Greg Gottlieb offers for donors to address oversight challenges on Devex

March 2018

In an opinion piece published on Devex on March 8, 2018, Greg Gottlieb describes a plan for a multi-donor system to tackle the issues that allow abuse of local people and aid workers and threaten the humanitarian system.

Greg writes:

Dorothea Hilhorst, a professor of Humanitarian Aid and Reconstruction at Erasmus University, has argued for an independent ombudsperson system to police aid agencies in light of the revelations of sexual exploitation and abuse by several international organizations. I agree that change is needed, but I believe we need a much stronger way to address the problem and one that brings in a key element of the sector: donors.

In principle, the proposed ombudsperson system — where complaints can be lodged and then investigated — is an excellent idea. However, I see two major weaknesses. First, the ombudspersons would not be connected directly to program funding decisions. Second, ombudspersons ultimately would not have the ability to enforce findings and recommendations. They would be limited to publicly naming and shaming offenders. This will not be enough to stop the sexual abuse perpetrated against aid recipients and staff of aid organizations. It is an insidious problem that needs to addressed by a strong donor-funded solution… see full story here.

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