Code of Conduct
Purpose and scope
Why a Code of Conduct
To enable Kwera Association (Denmark), Kwerafund Ltd. (Malawi) and future Kwera entities (hereinafter ‘Kwera’) to fulfil its vision of ‘Developing highly educated individuals who will transform lives in their communities’ in accordance with its values, it is important that Kwera board members, advisory board members, employees, and volunteers (hereinafter ‘Kwera Affiliated Persons’) uphold the highest standards of ethics and integrity.
Kwera recognises that by virtue of its work it creates unequal relationships of power between Kwera Affiliated Persons and the students (hereinafter the ‘Student Climbers’) supported by Kwera. The Code of Conduct therefore lays out the key principles, values and behaviours expected of Kwera Affiliated Persons.
Who does it apply to
The Code of Conduct applies to all Kwera Affiliated Persons, and in future to any associated company or person (i.e. suppliers, third parties, partners, etc.). The Code of Conduct is an integral part of any Kwera Affiliated Person’s contract with Kwera because it is a fundamental precondition for being associated with Kwera.
What does it seek to uphold
Whilst recognising that cultures and local laws differ significantly from one country to another, Kwera aligns this Code of Conduct to International and UN Standards.
The Code of Conduct describes what Kwera expects of its Kwera Affiliated Persons while conducting duties assigned to them by Kwera. The Code of Conduct not only applies to Kwera Affiliated Persons when acting in a Kwera professional context but also in a private context, i.e. the behaviours expected of Kwera Affiliated Persons apply to their personal lives too because a serious breach of the principles, values and commitments enshrined in this Code of Conduct could tarnish the overall reputation of Kwera.
Core values and principles
Kwera Affiliated Persons are committed to upholding the following principles and values:
- Fundamental respect for human rights as per the UN Charter on Human Rights;
- Treating every person with respect without discrimination on the basis of race, gender, age, religion, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, and disability;
- Respecting cultures, customs and traditions of all people and always striving to behave in a culturally appropriate manner;
- Zero tolerance for any forms of sexual misconduct (including sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse). Sexual misconduct constitutes a serious breach of the Code of Conduct as is considered as grounds for disciplinary action, including dismissal; and
- Zero tolerance for any form of fraud, corruption or embezzlement of Kwera resources (material or financial).
As a Kwera Affiliated Person I commit to the following:
- To uphold the integrity of Kwera by ensuring that my personal and professional conduct is of the highest standards
- I will treat all Student Climbers and fellow colleagues with respect and dignity;
- I will demonstrate truthfulness and honesty in my actions;
- I will be respectful and courteous to all persons with whom I deal in an official capacity, being mindful and respectful of local customs and traditions; and
- I will observe local laws in place of residence or work.
- To prevent, oppose and combat all forms of sexual misconduct*
- In line with international standards I will not have sexual relations with children (defined as under 18 years of age) or with Kwera-supported Student Climbers, recognising the unequal power dynamics involved and that such behaviours could negatively impact Kwera’s work;
- I will never exchange money, offers of employment, goods or services for sex or sexual favours. In particular, with regards existing or prospective Student Climbers;
- I will not engage in sexual exploitation or abuse of any person, with particular care towards Kwera-supported Student Climbers; and
- I will not abuse the power and influence that I have by virtue of my position.
- To perform my duties in a manner that avoids conflict of interest with the work of Kwera
- I will declare any financial, personal, family (or close intimate relationship) interest that may impact the work of Kwera; and
- I will never participate in activities where a conflict of interest may arise. Such activities may be related to procurement of goods or services, or to human resources (e.g. selection of new Student Climbers).
- To stand up against any form of fraud and corruption and make responsible use of resources to which I have access to by reason of my association with Kwera
- Even when giving and accepting gifts is normal cultural practice, I will not accept any gift, favour, remuneration which have been offered to me as a result of my employment with Kwera, to/from any person intending to seek favour with or assistance from Kwera;
- I will act against any form of corruption and not offer, promise, give or accept any bribes;
- I will protect, manage and utilise Kwera human, financial and material resources efficiently and effectively, bearing in mind that these resources have been placed at Kwera’s disposal for the benefit of the Student Climbers; and
- I will not enter into transactions with sanctioned persons or companies as investment objects, co-investors, partners or in other way which breach trade sanctions rules.
- To make responsible use of information to which I have access to by reason of my association with Kwera
- I will exercise due care in all matters of official business, and not divulge any confidential information about students, colleagues and other work-related matters;
- Should I collect personal data, I will inform the owners of the data (hereinafter the ‘Data Subjects’) why their information is needed and how the data will be processed, obtaining clear and documented consent from the Data Subjects themselves for the collection and processing of their data when necessary; and
- Should I have personal data stored, I will ensure it is kept securely, kept accurate and organised – retained for no longer than necessary – and will only use it for a specific and legitimate business. Any such personal data and confidential information will be collected processed in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union.
Misconduct and sanctions
Non-compliance with the Code of Conduct
If Kwera suspects that any Affiliated Person has failed to comply with the present Code of Conduct, it will notify this person of the alleged breach.
If a Kwera Affiliated Person becomes aware of a breach of this Code of Conduct, such person must inform the relevant focal points immediately. If the potential breach is related to a case at an institution, such as a university, with well-defined internal procedures for handling such allegations, Kwera may refer the case to a relevant body within the institution for processing. If no such body exists within the institution in question, Kwera may decide on the course of action and any disciplinary sanctions.
Breaches of the Code of Conduct
Breaches of Kwera’s Code of Conduct may lead to disciplinary sanctions. Sanction would occur following a thorough investigation including a disciplinary hearing when relevant.
Sanctions may include:
- Kwera sending a letter of reprimand and temporarily suspending the Kwera Affiliated Person’s affiliation with Kwera, particularly during an investigation into a breach;
- Kwera sending information of the breach to relevant external stakeholders; and/or
- Kwera terminating the employment or association of the Kwera Affiliated Person if found guilty of a breach.
*This includes any form of sexual exploitation, abuse, assault as defined by United Nations
List of definitions*
- Bribery: The offering, promising, giving, accepting or soliciting of an advantage as an inducement for an action which is illegal, unethical or a breach of trust. Inducements can take the form of gifts, loans, fees, rewards or other advantages (taxes, services, donations, favours etc.).
- Conflict of interest: Situation where an individual or the entity for which they work, whether a government, business, media outlet or civil society organisation, is confronted with choosing between the duties and demands of their position and their own private interests.
- Corruption: Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. It can be classified as grand, petty and political, depending on the amounts of money lost and the sector where it occurs.
- Fraud: The offence of intentionally deceiving someone in order to gain an unfair or illegal advantage (financial, political or otherwise).
- Integrity: Behaviours and actions consistent with a set of moral or ethical principles and standards, embraced by individuals as well as institutions.
- Sexual abuse: Actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions.
- Sexual assault: Sexual activity with another person who does not consent. It is a violation of bodily integrity and sexual autonomy and is broader than narrower conceptions of “rape”, especially because (a) it may be committed by other means than force or violence, and (b) it does not necessarily entail penetration.
- Sexual exploitation: Any actual or attempted abuse of position of vulnerability, differential power or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another.
- Sexual harassment: Any form of unwanted verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person, in particular when creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.
- Zero-tolerance: The notion that Kwera prohibits such behaviours or conduct and that every transgression will be acted upon.
*Sources: United Nations (2017) “Glossary on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse: Thematic Glossary of current terminology related to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) in the context of the United Nations”, 2nd Edition, available here; Transparency International (2018) “Anti-Corruption Glossary”, available here