The New loveLife Trust, also known as “loveLife”, is a South African non-profit youth organisation that was established in 1999 as a joint initiative of leading South African non-governmental organisations, private foundations and the South African government. Those of us who work or collaborate with the institution support the idea of making human rights in general and the rights of youth in particular, as well as of respecting those rights in all our positions, decisions and actions.
The New loveLife Trust’s work is based on deep-rooted values and principles. It is essential that our commitment to youth’s rights and humanitarian principles be supported and demonstrated by all staff members, as well as by all the people who collaborate with their work. If any of us does not act in a way that is consistent with our values and principles, this represents a flaw for the organization.
Our ability to achieve our purposes, often in complex and insecure environments, is linked to our reputation. This reputation is based largely on the high standards of conduct of all people who work for the organization. By working for The New loveLife Trust you are accepting the special responsibility to protect human rights in general and the rights of youth in particular.
The basic values of The New loveLife Trust observe the laws, customs and traditions of The Republic of South Africa. In cases where such laws, customs or traditions are contrary to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, our conduct will be directed towards making these two instruments prevail, which are based on the conviction of that all youth and adults have equal value, youth have special rights and everyone has a responsibility.
If you work with The New loveLife Trust, you have a special responsibility to set a good example and to create environments that support staff to maintain these standards, as well as to help correct those behaviours that are outside of this Code.
With this common perspective of rights, we strive to maintain exemplary behaviour and to perform effective and reliable work for the rights of youth. We consider it extremely important to ensure that all resources are used appropriately and effectively and that they are used for the purposes that were designated.
In order to make this Code of Conduct applicable within The New loveLife Trust, we must not only apply it individually, but be willing to communicate to the corresponding internal instances any incident, concern or abuse that we witness or that we are informed of in our daily activities.
The Protection Policy of The New loveLife Trust requires the application of measures to guarantee the integral security of the teenagers and adolescents with whom we work in South Africa.
This policy contemplates the following principles:
- All actions must be governed by a rights-based approach that encompasses the best interests of girls and boys, non-discrimination, participation and survival and development.
- All youth must have access to a dignified, full and democratic life.
- All youth have the same right to be protected from any violation of their rights.
- We will promote the evolution of the potential, the competences and the faculties of youth, motivating them to develop their self-protection.
- All adults are guarantors of the rights of youth and we have the responsibility to support their care and protection.
- As an institution that works with partner organizations, volunteers and society in general, The New loveLife Trust is obliged to guarantee that, in the areas of joint work, all these instances comply with the security measures that are defined, as well as the established Code of Conduct, qualifying the behaviour that is expected of them and them in their interaction with both girls and boys, as in the rest of the people with whom they live in the project.
On this basis, intervention actions should be defined considering the identification and mitigation of any possible risk of abuse, neglect, trafficking, labour or sexual exploitation for girls and boys and should incorporate monitoring and evaluation mechanisms that guarantee their safety.
- I will respect others:
- I will respect the basic rights of all human beings, regardless of their gender, their age, their ethnic origin, their religion, their caste, their language, their sexual orientation, if they have any disability, if they have HIV-AIDS, or any another aspect of his identity. I will act fairly and honestly and tactfully to treat people with dignity and respect.
- I will not participate in situations of discrimination, harassment, intimidation, trafficking or labour exploitation, sexual or otherwise, or in situations of intimidation or exploitation. Neither in ways that infringe the rights of others.
- I will actively work to protect youth:
- I will carry out my responsibilities with the youth who participate in the activities of The New loveLife Trust, promoting safe environments and avoiding any form of negligence, abuse, trafficking or sexual, labour or any other kind of exploitation.
- I will not act in any way that violates the Youth’s Security Policies and Procedures or puts them at risk of harm.
- I will not withhold information about criminal convictions, charges or civil proceedings related to child abuse, either prior to my entry into The New loveLife Trust or arising during the time I am working with the institution.
- I will maintain high standards of personal and professional conduct.
- By actively pushing high standards in my work, I take responsibility for my actions and at no time abuse my position as a representative of The New loveLife Trust. I will not behave in a way that weakens my ability to do my job or discredit The New loveLife Trust.
Under no circumstances:
- will I have sex with someone under the age of 18, or abuse or exploit a child in any way.
- will I exchange money, employment, goods or services for sexual favours.
- will I not personally or professionally hire anyone under 18 years of age, nor will I incorporate them into jobs that involve risks that interfere with their studies or that affect their health and development.
- will I drink alcohol or use other substances in a way that affects my ability to do my job, or the reputation of the organization.
- will I be in possession of or I will obtain profits from the sale of illegal goods or substances.
- will I request personal payments to participants in the projects for the goods, services or actions that the organization develops.
- will I accept bribes or gifts from governments, project participants, donors, suppliers and other actors that are related to my employment, as small samples of affection.
- will you enter into no commercial relationship on behalf of The New loveLife Trust with family, friends or other personal or professional contacts for the supply of any good or service to The New loveLife Trust, without authorization from the Administration and Finance Department.
- will I use the organization’s computer or other equipment to view, download, create or distribute inappropriate material, such as pornography.
- I will do my best to protect the safety and well-being of myself and others.
- By being aware of and complying with the policies and practices of health, safety and protection of youth and noting to the corresponding instances, any concerns you may have in relation to situations of risk.
- Not behaving in a way that creates unnecessary risks for myself or for others.
- I will protect resources and assets of The New loveLife Trust.
- By managing the financial and material resources that we have carefully, making sure they are used in a rational manner and protecting them from theft, fraud and other damages;
- Not disclosing to third parties any private and confidential information related to The New loveLife Trust (or for which we are responsible) unless it is legally required.
To comply with the Code of Conduct, it is also important to take into account the Principles of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse. These principles pose the following:
- The sexual exploitation and abuse by workers constitutes an act of misconduct and therefore is a basis for termination of employment.
- Sexual activity with youth (persons under 18 years of age) is prohibited, regardless of the age of majority or age of consent established by local laws. It is not a valid Defense to indicate that there was an error in considering the age of a boy or girl.
- The exchange of money, employment, goods or services by sex, including sexual favours or other forms of humiliation, degradation or exploitation behaviour is prohibited. This includes the assistance received by the beneficiaries.
- Sexual relations between humanitarian workers and beneficiaries are not recommended as they are based on an inherent dynamic of unequal power. These relationships undermine the credibility and integrity of humanitarian aid work.
- Where there is doubt or suspicion of sexual abuse or exploitation by a co-worker with respect to a humanitarian worker, whether from the same agency or not, such doubt must be reported through the appropriate mechanisms established by the agency.
- Humanitarian workers are obligated to create and maintain an environment that prevents sexual exploitation and abuse, and that promotes the implementation of their code of conduct. Managers at all levels have the individual responsibility to support and develop systems that preserve this environment.
Likewise, it is fundamental to observe all the principles. At the signing of their contract, each of the staff members must sign this Code, keeping the handwritten copy in their individual file.
Any situation that does not respect the contents of this Code must be reported to the immediate supervisor and the Human Resources Coordination who will determine the actions to be carried out in each case.
Internal Policy for the Protection and Safety of Youth
Youth who come in contact with The New loveLife Trust and its international Programs are protected as much as possible from negligence, abuse, trafficking and exploitation at work, sex or otherwise.
Everyone associated with The New loveLife Trust must be fully aware of the problem and risks of negligence, abuse, trafficking and labour, sexual or other exploitation.
All The New loveLife Trust representatives must demonstrate the highest standards of behaviour towards youth in both their private and professional lives. They should not abuse the trust that comes with being a part of The New loveLife Trust. They must do everything possible to avoid and respond adequately to these types of problems.
- The staff and other representatives of The New loveLife Trust should never:
- Physically or psychologically beat or mistreat any boy or girl;
- Participate in a sexual activity or have sex with a person under 18, regardless of the legal age established locally. Not knowing the age of the child is not an excuse;
- Establish relationships with youth that could in some way be considered as abuse, abuse or exploitation;
- Abuse or act in an abusive manner, or in a manner that may put the child at risk of abuse or abuse;
- Involve girls or boys in work activities outside the permitted age or that entails risks;
- Make suggestions, offer advice or use language that may be described as inappropriate, offensive or abusive;
- Having inappropriate or sexually provocative physical behaviour.
- Take a child with whom you work to sleep at home and without supervision;
- Sleep in the same room or bed as a child with whom you work;
- Do personal things for boys or girls when they can do them for themselves, for which it is important to consider their level of development and their abilities;
- Tolerate or participate in illegal or dangerous behaviour with youth;
- Act for the purpose of shaming, humiliating, belittling or degrading youth, or committing any type of emotional punishment or mistreatment;
- Discriminate or show preferential treatment towards a child excluding others.
This is not an exhaustive or exclusive list. The principle is that the personnel and representatives of The New loveLife Trust must avoid actions or behaviours that could be harmful or suppose or could be considered as mistreatment, abuse, trafficking or exploitation.
- It is important for all staff and other people who are in contact with girls and boys that:
- Be aware of situations that may present risks for youth and how to manage them;
- Plan and organize both the work and the place where you work to minimize the risks for youth;
- As far as possible, be in visible places when working with youth.
- Make sure that there is a culture of openness that allows any concern or concern to be discussed;
- Ensure that there is a sense of responsibility and accountability among staff, so that abusive or potentially abusive practices are confronted;
- Talk with the youth about their contact with the staff and encourage them to express any concerns;
- Encourage youth to talk about their rights, what is acceptable and unacceptable, and what they can do if there is a problem;
- Maintain high standards of professional and personal behaviour.
- Respect the rights of youth and maintain a deal with youth that is clear and honest, always acting with dignity and respect;
- In general, it is considered inappropriate:
- To spend a lot of time alone with a boy or girl away from others;
- Take youth home, especially if you are going to be alone with them;
- Placing yourself in a position where you can easily be accused of inappropriate behaviour.