Safeguarding - The Gambia Update
A message from Harris Iqbal, Penny Appeal’s Interim CEO:
I am deeply pained at the reports about the operations that Penny Appeal supports in The Gambia. These violate our most fundamental values as a charity that exists to better the lives of children.
One allegation is too many. We stand against any exploitation or abuse of children.
I want to reassure you that all of the children we support in The Gambia have now returned to their guardians, and are safe.
However, we can, and we must, do more.
Having recently been appointed to lead Penny Appeal, and as a father myself, there is nothing more important to me than our charity having the highest possible standards of care and safety.
We are taking serious and substantive action. First and foremost, we will listen to the voices of children – to whom we are accountable. Our organisation’s future will centre around safeguarding, best practice and rigorous oversight.
Today I announce a number of additional immediate and wide-ranging actions, that are prompted by reports in The Gambia but also foster greater diligence and assurance across our global programmes.
We are increasing our capacity in The Gambia, to cooperate with and support investigations, and engage with the Gambian government. We have asked an international agency to undertake this work on our behalf. We are also engaging with the UK Charity Commission. We must be led by evidence and by expertise. We owe it to the children we care for to leave no stone unturned.
We are in discussion with the leading children’s charity Barnardo’s to arrange an independent root and branch review of safeguarding arrangements across Penny Appeal, which will include a review of our safeguarding policies. While we prioritise safeguarding across our global programmes, this independent expert review is necessary to strengthen us further.
We are quadrupling the resources we devote to safeguarding globally, and are committed to doing whatever is required to ensure we have the best possible people and practices.
We are accountable to you - our supporters and the public. I want to reiterate how much we welcome your advice. I will listen – for that is how we will get things right. We must uphold the highest standards of care and safety and do all we can to better the lives of children around the world.
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THURSDAY 20 AUG 2020