Monday 21 May 2007

Ethics and Protecting Staff At-Risk

A ship in a harbor is safe. But that is not what ships were made for…
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When is it appropriate--ethical--to send workers into risky areas?
These would be locations where the social/political situation is very unstable, where there is the possibility of death or serious physical/emotional injury in the course of helping others, and/or more isolated places where there are few supportive member care resources available.

Workers who serve in cross-cultural settings are often subject to a variety of extreme stressors. Natural disasters, wars, sudden relocation, imprisonment, sickness, and protracted relationship conflicts are but a few of the examples. The general consensus seems to be that sending groups that deploy their people into potentially adverse situations have an ethical responsibility to do all they can to prepare and support them. This thinking is in line with Principle 7 from the People in Aid Code of Best Practice (2003) which states, “The security, good health and safety of our staff are a prime responsibility of our organisation."

What do you think?

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Here are two addditional perspectives/quotes.

1. "Effective pre-mission training must begin with instilling awareness of the need for security and psychosocial support in the culture of organizations. Patched together, ad hoc, or solely programatic efforts will have only minimal impact. Security and support must be integrated, both structurally and functionally, into the mainstream of pre-field mission operations: mission planning, staffing, and budgeting."
**Yael Danieli (Editor), Sharing the Front Line and the Back Hills (2002), p. 383

2. "We have had to ensure that our philosophy of member care, along with our crisis and contingency management approach, respect what God asks of our workers, even though they sometimes go against the prevailing attitude of “safety, security, and reduction of stress levels at all costs,” that is characteristic of many Western cultures. Although no…worker morbidly…desires others to go through pain…or suffering, we have come to realize that such experiences, according to Scripture and history, normally accompany the spread of God’s kingdom."
**Steve and Kitty Holloway, Responsible Logistics for Hostile Places, Doing Member Care Well (2002), p. 447

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