OPENING THE PANDORA’S BOX: REPORT ON SEXUAL HARASSMENT, CORRUPTION AND MALPRACTICE IN AN NGO

OPENING THE PANDORA’S BOX:

REPORT ON SEXUAL HARASSMENT, CORRUPTION AND MALPRACTICE IN AN NGO

Newsletter Sep-Dec 2003

A report entitled OPENING THE PANDORA’S BOX: SEXUAL HARASSMENT, CORRUPTION AND MALPRACTICE IN AN NGO was brought out jointly by Saheli, Stree Adhikar Sangathan, Delhi and Allahabad, and People's Union for Human Rights, Mirzapur in December 2003.

The report details the basis of a complaint made by Ranjana Patel, an employee of the Centre for Rural Education and Development Action (CREDA), an NGO in Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh, who contacted Delhi-based women's organisations asking for help in filing a case against Shamshad Khan, the Secretary of CREDA.

The subsequent engagement with the case revealed a gamut of issues that include pervasive sexual harassment of women employees, large scale malpractice and corruption and the problems faced by those within the organization who tried to protest against this.

The report covers sexual harassment at the workplace, the irregularities in CREDA, the role of state functionaries when approached for help by the employees of CREDA, and interviews with the Secretary, former consultants, UNDP, NCW and NHRC.

Finally, the report raises the pertinent implications these issues have for all NGOs, donor agencies and the women's movement. It questions the inherent contradictions in the field of development where, in some cases, development is ushered in by the exploitation of its workforce. An inadequacy of mechanisms of redress makes the situation of NGO workers even more vulnerable.

This report is an attempt to place the struggle of NGO workers in a context. It concerns all NGOs, who have employees, and all women's organizations struggling against sexual harassment at the workplace.

[Copy of the report is available in English and Hindi. For information and copies please contact Saheli or Peace, 93 Katwaria Sarai, New Delhi 110016]