This is not another article about sexual harassment. But about its wider consequences for the aid sector. It is about the fact that a person cannot exploit and harass certain individuals, while at the same time exercise integrity and leadership.
Because as Gandhi said:
One man cannot do right in one department of life whilst he is occupied in doing wrong in another department. Life is one indivisible whole
I would not trust a person widely known to harass women, or men, if he speaks about the importance of “establishing trust with local communities.”
Harassment is just part of a rather dirty package. It affects the performance of the whole organisation; and what has now become obvious, as part of the latest harassment revelations: the whole aid industry.
These jerks corrode trust within the agency. When people are afraid of going to work, you cannot expect any good results. Co-workers and managers are supposed to support and take care of you. No wonder aid is struggling to perform.
The Aid Worker
The reason why this toxicity has been going on for so long is that so many are eager (= desperate) to get a contract. As a result, they put up with things they normally would not.
But playing the victim as stated in an article in the Guardian: “after constant pressure, some staff have sex with men like this” will not do any good for the aid sector, for female aid workers or for those who need your assistance.
And there is always the danger that the bullied becomes the bully. In a few years you may end up telling a younger staff “I was able to put up with it” (“and so should you”).
You need to ask yourself: “what kind of a person do I want to be?”
What is even more severe, but does not reach media head-lines, is the inability to build trust among the populations the aid industry are supposed to support.
Because you cannot harass people, internally or externally, and promote gender equality. Or talk about conserving dignity. Or empowering people. Or leave no one behind.
Hire For Attitude
It is about time the leaders and recruiters within the aid agencies start to understand the wider effects of their outdated recruitment policies, and look beyond the 20+ years of experience needed for an assignment. A main argument is that character based recruitment is too expensive. I would say you cannot afford not to. Several other industries have understood that.