addressing the underlying elements at the center of sexual misconduct.

While most organizations have many initiatives in place to fuel their broader work on workplace culture, this collection is intended to provide a few examples and inspiration for this growing field of work. It is intended to offer selection so that organizations can continue to learn and develop the work done by others in an effective and meaningful way. It is by no means exhaustive. No single initiative provides a holistic solution, but the combination of initiatives highlighted here provide examples of the different approaches implemented with a common goal: to ensure that the workplace and organizational culture foster an inclusive, empowering and supportive environment. safe from sexual misconduct, both for those served and for those carrying out humanitarian work.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges in most areas of work, including sexual misconduct prevention and response and organizational culture, it has also provided opportunities to explore new ways. to work, mobilize action and innovate in this area. of work. Many of the initiatives included here have been adapted to the new reality of work and the consequences it has had on various elements of organizational culture.

This selection of initiatives has been collected on the basis of voluntary contributions from the organizations included here following various calls for participation through a number of IASC structures, including Results Group 2, and individual outreach. It includes specific initiatives on one or more target areas as part of the larger efforts around organizational culture. However, it does not include some of the invaluable work with a more general approach in areas such as capacity building, leadership support, staff welfare and welfare, and administrative change. Many efforts are in place to support the overhaul of the workplace for a more staff friendly environment on a larger scale by organizations and networks such as CHS Alliance and UNGLOBE, among others.

Contact details for the entity responsible for each of the included initiatives are provided. We encourage you to use these examples in your work on Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and Sexual Harassment and Organizational Culture, and to contact the respective contact if you have further questions regarding a specific initiative.


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