Educate! Ethics Guide
E! Ethics Guide
A guide that establishes a shared understanding of the standards of responsible social behavior expected of all leaders and employees of Educate!. It is a broad framework that helps E! team members make values-aligned decisions and decide appropriate courses of action when faced with an ethical issue. As a large and complex organization, we achieve good outcomes when at every level each one of us exercises sound judgement in fulfilling our particular roles.
Overall Objective: Guide Educate! community on good ethics in our behavior and actions.
- Communicate our clear intention to do business responsibly, creating a positive peer pressure to maintain a high level of sound, values-aligned judgement
- Address important matters that affect reputation and integrity of E!. The guide helps to avoid innocent violations by sensitizing everyone about things that may not be immediately obvious
- Demonstrates to E!s partners and donors that we value integrity and conduct business accordingly
- Serve as a reference point for corrective action
- The Ethics Guide is reviewed by the Board of Directors
- The Ethics guide is owned by ROFD
- The guide is reviewed as need arises and every three years
- The Ethics guide is communicated to staff and other relevant partners of E! at the point of commencing a formal relationship, and is integrated in new staff orientation
- The Ethics guide is communicated to existing staff and other relevant partners of E! retrospectively after approval by the Board
- Relevant parts of the Ethics Guide are pinned up on office notice boards
- An annual check into the efficacy of the guide will be made at leadership retreats
Why: With equal opportunities availed to women and men, we can, together and individually be active agents of change in our communities and families. Educate! gives equitable access to opportunities to men and women because this ensures we have the strongest possible talent pool and allows us to achieve more.
What: E! will maintain equity in pay, recruitment and promotion practices, training and mentoring opportunities, and all other terms and benefits of employment. Educate! will support all employees in attaining work-life balance and dedicate itself to continually study, train and report on gender metrics with the aim of promoting gender equity.
2) East African Leadership
Why: Local knowledge is key to the effectiveness of Educate! in countries where we work. It assures that solutions we develop for each country are relevant, applicable and driven by those who understand the context best.
What: Educate! aspires to train and promote local leadership whenever possible in the countries and localities where we work. Educate! will also support inter--country movement of talent.
3) Diversity & Inclusion
Why: E! honors the uniqueness of each individual and recognizes the importance of diversity of thought, experience and backgrounds in attracting and retaining talent, fostering innovation, and maintaining high quality work.
What: E! is committed to a diverse and inclusive culture, which includes but is not limited to our policies and practices on recruitment, compensation and benefits, professional development and training, promotions, and all other terms, benefits, and conditions of employment. We expect employees to listen to and incorporate worthy ideas from each individual (regardless of hierarchy) for the benefit of the organization, to treat each other with respect and cooperation, and to respect each other’s differences.
Dimensions of diversity may include but are not limited to geographic, cultural, racial, ethnic, religious, economic, political, gender, sexual, age, disability, and family varieties. Dimensions of diversity will vary across different countries.
4) Whistleblowing and Whistleblower Protection
Why: Whistleblowing improves accountability and individual responsibility within our organization, and also builds external confidence in our work.
What: If any employee reasonably believes that some policy, practice, or activity of Educate! or of a person at Educate! is fraudulent, or in violation of law, culture or organizational practices, a written complaint may be made by that employee by emailing in the order below:
i) To the Country Director
ii) To the Managing Director, cc: Executive Director
Or when alleged wrongdoing concerns the above, then:
iii) the ethics committee (comprised of Board Chair, ED, MD and ROFD) at firstname.lastname@example.org. If the alleged wrongdoing concerns a person on the ethics committee, then the Chair of the Board only should be notified at email@example.com
It is the intent of Educate! to adhere to all laws and regulations that apply to the organization, and the underlying purpose of this provision is to support the organization's goal of legal compliance.
Protection from Retaliation
An employee is protected from retaliation if the employee brings the alleged unlawful activity, policy, or practice to the attention of the CD, MD or ethics committee and provides the organization with a reasonable opportunity to investigate and correct the alleged unlawful activity. The protection below is only available to employees that comply with this requirement.
- Educate! will not retaliate against an employee who, in good faith, has made a protest or raised a complaint against some practice of the organization or of another individual or entity with whom Educate! had a business relationship, on the basis of a reasonable belief that the practice is in violation of law, organization culture and ethics, or organizational practices.
- Educate! will not retaliate against an employee who discloses or threatens to disclose to a supervisor or a public body any activity, policy, or practice of the organization that the employee reasonably believes is in violation of a law, or a rule, or regulation mandated by law or is in violation of Educate!’s mandate.
At all times, the privacy and reputation of individuals involved will be respected. If the person providing the information requests anonymity, this request will be respected to the extent that doing so does not impede any investigation. E! will notify the individual before revealing their identity if it is necessary for investigations, but if the individual insists on anonymity, their right to anonymity will be respected. Other avenues of investigation, which do not involve disclosure of the individual, will be pursued.
The ethics committee shall make a determination whether to investigate further by reviewing the complaint against existing laws, tenets or policies. If a determination is made that there is a strong case for investigation, the committee shall appoint 1, 3 or 5 suitable leaders or employees to investigate and determine timelines. At the same time, the whistleblower (if known) shall be kept apprised of due process. An Ethics Committee Investigation Report shall be produced after each investigation and shared with the concerned members of the leadership team at departmental, country and global levels. Outcomes of the investigation shall be used to determine corrective actions to be taken.
The ROFD will ensure that whistleblower protection notification is posted on office notice boards.
5) Conflict of Interest Policy
Why: Prevent the personal interest of staff members, board members, or volunteers from interfering with the performance of their duties to Educate!, or result in personal financial, professional, or political gain on the part of such persons at the expense of Educate!, its funders, or its youth.
What: A “conflict of interest” means a conflict, or the appearance of a conflict, between the private interests and official responsibilities of a person in a position of trust. The private interests of a person in a position of trust encompasses that person’s immediate family.
All persons in positions of trust shall disclose, in writing to an appropriate leader, all real or apparent conflict of interest that they discover or that have been brought to their attention in connection with Educate!’s activities.
An annual disclosure online document shall be circulated to persons in positions of trust to assist them in considering such disclosures, but disclosure is appropriate and required of all whenever conflicts of interest may occur. The written notices of disclosures shall be filed with/reported to the Executive Director or such other person designated by the Executive Director to receive such notifications. At country leadership or board meetings, all significant disclosures of real or apparent conflict of interest shall be noted for the record.
Samples of items to be disclosed annually or at the time it arises include but are not limited to the following:
A. A board member or employee is related to another board member or employee by blood, marriage or domestic partnership.
B. An employee in a supervisory capacity is related to another staff member whom she/he supervises.
C. An employee, or board member, or their organization, family members, or related business interests stand to benefit from a transaction that Educate! engages in.
D. An employee receives payment from for any contract, goods, or services other than as part of her/his regular job responsibilities or as reimbursement for reasonable expenses towards fulfillment of their duty
Abstentions in Conflict of Interest Situations:
A person in a position of trust who believes that he or she or a member of his or her immediate family might have a real or apparent conflict of interest, in addition to disclosure, must abstain from:
(A) participating in discussions or deliberations with respect to the subject of the conflict (other than to present factual information or to answer questions),
(B) using his or her personal influence to affect deliberations,
(C) executing agreements
In addition, a person with a real or apparent conflict of interest may be excused, either by a director or by themselves, from all or any portion of discussion or deliberations with respect to the subject of the conflict.
A copy of this policy shall be given to all Board members and employees upon commencement of such person's relationship with Educate! or at the official adoption of this policy. The ROFD shall ensure that all directors and employees and significant independent contractors of the organization are made aware of the organization’s policy with respect to conflicts of interest. Upon receipt, individuals shall sign and date the policy at the beginning of her/his term of service or employment. Failure to sign does not nullify the policy.
6) Respectful Relations
Why: Respectful, collegiate relations ensure that teams work in a safe environment that promotes productivity.
What: Educate! staff will maintain a climate of respect in all their affairs whereby individuals are free from any kind of verbal, psychological, sexual, professional or other harassment and discrimination. E! does not condone any behavior that is likely to undermine the dignity, self esteem or productivity of its people.
7) Child and Youth Protection
Why: We prioritize youth empowerment and integrate our “Youth First” cultural tenet into all aspects of our organization. As part of our “Youth First” culture, we are committed to creating a safe environment for the youth that we serve. Educate! is additionally committed to upholding the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child and supporting and respecting children’s rights to be protected from violence and abuse.
What: Employees and other representatives of E! have a duty to treat the children, youth and communities we serve with dignity and respect and to ensure their safety and protection. Further details are included in Educate!’s Child Protection Policy, which shall be incorporated into the HR Manuals and training in each country.