Child Protection Policy

1. Scope

This policy applies to all Management Sciences for Health (“MSH”) directors, officers, employees, contractors, consultants or representatives acting on behalf of MSH (collectively “MSH Representatives”).

2. Importance of this Policy

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that Management Sciences for Health has the proper processes in place to:

  • Protect children who receive MSH’s services. This includes the children of people who are the recipients of MSH’s services.
  • Provide MSH Representatives  with guidance to ensure effective compliance with our policies and processes

3. Policy Statements

MSH believes that it is never acceptable for a child to experience abuse of any kind and recognizes its responsibility to protect them from abuse and to safeguard their welfare.

Core Principles

MSH agrees to abide by the following core principles:

  • Ensure compliance with host country and local child welfare and protection legislation or international standards, whichever gives greater protection, and with U.S. law where applicable;
  • Prohibit all MSH Representatives from engaging in child abuse, trafficking, exploitation, or neglect (as defined below);
  • Where applicable, include child safeguarding in project planning and implementation to determine and mitigate potential risks;
  • Apply measures to reduce the risk of child abuse, trafficking, exploitation, or neglect, including, but not limited to, limiting unsupervised interactions with children; prohibiting exposure to pornography; and complying with applicable laws, regulations, or customs regarding the photographing, filming, or other image-generating activities of children;
  • Promote child-safe screening procedures for personnel, particularly personnel whose work brings them in direct contact with children and, in accordance with applicable law, not hire anyone that it learns has a prior conviction for child abuse, pedophilia or related offense. Train personnel and others to recognize child abuse, trafficking, exploitation, and neglect;
  • Mandate that MSH Representatives  report allegations; investigate and manage allegations;
  • Take appropriate action in response to such allegations, including, but not limited to termination;
  • Require written assurance from partner organizations and sub awardees that they have appropriate child protection policies in place, and seek the adoption of child protection policies, whenever the lack of such policies can place children at risk. MSH reserves the right to audit partner organizations and sub awardees to confirm that they have appropriate child protection policies in place.
  • To the greatest extent possible, acquire informed consent or the permission of the child’s guardian, and/or the institution responsible for the child, before using any individual image for publicity, fundraising, awareness raising, or any other purpose. The purpose should be made clear to the consent giver. The child’s name should not be used in the materials.
  • Use pictures and language that are decent and respectful in all communications about children and avoid language that implies a relationship of power over children.
  • Avoid using personal or physical information about a child that could be used to identify the location of that child on MSH web sites or in any other form of communication.

Recruiting and Screening

Basic screening of applicants for employment at MSH includes a written application, personal interviews and reference checks. During the interview process, applicants may be asked about previous work with children. Where permissible by local law, applicants may be requested to give written permission for a criminal record or police background check for any criminal conviction and in particular any conviction related to abuse of children. If such checks are instituted, candidates shall be informed at the time of interview that hiring will be contingent on such a record check. In accordance with applicable law, MSH will not hire anyone that it learns has a prior conviction for child abuse, pedophilia or related offense.

Behavior Protocols

MSH Representatives are required to acknowledge receipt and understanding and their agreement to comply with the following behavioral protocols designed to protect children from abuse, and to protect staff from false accusations of inappropriate behavior or abuse.

  • Avoid being alone or staying overnight with any child other than family members and legal guardian where others cannot witness your behavior.
  • Never knowingly hire minors as ‘house help’ in their homes.
  • Never fondle, hold, kiss, hug or touch minors in an inappropriate or culturally insensitive way.
  • Ask for, and receive, explicit consent from any child before touching them or holding hands.
  • Where possible and practical, use the ‘two-adult’ rule, wherein two or more adults supervise all activities where minors or children are involved and are present at all times.
  • Seek permission from children before taking photographs, except under exceptional circumstances, based on the children’s best interests.

Incident Reporting & Investigation

Alleged cases of child abuse perpetrated by an MSH Representatives  should be reported by contacting the MSH General Counsel, Project Director, COMU Director, Country Representative, HR Representative; or Vice President; by calling the anonymous hotline at +1-888-418-0936 or by filing a report online at www.msh.ethicspoint.com They will decide on the appropriate steps, which may include referring the matter to the local authorities and supporting criminal prosecution.

An alleged perpetrator of child abuse will be suspended from their position during the investigation of the allegations, until and unless it can be determined that there is no risk to children. The person accused will be informed that allegations have been made against him or her and given an opportunity to respond. At the conclusion of the investigation, managed and conducted by MSH General Counsel, the suspected person will be informed in writing of the results of the investigation and what corrective action, if any, will be taken.

Any person who is proven to have committed child abuse will immediately be dismissed from their employment with MSH, or have their contract/agreement with MSH terminated, and not be eligible for rehire or receipt of any future contract/agreement

If an allegation is proven to be untrue, appropriate steps will be taken for follow-up with the person who has been accused, the child, and the person who did the reporting. If an employee raises a legitimate concern about suspected child abuse, which proves to be unfounded at the conclusion of an investigation, no action will be taken against the employee, consistent with MSH policies with respect to non-retaliation. However, any employee who makes false and malicious accusations will face disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

 Information about child protection incidents will be shared on a ‘need to know’ basis as deemed necessary by the Country Representative; General Counsel; HR Representative; or Vice President, or as required by law. Anyone given information regarding the names, identities, allegations, and/or information regarding the investigation, as outlined above is required to maintain confidentiality at all times.

4. Definitions

Child = A person who has not reached 18 years of age.

Child abuse, trafficking, exploitation, or neglect =  Any form of physical abuse; emotional ill-treatment; sexual abuse; neglect or insufficient supervision; trafficking; or commercial, transactional, labor, or other exploitation resulting in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, well-being, survival, development, or dignity. This includes, but is not limited to: any act or failure to act which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm to a child, or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm to a child.

Physical abuse = Acts or failures to act resulting in injury (not necessarily visible), unnecessary or unjustified pain or suffering without causing injury, harm or risk of harm to another person’s health or welfare, or death  - regardless of whether they were intended to cause harm.

Sexual Abuse = Fondling another person’s genitals without their consent, penetration of another person’s body without their consent, incest, indecent exposure, forcing another person to watch a sex act without their consent, and exploitation through prostitution or the production of pornographic materials.

Emotional abuse or ill treatment = Injury to the psychological capacity or emotional stability of another person caused by acts, threats of acts, or coercive tactics. Emotional abuse may include, but is not limited to: humiliation, control, isolation, withholding of information, or any other deliberate activity that makes the other person feel diminished or embarrassed.

Exploitation = Abuse of another person where some form of remuneration is involved or whereby the perpetrators benefit in some manner. Exploitation represents a form of coercion and violence that is detrimental to the person’s physical or mental health, development, education, or well-being.

Neglect = Failure to provide for a child's basic needs within donors’ funded activities that are responsible for the care of a child in the absence of the child's parent or guardian.