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NGOs urged to enhance employee background checks

Cigna Global Director Angela Rooney

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 8 – Non-Government Organizations operating in Kenya have been urged to employ rigorous checks in the recruitment of new staff in order to tackle sexual abuse and incidences in the workplace. 

A finding by Cigna Foundation shows sexual abuse is on the rise among individuals in the sector with many cases going unreported.

A 2017 research conducted by Report the Abuse revealed that about 87 percent of NGO workers knew a colleague who had experienced sexual violence or harassment in the course of their humanitarian work.

It adds that amongst aid workers who reported the abuse to their employers, just 17 percent were happy about it was handled.

Cigna Global NGO Director, Angela Rooney has at the same time urged NGOs to do more to address rising cases of violence and critical incidents at the workplace.

“The very public discussion in recent months about the abusive behavior of a small minority of individuals in the sector has been painful. But now we must learn from these disclosures, working together to re-establish public trust in NGOs and, above all, to ensure the highest level of protection for NGO staff members and the communities they serve here in Kenya and around the world,” Rooney said.

Rooney was speaking following a workshop dubbed ‘Duty of Care’, which is part of Cigna’s global initiative aimed at addressing the matter which has affected individuals including care givers working at high risk areas in the NGO world and saw more than 35NGOs drawn from various parts in Kenya represented.

The findings come against the backdrop of the popular #MeToo international movement, aimed at fighting sexual abuse internationally.

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