This Q&A with Janeth Paul Mziray was cross posted from Impact and Innovations Development Centre.
Pathfinder is a global non-profit organization that advances sexual and reproductive health and rights through locally led strategies and programs in Africa and South Asia.
Pathfinder has incorporated safeguarding guidance into its programs globally, protecting the people who participate in the organization’s programs, partners, and staff from harm, sexual abuse and exploitation. The Impact and Innovations Development Centre, through the support of Oak Foundation, has been supporting Pathfinder with its safeguarding initiatives, particularly through trainings on child safeguarding at Pathfinder’s Tanzania office.
IIDC sat down with Janeth Paul Mziray, Pathfinder’s new global director of safeguarding based in Tanzania, to discuss Pathfinder’s safeguarding initiatives and her new role.
People don’t talk about sexual exploitation, especially in African countries. I want the world to know that even in high-profile environments, abuse exists. We need to raise awareness that sexual exploitation and abuse exists, irrespective of circumstance, and it is our role to make sure that we build a culture that does not accept abuse and protects human dignity and the rights of all people, so that people co-exist without fear of stigma.
Tell us about yourself and your new job title.
I have gained experience in human resources and administration while working for Pathfinder over the past 14 years. Recently, I was appointed the global safeguarding director for Pathfinder based on my past experiences that include working with IIDC on developing the child safeguarding policy and training materials, an exercise supported by The Oak Foundation.
What motivated you to join the safeguarding movement and what inspired you to take on this job?
When working for organizations, people think about deliverables in terms of programmatic and budget deliverables and forget that our employees and project participants need to be protected from sexual exploitation and abuse. My legal background partly contributed to my interest in this job, but also because I was part of the team here at Pathfinder that developed a child safeguarding policy for the Tanzania country office and other safeguarding policies and initiatives aimed at protecting employees and the people we work with.
What does it mean for you to take this job at Pathfinder (what do you bring on table for your organization)?
I am excited to lead Pathfinder’s safeguarding initiatives globally and to continue to create a safeguarding culture. I look forward to working closely with Pathfinder staff as well as those at other organizations who are safeguarding experts to learn from them and continue to build a safeguarding culture at Pathfinder. I will be reviewing all of our safeguarding policies and documents and updating them to ensure we are doing the very best we can to protect project participants, partners, and staff from harm, abuse, and exploitation.
How has IIDC helped to shape your mindset and how you view safeguarding at Pathfinder?
IIDC supported us to develop the child safeguarding policy for the Tanzania office, providing us with training, tools, and reviewing drafted policies. When I transitioned into the global safeguarding director role, IIDC’s technical advisor on safeguarding and child protection supported me to understand safeguarding and its relation to human rights, and as a result, I was prompted to read further and better understand what safeguarding entails.
I look forward to more support and collaboration to ensure an advanced safeguarding environment at Pathfinder.
What do you want the world to know as your contribution to the safeguarding movement?
People don’t talk about sexual exploitation, especially in African countries. I want the world to know that even in high-profile environments, abuse exists. We need to raise awareness that these exploitation and abuse exists, irrespective of circumstance, and it is our role to make sure that we build a culture that does not accept abuse and protects human dignity and the rights of all people, so that people co-exist without fear of stigma.
What is your one key message that you want to tell the world?
In order for everyone to exist free from sexual exploitation and abuse, we all must take responsibility and be each other’s keepers.