Commonly held views can lead to errors of judgement. It is a widely and satirically held view that the oldest profession is that of being a prostitute. In defending Ofam’s staff’s use of prostitutes in Haiti Mark Goldring the chairman of Oxfam said ‘……makes you wonder what did we do? Murder babies in their cots?’ All this comment achieved was to provide fodder for the media industry (in our opinion not one of the older or more honourable professions).
Charity work has a valid claim to being the oldest profession. In the Garden of Eden the fruit of the tree of knowledge was given to Eve. There after the parable of ‘the Good Samaritan’ highlighted the good work done by those who see a need and act to resolve the issue without thought of personal reward. (A massive thanks to all the modern day humanitarian samaritan charity workers operating with integrity.)
Many other profession should and are being called to account over abuse. Church and religious leaders have committed abuse on children then sought to orchestrate a cover up. Politicians have used there positions of power and influence thereby creating sex scandals. The entertainment industry, not wishing to miss out, proclaim ‘#me too’. That is after years of ‘the casting couch’ innuendos. We wouldn’t expect all our military to be celibate and fervently hope no ‘scurrilous scandals’ emerge in these professions. Investigations in to the protection of the vulnerable by public sector professionals and workers has exposed the dramatic failings in Rotherham, Oxford, Newcastle and other UK areas.
Abuse and issues within a sector, in this case the aid charities, runs deeper than sexual and physical abuse. The current exposé should create a more open environment to address all the moral and human failings but do not expect the problems to be eliminated anytime soon.
Unfortunately many of the leaders in the aid and humanitarian sector do not seem to understand their aid work is being undertaken ‘In My Name’ and in the name of all supporters, donors and right-minded people.
When a problem looks bad, experience shows it is probably far worse than originally thought. It is also a truism that a cover up will cause at least if not more opprobrium to be brought to the obsfucators.
There are numerous media reports on what could be called Oxfamgate which you may choose to investigate. As the dust settles Charity Chit Chat will revisit the core issues and the leadership needed to move forward.