In 2018, revelations of sexual abuse by NGO personnel shocked the international cooperation community and caused deep concern. International cooperation organizations were immediately mobilized and encouraged to put mechanisms in place to prevent and report such crimes.
Terre Sans Frontières (TSF) got to work right away, and this year, we adopted a policy on how to prevent and respond to psychological and sexual harassment, exploitation and sexual abuse, along with a procedure for handling complaints and reports.
With this policy, TSF favours a victim/survivor-centred approach, which means the response focuses on the specific needs of those who have suffered harassment, exploitation or sexual abuse.
TSF also adopted a code of conduct for preventing and responding to harassment, exploitation and sexual abuse, which everyone at TSF must follow.
This policy has been applied in the field with a number of specific interventions to prevent abuse and assist victims/survivors.
In Haiti, for example, the training and coaching centre for youths and women farmers in Vialet offers capoeira workshops to approximately 60 teenage girls. This fun and acrobatic African-Brazilian martial art is said to have originated with black slaves.
The primary objective of these workshops is to give young girls a way to defend themselves, and prevent sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
In the Republic of the Congo, TSF’s health interventions in cooperation with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) include raising awareness of SGBV and providing psychological assistance to female refugees who have suffered such abuse.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a project is being launched that will give roughly 40 women victims/survivors the opportunity to develop job skills, and contribute to their social and economic empowerment.