OSACO was grateful to receive wonderful feedback about the SEA Misconduct Investigations Workshop it provided in Lahore, Pakistan at the end of last month (May 2022). In his closing remarks about the workshop, the Chief of Field for UNICEF’s Punjab office Will Broad Ngembe said that:
Facilitators provided “thought-provoking sessions which have helped to demystify and simplify the entire process for investigating SEA misconduct” and that workshop participants were “equipped with skills and tools for undertaking an effective and credible investigations of SEA misconduct”.
He also added:
“We are now opening a new chapter where all UNICEF partners are expected to employ a systematic approach to investigating SEA misconduct:
- From now onwards, I am convinced that UNICEF partners shall no longer assign committees to investigate SEA allegations.
- I am certain that UNICEF partners shall no longer randomly nominate untrained staff to investigate allegations of SEA misconduct.
- Gone are the days when UNICEF partners were so quick to dismiss an allegation as fake or unfounded even before careful collection, corroboration, and analysis of evidence to establish facts which can help them to conclude whether the allegation is substantiated or unsubstantiated.
- We have closed the chapter when SEA misconduct investigators from UNICEF partners thought that their role was to prove or find someone guilty. We are now fully aware that our role demands us to be survivor-centric, objective, transparent, fair, adhere to confidentiality neutrality, and focus more of fact finding.
Importantly, he urged participants to proactively take stock of their PSEA policies, Code of Conduct, and SOPs for investigations and to fully participate in ongoing mentoring from OSACO.
“Support your organisations to update these documents to address any existing gaps” and “make sure you are part of the coaching and mentoring initiative. Make maximum use of OSACO’s expertise in the next six months to further strengthen your expertise.”
OSACO applauds the commitment that UNICEF has made to providing this training to its implementing partners. Rather than simply holding its partners to account, UNICEF is providing those partners with the resources to ensure that they are able to apply best practice principles to investigating SEA misconduct, while also identifying gaps to prevent SEA misconduct in the first place.
We look forward to our continuing work with UNICEF as part of our long-term agreement with the organisation to provide safeguarding training.