How many legal aid NGOs have a code of conduct for their staff and volunteers? We believe that having clearly spelled-out expectations of conduct and behaviour will not only promote more efficient work, but will also prevent misconduct from occurring. We would like to encourage NGOs to share/exchange their codes of conduct with those without in order to better their service provision.
We, the staff members of the Refugee Consortium of Kenya (RCK),
Noting that our capacity to ensure the protection and assistance to displaced persons depends on our ability to uphold and promote the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct;
Recognising that we are individually and collectively responsible for maintaining these standards;
Recognising further that our work often puts us in positions of power in relation to our beneficiaries;
Acknowledging our obligation not to abuse this power:
Do NOW hereby give unto ourselves this code of conduct to sign, abide by and ensure by all means possible that it is upheld both individually and collectively.
As staff members of RCK, we specifically commit ourselves, collectively and individually,
In all dealings with our beneficiaries:
1. To uphold the core values of RCK: these being integrity and fairness; compassion; commitment and professionalism; respect for human rights; gender equality and equity; respect for community knowledge, cultural diversity and values; team spirit; participation; accountability and transparency.
2. To respect the dignity and worth of every individual, promote and practise understanding, respect diversity, show compassion and tolerance, exercise discretion in a reasonable and fair manner, and maintain confidentiality as required.
3. To serve our beneficiaries without any discrimination whatsoever on the basis of race, sex, religion, creed, colour, nationality, ethnicity, marital status, disability, political opinion or any other distinguishing factor. We commit to affirmative action aimed at removing barriers to equality in access to services and enjoyment of rights for our beneficiaries.
4. To respect the cultures, customs and traditions of all our beneficiaries, partners and colleagues, insofar as such values are not repugnant to justice, morality or in conflict with Kenyan Law, international human rights and humanitarian law, general ethics and professional standards. And in this same spirit, to strive as
much possible not to engage in actions that offend the cultural, customary, moral or traditional sensibilities of any group of beneficiaries, partners and/or colleagues.
5. To refrain, in particular, from soliciting, accepting or taking any money, service, or goods from a refugee, asylum seeker, internally displaced person or other persons of concern, wrongfully and for personal gain, in return for any favour, assistance or service rendered or to be rendered in one’s capacity as an agent or employee of RCK, in contravention of the principles, purposes, values and standards of RCK.
6. To desist from engaging in any sexually exploitative relationship with any beneficiary, person of concern, and/or colleague in return for favours, services or assistance given or to be given in the capacity of an agent or employee of RCK.
7. To prevent, oppose and resist all forms of exploitation and abuse of refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced persons, returnees and any other beneficiaries and persons of concern to RCK.
8. To refrain from any sexual and/or non-platonic relationships of any kind with any beneficiary of RCK, while in the employ of RCK in any capacity whatsoever.
9. To make appropriate disclosure before getting into any relationship with a beneficiary of or person of concern to RCK that is non-exploitative and consensual but is likely to create a conflict of interests. Such disclosure shall be for guidance in the arising conflict of interests and shall be treated with due discretion and respect.
10. To report to the Executive Director any known or suspected actions that are exploitative or abusive of refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced persons, returnees and any other persons of concern to RCK by an agent, officer, contractor, or employee of RCK, alone or together with others, or by agents of external partners of RCK working with refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced persons, returnees or other persons of concern.
In all dealings with colleagues:
11. To contribute actively to a harmonious work environment, including communicating openly and respectfully with other colleagues, participating in and promoting teamwork, promoting mutual respect and understanding among colleagues, while respecting all requirements for confidentiality.
12. To pursue and promote constructive dialogue underscored by mutual respect, encourage and engage in peaceful conflict resolution where conflict arises, as individuals, among staff members, and between staff members and Management.
13. To safeguard and make responsible use, individually and collectively, of the information and resources to which we have access by reason of employment at RCK.
14. To conduct our official duties and private affairs in a manner that does not bring disrepute to, undermine public confidence in, or conflict with the interests of RCK.
AWARE THAT this Code of Conduct applies to all persons in RCK’s employ in all capacities, including but not limited to short term service contractors, resource persons, programme associates and interns;
AND AWARE THAT breach of this Code of Conduct may attract legal action which RCK reserves the right to institute against the offender, without prejudice to any and all criminal sanctions that the State may institute against the offender;
WHEREUPON by signing this Code of Conduct, I affirm as an individual that I have read and understood the contents of this Code of Conduct, accepted my role as an individual and as part of a team in upholding the principles spelled out in this Code, and DO HEREBY undertake to uphold, respect and abide by the principles in this Code.