Reaffirming our commitment to gender equality


WEEMA Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Reaffirming our commitment to gender equality

WEEMA is beginning work on a new effort over the next year to ensure that we ‘walk the talk’ in protecting women’s rights.

This summer, we received funding from InterAction’s project, From Pledge to Action, to develop a detailed policy and staff training to prevent and respond to a core gender equality issue - sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment. While such behavior is clearly prohibited in our staff handbook, we recognize that stronger safeguards, such as clearly defined reporting and grievance mechanisms, will provide fuller protections for the communities we serve, and all of our employees, including our 50-member Ethiopian team.

In the coming weeks we’ll be hiring a consultant with expertise on these issues to develop policies and procedures, as well as comprehensive training for our staff in Addis Ababa, Tembaro, and Mudula. 

The consultant will work closely with WEEMA’s Gender and Disability Mainstreaming Program Officer Samrawit Solomon, who is leading our internal and external gender equality programs. WEEMA created the gender position this year in concert with the launch of our new gender strategy, which includes safeguarding as a key priority. 

“This training effort is a critical step in fulfilling WEEMA’s deep commitment to gender equality across all aspects of work.  This includes not only our programmatic work such women’s Self-Help Groups, maternal health care, and menstrual hygiene education,  but our organizational policies and practices as well. Strong ‘safeguarding’ systems need to be in place,” said WEEMA founder Liz McGovern.

McGovern says the project is a great opportunity to show how a small nonprofit group, with a limited budget, can operationalize robust PSEA (Protection against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse) practices across an organization. 

“We look forward to sharing what we learn with other small NGOs as they try to tailor PSEA strategies in ways that are locally acceptable,” she said.