Habitat for Humanity's commitment to safeguarding
Habitat for Humanity International has no tolerance for sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment. Nothing is more important than the welfare of the people in the communities where we work, our volunteers and our staff. Details can be found in our safeguarding policy.
Promoting a “speak-up” culture
Employees and members of the communities where we work are encouraged to report incidents of exploitation, abuse or harassment, including through our confidential reporting system, the Habitat Ethics and Accountability Line. Any staff member who files a report or is a witness providing information related to such a report is protected against retaliation.
We have worked hard to improve our safeguarding incident reporting systems. Even so, we know we must remain vigilant and continue to strengthen our training programs and screening of employees and volunteers. That commitment to continuous improvement led us to update our safeguarding policy in 2018 and strengthen it again in 2020 to reflect feedback on implementation from staff and partners.
We have expanded our team of safeguarding specialists globally and ramped up training for both our employees and our partners. When the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to do more work remotely, for example, we established trainings for safeguarding related to engagement of volunteers virtually. We also have collaborated with peer organizations to create the Safeguarding Community Visualization Toolkit, an adaptable set of resources designed to communicate key safeguarding messages to the communities in which we or our partners work, helping to break down barriers of language, literacy and accessibility.
Our commitment to preventing sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment is unwavering. For us, safeguarding is not an end state but rather an ongoing process — one of humility as we continue to improve, one of courage as we raise our voices to protect ourselves and others, and one of accountability as we maintain the trust of the communities where we work. The people our mission calls us to serve, our volunteers, our staff and our partners all must feel safe in order for us to truly join together to build a world where everyone has a decent place to call home.