At Akvo we are committed to helping our partners publish their data in the most useful ways they can, within established best practice associated with open source licensing and the open source movement.

We share all of these policies under a Creative Commons license so others can learn from and improve on them. See the licensing and copyright section for more details on this.

External policies

What is GDPR?

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation. It is a new European law aimed at further securing the protection of personal data. It is a single set of rules directly enforceable as of 25 May 2018 in all EU Member States. The GDPR regulates the processing of personal data of EU individuals, providing them with more privacy rights and placing more significant obligations on companies and organisations regardless of where they are located.

What the Akvo Foundation is doing

At Akvo, we are committed to protecting our partners' data. For the past few months, a dedicated team within Akvo have been working on GDPR compliance. Our goal is to be GDPR compliant by 25 May 2018.

We will present updates on our Akvo blog.

Information on GDPR

For more detailed information on GDPR, follow the link to the EU GDPR page: http://www.eugdpr.org/.

For any further questions please contact us at gdpr[at]akvo.org.

 

Revision history

Last updated: 2 November 2017

Here you will find the Akvo Foundation's Data Processing Agreement (DPA). The purpose of this DPA is to secure adequate safeguards with the respect to the protection of privacy and to ensure that the processing of Personal Data is in accordance with the Data Controller’s and Data Processor’s legal obligations.

You need to be an existing Partner organisation to initiate the DPA signing process:

    1. Download our DPA here or click on the button below.
    2. Review the document.
    3. If you have any questions or need further information regarding the DPA before signing the agreement, please contact us on dpa@akvo.org.
    4. If you agree with the terms of the document, complete the necessary details on page 4.
    5. Continue to complete the 'signed on behalf of' paragraph with your signature, name and position on page 26 of the agreement.
    6. Scan and return the agreement to us by emailing the document to dpa@akvo.org.
    7. We will email you a link from which to download the signed/completed agreement.

Updated: 1 December 2015

We think it’s great you want to use the Akvo APIs. We hope you come up with lots of cool ways to use the data, and we’d love to see what you create. There are just a couple of things we’d like to ask of you, to ensure Akvo’s products themselves remains secure and continues to provide a timely, workable experience for all users. As we respect you, please respect our Code of Conduct and try to follow its rules.

Respect our partners

Akvo’s partner organisations have information in Akvo’s products (including Akvo RSR and Akvo Flow) for the purpose of improving the transparency and effectiveness of development interventions in order to help more people climb out of poverty faster. Please respect this mission and all involved, and help us move the ball down the field toward the ultimate goal of improving people’s lives.

Any activity which disrespects our partners, project donors and individual users will not be tolerated.

Don’t misrepresent the data

To the best of your ability, please reflect data from the API accurately. The data represents a project (or organisation) communicating its story: what it hopes to accomplish, funding it needs, current progress, etc. Don’t, for example, create an application using Akvo photos or descriptions to promote your own cause, however just or seemingly related. The data is there to help a particular project, or promote the work of a particular organisation: please use it to do the same.

Also, please make sure you understand Akvo products data structures, represent fields properly, and accurately draw conclusions or aggregate statistics from the data. We understand that anyone can make mistakes… but it is your responsibility to fix them once found.

The API is not for commercial use

Akvo Foundation is an ANBI-registered non-profit, and we are restricted in how we can allow our resources to be used for commercial purposes. Commercial entities can use the API to charitable ends in line with the Akvo Foundation’s mission, but if you have any doubt that what you are doing is within our terms of service, please contact us. Also, if you have a commercial use which you would like to work on together with us, don’t hesitate to talk to us.

Be your own brand

We think it is great that you want to build applications on top of the Akvo system. But you have to maintain your own brand.

Make sure users understand that your products and services are yours alone, and not owned or operated by Akvo Foundation. You can use the Akvo logo or color scheme for the purpose of visually associating the data you pull from Akvo’s products with Akvo, for example. But please don’t call your application “Akvo Donation App.” Something like “Water Donor” would be nice, and more appropriate.

Respect the API servers…

…and others who may be using them at the same time. The more calls you make to the API, the less resources there are available for other developers (and yes, the more Akvo’s operating expenses go up).

Don’t request data you don’t need; cache data when possible; refresh cached data only when it expires, or you hit a cache miss (e.g., you come across an image URL template previously unknown to you). If your application is slow because you are making a lot of API calls or the API calls take a long time to return, you’re likely doing something which conflicts with how we’ve built the products.

Please take a look at our knowledge base and support forums for information, or to start a discussion with us. We’re happy to help you, as well as discuss API modifications which make what you want to do faster and less demanding.

Data license & Use the Powered by Akvo.org logo

All data available through public APIs provided by the Akvo Foundation is available under an open license. We require you to give us an attribution when you use the data. Please use the Powered by Akvo.org logo with a link to the Akvo web site, as in this example (at the bottom right corner of the page).

You can download the logo here: [link]

Link images © back to Akvo

When writing applications that use Akvo images, please hyperlink those images back to Akvo, either to a full-size image hosted by Akvo or a partner, whichever is most appropriate.

If you have a great idea for linking the image to something else in your application, that’s fine. We’d just like you to provide a link to the associated data on Akvo somewhere in the application flow, in order to communicate copyright use.

Revision history

21 February 2019: changed the Akvo logo.
6 May 2016: Removed reference to Akvo Openaid (discontinued product).
1 December 2015: Added clarification about data license and API.
19 May 2015: Removed mention of Developer Terms of service.
7 December 2012: Corrected grammar in the “Use the Powered by Akvo.org logo” section and added a link.
3 August 2012: Added the section “Use the Powered by Akvo.org logo” section.
21 June 2012: Included Akvo FLOW and Akvo OpenAid in the document and tweaked the content to fit more than one product. Updated links.
April 2010: Creation of document.

Internal policies

Our mission and values

Akvo is a not-for-profit foundation that creates open source, internet and mobile software and sensors. We work with people improving infrastructure and services, for disadvantaged populations. We focus on making international development and country governance more effective, transparent and collaborative. Around the world, we help our partners act to improve the management of water, sanitation, agriculture, health, energy, education and the environment.

 

Vision

Akvo envisions an equitable, sustainable, global society. We believe that this will occur faster if country governance and international development organisations are open, transparent, collaborative and effective.

 

Mission

We enable people to capture, understand and share data for better country governance and development activities. To achieve maximum impact as rapidly as possible, we develop open source technology and professional services, and we work closely with others that share our vision.

 

Purpose

The purpose of this code of conduct is to ensure that the welfare, basic human rights and physical security of all individuals are recognised and safeguarded by all Akvo workforce members in accordance with international standards. This code is meant to guide and protect workforce members who are working for Akvo in different situations. We strive to create awareness of these situations and to anticipate the consequences of our workforce members’ behaviour towards others.

 

Scope

This code of conduct applies to all Akvo workforce members, including but not limited to full- time employees, part-time employees, contractors, trainees, volunteers and temporary workers. All workforce members are made aware of the existence of this code of conduct. All workforce members ensure that colleagues fully understand the code of conduct as well as the rationale behind it and apply it in practice. The code of conduct applies to all workforce members during regular working hours and, when travelling on behalf of Akvo, 24 hours per day. The code of conduct is available on the Akvo websites and partner organisations are made aware of the existence of the Akvo code of Conduct.

 

Basic principles

Akvo is made up of a diverse group of people. The diversity of Akvo is an asset that helps the organisation cooperate with its partners around the globe in the best possible way, both in person and digitally. 
All staff work closely with one another and communicate openly, taking care not to exclude anyone through language or otherwise. The contributions and ideas of all workforce members are considered to be equally valuable.

Akvo offers equal opportunities to all its workforce members to enable them to reach their goals and develop professionally. All workforce members working for Akvo are interested in each other, both personally and professionally. They cooperate with each other in an atmosphere of harmony and trust.

Akvo is an organisation in which no room exists for aggression, sexual harassment, intimidation or discrimination based on age, disability, political views, civil status, pregnancy or maternity, race, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, gender, gender reassignment or sexual orientation. Akvo will do everything in its power to prevent this. Workforce members are expected to talk about Akvo and its partners with respect at all times.

Any form of discrimination or harassment in the workplace or in connection with work is strictly prohibited, including sexual or gender-based harassment and physical or verbal abuse. Harassment is any improper or unwelcome conduct that has caused, or that might reasonably be perceived to cause, offence or humiliation to another. Akvo’s discrimination and sexual harassment policy elaborates in detail on the implications and the complaints procedures.

 

Specific behaviour subject to disciplinary measures

Abuse of Power
  • Working in the development sector is a delicate business. Akvo wishes to be respected by its partners and intends to guarantee this by applying strong criteria.
  • It is prohibited for workforce members to abuse the power that is inherent to their position for their own advantage or for the advantage of their friends or relatives
  • No workforce member of Akvo will offer, seek or accept remuneration, compensation or benefit of any type that could be interpreted as an illegal or corrupt practice from any other party. Any such practices will be valid reason for dismissal
  • Workforce members are not allowed to accept any personal gifts from beneficiaries or partner organisations and their employees, in the form of money, goods or services that exceed the value of 50 Euros.
  • Where contracts for services are realised with the input of workforce members, they should be fair, in writing, in the standard Akvo format and signed by all parties involved.
Conflicts of interest
  • Cases may occur where personal and professional (Akvo) interests are in conflict with each other, especially in the area of service delivery and professional contracts.
  • Workforce members working for Akvo are not allowed to negotiate and to sign contracts and agreements between their relatives and Akvo.
  • Workforce members with their own business or financial interests in certain companies are not allowed to sign contracts between Akvo and these companies under any circumstances.
  • As soon as a workforce member suspects that a possible conflict of interest may occur, this should be discussed with the staff member’s supervisor. Akvo will, while striving for fairness and impartiality, do everything in its power to prevent workforce members from (financial) harm.
  • Workforce members are not allowed to maintain a conflict of interest.
Use of Akvo knowledge
  • Akvo’s workforce members are not allowed to make use of non-public institutional knowledge for their own personal or commercial goals.
Conduct towards other workforce members
  • Akvo encourages all workforce members to deal with each other in an open and professional manner and to respect cultural, religious and political differences. In order to make our cooperation within the organisation fruitful and prevent frustrations, we encourage all workforce members to:
  • Always make sure that colleagues and partners are informed about where you are and how you can be reached. Use your agenda, out-of-office assistant, and leave contact details when applicable. Always make sure that someone is able to back you up regarding pending dossiers when travelling or out of office.
  • Always be punctual, inside or outside the office. Make sure partners and colleagues are informed if you will not be able to attend a meeting or meet a deadline.
  • Help team members and partner organisations or others who are seeking advice as much as your work allows. Be constructive and honest and try to provide them with alternative solutions to get the job done. Be careful about managing expectations, especially towards partners. Do not make promises you may not be able to keep. To the outside world and to your colleagues: yes means yes!
  • Akvo is an organisation that values and nurtures its diversity. We work on the basis of mutual trust. However, be aware that cultural differences can easily lead to misunderstandings. Discuss these issues with colleagues. If you are not entirely certain about certain implications of, especially oral, agreements: be inquisitive.
  • Seek the advice of peers and partners when setting up activities or processes to ensure quality, commitment and the inclusion of all actors who need to be involved.
  • Although it can be expected that close bonds of friendship might develop amongst workforce members, these friendships should never hinder the realisation of the programme objectives.
  • Managers and supervisors are not allowed to enter into a romantic, sexual or similarly intimate relationship with the workforce members they supervise.
  • If the hierarchical relationship cannot be changed in the event of the above, then one of the parties will be required to terminate their employment.
Weapons
  • Akvo forbids its workforce members from carrying, using or possessing weapons, or having weapons present in the vehicles that transport Akvo workforce members.
Alcohol and illegal drugs
  • Workforce members are under no circumstances allowed to execute their work while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, whether legal or illegal, that might diminish their capacity to execute their work as may be expected. This excludes drugs taken for medical purposes.
  • In all places where the possession and/or consumption of alcohol and drugs is forbidden, workforce members are not allowed to use or keep it.
Sexual behaviour
  • Akvo expects its workforce members to observe a high standard of decorum and decency when it comes to sexual relationships.
  • Despite local regulations, Akvo forbids any sexual contact or sexual relationship with persons younger than 18 years of age. An incorrect estimation of age is no acceptable excuse.
  • Sexual relationships with beneficiaries of Akvo programmes, or persons employed by organisations or companies that Akvo maintains a working relationship with, are not permitted.
  • Workforce members working for Akvo are not allowed to obtain sexual services for money or by any other means of exchange.

Fulfilment of this code of conduct

Akvo ensures that its workforce members know about and adhere to this code of conduct. Anyone who does not fulfil this code will be subjected to disciplinary measures (see Anti-corruption and sanctions policy), to be decided by the Managing Director(s). Ultimately, this could lead to the dismissal of the workforce member in question.

In the event of a workforce member working for Akvo observing a colleague breach the rules of this code of conduct, the workforce member concerned should discuss the issue with his/her colleague.

In the event of a workforce member working for Akvo breaching (or being suspected of breaching) the rules and regulations of a country, he/she may be subjected to a criminal or civil prosecution. In this case, the supervisor will call in legal support. The costs accrued for this legal support will initially be borne by Akvo. However, if it is proven that the workforce member has intentionally and knowingly breached the rules and regulations of a country through his/her own personal actions, the workforce member will have to bear the financial consequences. Costs made will be invoiced to the workforce member concerned.

In the event of someone unintentionally breaching the code of conduct, and then mentioning this to his or her supervisor as soon as they recognise this as being a potential breach, this will be taken into account during the process of deciding which measures should be taken.

Policy statement

Akvo is committed to providing a safe environment for all of its workforce members, free from discrimination and harassment on any grounds. Akvo operates a zero-tolerance policy toward any form of discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace, treats all incidents seriously, and promptly investigates all allegations of discrimination and sexual harassment. Any person found to have sexually harassed or discriminated against another will face disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from employment.

All complaints of discrimination and sexual harassment will be taken seriously and treated with respect and in confidence. No one will be victimised for making such a complaint.

Scope

This policy applies to all Akvo workforce members, including but not limited to full-time employees, part-time employees, contractors, trainees, volunteers and temporary workers. All workforce members are made aware of the existence of this non-discrimination and sexual harassment policy.

Discrimination

Discrimination is treating, or proposing to treat, someone unfavourably because of a personal characteristic protected by international human rights, such as sex, age, race or disability.

Non-discrimination statement

The Akvo Foundation is committed to promoting equality of opportunity for all workforce members and job applicants. We aim to create a working environment in which all individuals are able to best make use of their skills, free from discrimination or harassment, and in which decisions are based on merit.

We do not discriminate against workforce members on the basis of age, disability, political views, civil status, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, gender, gender reassignment or sexual orientation.

The principles of non-discrimination and equality of opportunity also apply to the way in which workforce members treat visitors, clients, customers, suppliers and former workforce members.

Akvo seeks to support organisations that are in line with our non-discrimination policy. Akvo may terminate its provision of services to organisations that are found to unlawfully discriminate through the use of those services and/or through their hiring practices.

All workforce members have a duty to act in accordance with this policy, to treat colleagues with dignity at all times, and not to discriminate against or harass other workforce members.

Discrimination can occur 

Directly, when a person or group is treated less favourably than another person or group in a similar situation because of a personal characteristic protected by law (see list below).

Indirectly, when an unreasonable requirement, condition or practice is imposed that has, or is likely to have, the effect of disadvantaging people with a personal characteristic.

Protected personal characteristics include:

  • A disability, disease or injury, including work-related injury
  • Parental status or status as a carer, for example, because they are responsible for
  • caring for children or other family members
  • Race, descent, national origin, or ethnic background
  • Age, whether young or old
  • Gender, intersex status, or gender identity, including transsexual or transgender.
  • Religion
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • Sexual orientation, including gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer and heterosexual
  • Marital status, whether married, divorced, unmarried or in a de facto relationship or same sex relationship
  • Political opinion
  • Social origin
  • Medical record

If someone is being bullied because of a personal characteristic, it is a form of discrimination. Bullying can take many forms, including jokes, teasing, nicknames, emails, pictures, text messages, social isolation or ignoring people, or unfair work practices including positive discrimination (favouritism).

Sexual harassment

All sexual harassment is prohibited whether it takes place within Akvo’s premises or outside, including at social events, business trips, training sessions or conferences sponsored by Akvo.

Anyone who sexually harasses another, including full-time employees, part-time employees, contractors, trainees, volunteers, and temporary workers, will be reprimanded in accordance with this internal policy.

Sexual harassment is the unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature which makes a person feel offended, humiliated and/or intimidated. It includes situations where a person is asked to engage in sexual activity as a condition of that person’s employment, as well as situations which create an environment which is hostile, intimidating or humiliating for the recipient.

Anyone can be a victim of sexual harassment, regardless of the sex, gender or sexual orientation of any of the persons involved. What matters is that the sexual conduct is unwanted and unwelcome by the person against whom the conduct is directed.

Akvo recognises that sexual harassment is a manifestation of power relationships and often occurs within unequal relationships in the workplace, for example between manager or supervisor and workforce member.

Sexual harassment can involve one or more incidents, and actions constituting harassment may be physical, verbal and non-verbal. Examples of conduct or behaviour which constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:

Physical conduct

  • Unwelcome physical contact including patting, pinching, stroking, kissing, hugging, fondling, or inappropriate touching
  • Physical violence, including sexual assault
  • The use of job-related threats or rewards to solicit sexual favours

Verbal conduct 

  • Comments on a worker’s appearance, age, private life, etc 
  • Sexual comments, stories and jokes
  • Sexual advances
  • Repeated and unwanted social invitations for dates or physical intimacy
  • Insults based on the gender or sex of the worker
  • Condescending or paternalistic remarks
  • Sending sexually suggestive or explicit messages (by phone or by email) 

Non-verbal conduct 

  • Display of sexually explicit or suggestive material
  • Sexually-suggestive gestures
  • Whistling
  • Leering 

Complaints procedures

Anyone who is subject to discrimination or sexual harassment should, if possible, inform the alleged harasser that the conduct is unwanted and unwelcome. Akvo recognises that discrimination and sexual harassment may occur in unequal relationships (i.e. between a supervisor and his/her workforce member) and that it may not be possible for the victim to inform the alleged harasser.

Anyone who is subject to discrimination or sexual harassment has the right to directly approach one of the confidential counsellors within Akvo. The confidential counsellors are responsible for receiving complaints of discrimination and sexual harassment.

A victim can also approach his/her line manager to discuss the matter. The line manager can either provide support directly or if that is not possible or desirable, the line manager can contact the confidential counsellor with the consent of the victim. In any case, the line manager will report the matter to the confidential counsellor with the consent of the victim.

When the confidential counsellor a receives a complaint, he/she will:

  • Immediately record the dates, times and facts of the incident(s)
  • Ascertain the views of the victim as to what outcome he/she wants
  • Ensure that the victim understands Akvo’s procedures for dealing with the complaint
  • Discuss and agree on the next steps: either an informal or a formal complaint, on the understanding that choosing to resolve the matter informally does not preclude the victim from pursuing a formal complaint if he/she is not satisfied with the outcome
  • Keep a confidential record of all discussions
  • Respect the choice of the victim
  • Ensure that the victim knows that they can lodge the complaint outside of Akvo through the relevant country/legal framework
  • Throughout the complaints procedure, a victim is entitled to support from an external counsellor.

Informal complaints procedure 
If the victim wishes to deal with the matter informally, the confidential counsellor will:

  • Provide an opportunity to the alleged harasser to respond to the complaint
  • Ensure that the alleged harasser understands the complaints procedure
  • Facilitate discussion between both parties to achieve an informal resolution which is acceptable to the complainant, or refer the matter to a designated mediator within the company to resolve the matter
  • Ensure that a confidential record is kept of what happens
  • Follow up after the outcome of the complaints procedure
  • Ensure that the above is done speedily and within 30 days of the complaint being made

Formal complaints procedure

If the victim wants to make a formal complaint or if the informal complaint procedure has not led to a satisfactory outcome for the victim, the formal complaint procedure should be used to resolve the matter.

The confidential counsellor will refer the matter to one of Akvo’s directors to instigate a formal investigation. This director can deal with the matter him/herself or refer the matter to an internal or external investigator.

In case one of Akvo’s directors in involved in the complaint, the confidential counsellor can refer the matter to an external investigator directly.

External complaints procedure

A person who has been subject to discrimination or sexual harassment can also make a complaint outside of Akvo. They can do so through legal frameworks, depending on the country. Think of police, employment tribunal, ombudsperson, etc.

Implementation of the policy

Sanctions and disciplinary measures

Anyone who has been found to have discriminated or sexually harassed another person under the terms of this policy is liable to any of the following sanctions:

  • Verbal or written warning
  • Adverse performance evaluation
  • Reduction in wages
  • Transfer
  • Demotion
  • Suspension
  • Dismissal

The nature of the sanctions will depend on the gravity and extent of the harassment. Suitable deterrent sanctions will be applied. Certain serious cases, including physical violence, will result in the immediate dismissal of the harasser.

Costs

In the event of a workforce member working for Akvo breaching the policies and legal support is required, the costs accruing to this legal support will initially be borne by Akvo. However, when it is proven that the workforce member has intentionally and knowingly breached the rules and regulations through his/her own personal actions, the workforce member will have to bear the financial consequences. Costs made will be invoiced to the workforce member concerned.

Awareness

Akvo will ensure that this policy is widely disseminated to all relevant persons. All new workforce members must be informed of the content of this policy as part of their induction into the company.

Akvo recognises the importance of monitoring this discrimination and sexual harassment policy.

Supervisors, managers and those responsible for dealing with discrimination and sexual harassment cases will report on compliance with this policy, including the number of incidents, how they were dealt with, and any recommendations made. This will be done on a yearly basis. As a result of this report, the company will evaluate the effectiveness of this policy and make any changes needed.

Revision history

16 July 2012: Created.
05 May 2018: Revised.

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to describe preventive measures and a sanctions policy in case an Akvo workforce member or Akvo partner is suspected of fraud, corruption, other misuses of funds including non-delivery of agreed deliverables, and undesirable behaviour such as discrimination or sexual harassment. 

Scope

This policy applies to all Akvo workforce members, including but not limited to full-time employees, part-time employees, contractors, trainees, volunteers and temporary workers. All workforce members and partners are made aware of the existence of this anti-corruption and sanctions policy.

Policy

Akvo workforce members


Abuse of power (identical to paragraph in Akvo code of conduct)
Working in the development sector is a delicate business. Akvo wishes to be respected by its partners and intends to guarantee this by applying strong criteria.

  • It is prohibited for workforce members to abuse the power that is inherent to their position for their own advantage or for the advantage of their friends or relatives.
  • No workforce member of Akvo will offer, seek or accept remuneration, compensation or benefit of any type that could be interpreted as an illegal or corrupt practice from any other party. Any such practices will be a valid reason for dismissal.
  • Workforce members are not allowed to accept any personal gifts from beneficiaries or partner organisations and their employees, in the form of money, goods or services that exceed the value of 50 Euros.
  • Where contracts for services are realised with the input of workforce members, they should be fair, in writing, in the standard Akvo format and signed by all parties involved.

Conflicts of interest (identical to paragraph in Akvo code of conduct)
Cases may occur where personal and professional (Akvo) interests are in conflict with each other, especially in the area of service delivery and professional contracts.

  • Akvo workforce members are not allowed to negotiate and to sign contracts and agreements between their relatives and Akvo. 
  • Akvo workforce members with their own business or financial interests in certain companies are not allowed to sign contracts between Akvo and these companies under any circumstances.
  • As soon as a workforce member suspects that a possible conflict of interest may occur, this should be discussed with his/her line manager or Akvo’s confidential counsellor. Akvo will, while striving for fairness and impartiality, do everything in its power to prevent workforce members from (financial) harm.
  • Workforce members are not allowed to maintain a conflict of interest.

Corrective and sanction policy and procedure

  • When an Akvo workforce member unwillingly or unknowingly becomes involved in corruptive activities, the supervisor will take notice of this and discuss with the workforce member the nature of the activities and the potential damage that the activities may inflict on the workforce member and the organisation. In the specific case of possible corruption related to the Director(s), the Chairman of the Supervisory Board is considered as acting supervisor. The supervisor will support the workforce member to remedy the situation.
  • In case a workforce member is involved in corruption and their intentions are unclear, and/or there is no reason to assume they are involved unwillingly and unknowingly, the workforce member will receive an official warning from the Director(s).
  • In that case, the workforce member is obliged to formulate an action plan within one week, explaining what they will do to remedy the situation and prevent repetition. If the Director(s) agrees with the action, a check will be done upon completion by the direct supervisor. The agreed plan will be filed in the HR dossier of the workforce member. The supervisor will report to the Director(s) on the process of implementation until full completion. If the Director(s) has no confidence that possible repetition is sufficiently prevented, this will lead to the dismissal of the workforce member concerned.
  • A second time of involvement in a proven corruptive activity will lead to the immediate dismissal of the workforce member concerned.
  • When one of the Director(s) is involved in corruption and their intentions are unclear, the Supervisory Board will be involved to take appropriate measures.
Partners

Preventive measures
The most important preventive measure is to ensure that a thorough investigation of the capacity of potential partners is carried out before deciding to enter into agreements with them.

  • In order to check the trustworthiness of partners, Akvo uses the following criteria: 
    A partner is an organisation with professional staff, working in multiple regions or countries on development aid projects. 
  • A partner has a substantial track record of successful (development aid) projects.
  • A partner is accredited by a national accrediting body which inspects public interest bodies (if this is available in the country) and ensures they meet high standards of management and integrity and awards public certificates confirming that the organisation is well-run and deserving of support.
  • Funds received from Akvo are part of the financial administration and financial reporting of the partner.

Correction and sanction policy

  • When there is a suspicion that the partner is involved in fraud, corruption or undesirable behaviour such as discrimination or sexual harassment, the Akvo Director(s) will immediately discuss the issue with the partner. When fraud or undesirable behaviours such as discrimination or sexual harassment is suspected (fraud can involve one or all of the following: misrepresentation of facts, breach of contractual responsibilities, suppression of the truth, and omission of critical facts), Akvo will start an investigation.
  • When an investigation shows that fraud has been committed, the relationship between the partner and Akvo will be immediately terminated and all running projects with the partner will be cancelled. When this happens, the findings of the investigation will be communicated on the Akvo website and the Director(s) of Akvo will immediately inform the Supervisory Board.
  • When an investigation shows that undesirable behaviour such as discrimination or sexual harassment has been committed and if no appropriate measures have been taken by the partner, the relationship between the partner and Akvo will be immediately terminated and all running projects with the partner will be cancelled. When this happens, the Director(s) of Akvo will immediately inform the Supervisory Board.
  • If the partner does not agree with the decision of Akvo, it can file a complaint or an appeal, which will be processed according to the Akvo Complaints Policy.

Akvo’s security policy is intended to ensure the safety and security of Akvo employees, contractors, family members authorised to accompany Akvo staff during work activities and third parties.We aim to provide the same level of security and protection for our partners and third parties as we do for our own staff. 

The policy consists of several components:

  • Travel policy (including a checklist for travelling Akvo staff)
  • Crisis management protocol
  • Incident report format
  • Evacuation plan for staff that are abroad
  • A roadmap meant to help make decisions concerning travelling to foreign countries.

1. Basic Risk Factors

There are 11 basic risk factors which have been proven to influence the probability of an incident. It is necessary to discover the underlying causes of accidents at an early stage, and to implement appropriate risk reduction measures, in order to reduce the effects and chance of an incident. Every factor is analysed for its relevance to Akvo. Some basic risk factors are merged in this policy and others have been omitted, because they are unrelated to Akvo’s work processes.

The eleven basis risk factors that affect the risk of an accident are:

  • Design of equipment and tools
  • Quality of equipment and tools
  • Presence, comprehensiveness and accuracy of instructions and procedures
  • Physical operating conditions such as temperature and noise
  • Daily maintenance (order and cleanliness) of the workplace
  • Proficiency and experience of staff
  • Conflicting goals (safety versus production)
  • Communication
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Management of maintenance
  • Presence and operation of controls and protections.

The seven risk factors that are described in this policy are:

  1. Design and quality of Akvo equipment, tools and vehicles
  2. Presence and comprehensiveness of instructions, policies and protocols
  3. Physical operating conditions including workplace conditions
  4. Proficiency and experience of staff
  5. Safety versus production
  6. Communication
  7. Organisation structure.

Akvo will keep analysing and updating these factors according to our own experience.

1.1 Design and quality of Akvo equipment, tools, vehicles and road safety

Akvo does not use machines with moving parts in its processes. The only machines Akvo uses regularly are computers and mobile phones and they do not present a relevant security risk to Akvo’s employees.

However, when Akvo personnel travel abroad, vehicles (taxis, buses, trains, etc.) could cause dangerous situations if they are not properly driven or maintained. Drivers can cause dangerous situations if they do not respect local traffic laws. Akvo staff should be aware of the state of the vehicles in which they travel, and if possible, avoid using poorly maintained vehicles. Paying attention to safe travelling by car really reduces the risk of an incident because car accidents are the greatest risk to aid workers in developing countries.

Regarding office safety, Akvo equips its offices throughout the world according to local laws. If there are no local laws (or laws are incomprehensive), the minimum level of safety of an office will be based on Dutch regulation.

1.2 Comprehensiveness and presence of instructions, policies and protocols

Akvo will always take responsibility for its staff members. This means we will provide clear procedures and instructions to staff. All documents should be clear and understandable for every team member and partner. Every Akvo employee will be instructed on how to execute their work in a safe and secure way. Akvo has a crisis management and evacuation plan in place so that there can be an accurate response in case of an emergency situation. In case of a crisis, everyone should know his or her role. And after such a situation, everyone should know what steps to take in order to get back to normal working conditions.

1.3 Physical operating conditions including workplace conditions

Akvo prioritises team members’ health above work commitments and takes responsibility for its members’ health during work and work-related travel. Akvo will ensure its staff are protected as far as reasonably possible against diseases or other health-endangering factors.

Staying healthy while traveling requires more than just getting vaccinated. When you are in an unusual environment the probability of getting ill is higher than when you are in your home environment. The main causes of illness are bad hygiene, bad food and getting bitten by mosquitoes. 

1.4 Proficiency and experience of staff

Akvo team members should be aware of the risks they encounter when they travel for work. Akvo takes responsibility for the security of its team members. This means that Akvo recommends team members who often travel to developing countries for Akvo should participate in security training. A security refresher session will be held at each Akvo Team Week in order to update and remind team members of security issues and how to deal with them. Every year, the Akvo management team discusses the incident reports of the previous year and any security problems encountered. New staff members should read the Security policy and will receive a short presentation about the risks of travelling.

1.5 Safety versus production

The safety of Akvo staff always comes first. This means that no unnecessary risks will be taken and Akvo will support decisions made by team members to prioritise safety above production and assets. This applies not only to the safety of our own staff and contractors, but also to third parties. Akvo will try to prevent unintended harm to other people. 

1.6 Communication

Akvo staff communicate with other team members, partners and the outside world using various different media such as email, Skype and Twitter. In case of emergency, the Akvo Crisis management team will deploy a controlled communication strategy to provide proper and thorough communication to Akvo team members and outside parties. Every team member should be aware of the sensitivity of information in crisis situations and should handle information with care. Akvo team members should only share information about a crisis situation after being granted permission by the Communications manager of the Crisis management team. Important decisions in a crisis situation will be recorded and made available for future reference.

1.7 Roles and responsibilities

In case of a duty trip, working time will usually be considered to be beyond the actual working hours. Therefore this Security policy applies 24/7 to Akvo members when they are on a work-related trip.

Whenever Akvo team members go to an area of their own choice, which has no relationship with Akvo working activities and is not part of their work for Akvo, Akvo will not take responsibility for any incidents. If an employee wants to combine a holiday with a work trip, a clear moment in time needs to be agreed upon that separates the holiday from the Akvo trip. 

Akvo holds the right at all times to withdraw a member from an area or country.

2. Evacuations

In the case of a sudden dangerous situation, staff may need to be evacuated. In such a case, they will be brought to a safe location nearby, or in case of a longer-term situation, to a suitable Akvo office. Local staff members and their families will be evacuated to safe areas within the region.

3. Travel decisions

Akvo staff should not travel to any location unless it meets the basic security requirements described in the Akvo travel decision model. 

4. Code of conduct

Akvo’s Code of conduct ensures our standards of efficiency, mutual respect, professional conduct and safety. Every member of Akvo should be aware of the following points outlined in the Code of conduct and take them into account in their work:

Respect and care for our partners

Akvo has a professional approach to partners and clients. We respect foreign cultures, religions and other habits and provide an open working environment in which everyone can develop themselves. All team members act as representatives of Akvo and should be aware of this in their behaviour, especially when they are travelling for Akvo. Team members should always put their own safety and that of their companions above work obligations.

Respect for culture and customs

Akvo team members should respect the laws, culture and customs of the country they are in. In particular, dress codes, religion, alcohol usage and other restrictions. Some topics that can be seen as controversial (e.g. narcotics, abortion, faith and politics) must be treated with sensitivity.

 

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