Code of Conduct
MANARA is a regional network that was founded by 10 members of 8 Arab countries: Lebanon, Yemen, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco. The Network was founded in coordination with Save the Children – Sweden.
Code of Conduct:
It represents the principles and values that should be followed by the partners in the Network during their work. It targets their administrations, employees and volunteers during their duty execution.
This Code of Conduct includes the goals of the Arab Network for Child’s rights MANARA, as well as its perseverance to realize these goals, related to the values and principles of Human rights in general, and to the values and principles of Child rights in specific. It also includes the Network’s role in the social development, the children’s lives’ changes and it contributes in realizing their dreams. This Code of Conduct is based on the diversity of the societies in which the children live. It is also based on the principle of participation and the rights of non-discrimination and opinion expression through children’s networks. The Code also emphasizes on ensuring the children’s best interest; the partners of the Network should be the main supporters to apply the society’s rights in general and the Child rights in specific. This Code was made by the Network’s partners. It prepares them to face challenges of changes in children’s lives, and to participate in the creation of an active and safe environment that allows the children to participate in individual as well as group decisions. Another principle stated in this Code is that the values of Human and Child rights are basic in the change process of children’s lives in the Arab society. The partners’ mechanisms of work should be focused on Human rights programming in general and Child rights programming in specific, taking into consideration the values of the societies in which they are working. The partners also have to stick to the standards of transparency, accountability and use of resources while executing their work.
A little bit of history
The civil institutions are being very active since the last decades of the past century. They have always tried to raise awareness among people about issues related to the Arab societies and to the governments’ policies, influencing the popular sector in a way or another.
The social, economic, political and cultural situation of the Arab society, during its historical course, has always influenced the Arab civil action. Some factors as the religious and spiritual values (Zakat/charity in Islam and tithing in Christianity) had a major role in directing the civil institutions’ goals and activities, giving birth to religious institutions that contributed in spreading religious education and culture, as well as providing services and social aids.
The Arab civil sector improved during the combat against foreign colonization, wars and natural disasters. It enhanced the popular solidarity, spread the concept of voluntary work and encouraged the rush against the loss of the national identity.
The Arab civil action was also influenced by the economic and political changes on international, regional and local levels. It became more important due to the lack of development in inconvenient economic, social and cultural situations. Thus, the civil organizations found themselves obliged to offer certain services instead of the government, which highlighted on these organizations on a social, political and/or intellectual level.
Recently, some organizations of defense or advocacy emerged, working on supporting liberties, democracy and Human rights.
It is important to notice all the recent changes occurring in the Arab world: overthrows of systems, civil changes in action, especially in the development and Human rights’ field, the claiming of civil governments to rule the nation since the authority over the nation was limited to very few people in many Arab countries, etc. Hopefully, these changes will positively affect the civil action on the Arab world level.
The Principles of the Code of Conduct
1- Committing to international Human rights’ norms, conventions and treaties.
The partners of the Networks should commit to the Human rights’ norms and conventions such as:
• The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
• The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
• The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
• The Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols
• UN rules on the rights of the Child (Beijing rules, Havana and Riad principles and the UN rules to protect children deprived of their freedom.
• Convention against Torture.
• Arab Charter of Human Rights
• Arab Charter of Child Rights
• Convention on the Status of Refugees
• International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
• International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
• Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
• International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
2- Equality and inclusiveness.
- Treat all the beneficiaries and workers equally; they should not apply discrimination based on politics, religion, race, family, geography, gender, social background or disability. They can apply positive differentiation over marginalized groups like women, children or disabled individuals, for example.
- Develop and execute severe and clear procedures to stop all kinds of discrimination against the employees, in order to ensure equal opportunities.
- Develop and execute strict and clear procedures to stop all kinds of discrimination in choosing the beneficiaries.
- Enhance equality between genders in their activities, publications and procedures.
- Protect the rights of workers in the Network, and thus the administration should have clear procedures and instructions that include all the workers’ rights, especially:
• A career ladder, groups, clear salaries and a system of promotion known by everybody.
• Work contracts for workers according to the work laws in each country in which there is a partner.
• An equitable assessment and correction system, as well a clear, published sanctions system.
3- Sustainable Human Development
The strategies and plans of the Network’s partners should be consistent with the sustainable human development. The focus should be on building an educational, academic and professional system, according to the international principles, conventions and norms of the Human rights and public freedoms. That is to guarantee a new generation of children, capable of facing future challenges.
- Enhance the children’s participation through spreading the ideology of working with children. The partners should also facilitate data and experience exchange between each other and between different society groups and beneficiaries, especially concerning policy, methodology, practices and decision making changes.
- Consult the beneficiaries, especially in the matters that concern their lives. Actually, it enhances dialogue between partners and beneficiaries and stakeholders.
- Include local beneficiaries and stakeholders in the planning and executing processes, as well as the programs and projects evaluation.
- Encourage and develop communication between workers, stakeholders and beneficiaries.
5- Coordination and networking
Partners in the Network should enhance the coordination, networking, cooperation, communication and partnerships between each other and with the stakeholders and beneficiaries, based on common future visions. This is in order to avoid duplication of work, to ensure the best use of resources and energies while planning, executing and evaluating, and to support each other.
The partners should apply coordination in work, especially concerning common matters, target groups or international forums. Competition and duplication in work should be limited and the right use of resources should be increased.
Whenever any of the partners will represent the Network in an important event, the other partners should be informed of it.
6- Integrity of partners
When communicating with other partners, organizations or beneficiaries, partners should respect their principles and policies without contradicting the vision and message of the Network. They should stop any problem that might occur and be tolerating in resolving conflicts.
They should also save the files, documentation and data, limit records destroying and commit to the principles of freedom of getting information, without contradicting with the vision and message of the Network.
Partners should not be part of wrong actions such as corruption, bribes, or any other wrong financial procedures. The Network will follow the necessary procedures to avoid these actions.
Partners should develop a financial and administrative system approved by the Executive Council and the General Assembly, including the following:
1- Recruitment policies and procedures
2- A clear and transparent system of recruitment, including the job advertising mechanism, without any discrimination.
3- Minimum wages according to the social, economic and humanitarian situation.
4- The member organizations should have these systems. It is impossible for all the Network members to agree on one system, due to the differences in the countries where they work.
The partners should commit to transparency based on the right of knowledge, especially concerning giving information to the stakeholders and beneficiaries, ensuring openness of the General Assembly, beneficiaries, donors and government on all activities, procedures, decisions, policies and practices. Information about financial and developmental procedures should be known.
Thus, there should be a commitment to the professional standards and special rules of transparency on all levels.
The basic requirements of transparency are:
• Openness, integrity, individual and group responsibility towards the organization and its message, policy, activities and value on all administrative levels.
• Clear financial and developmental procedures and systems.
• A structural and administrative system in the member organizations that clarifies different roles and responsibilities.
• Different partnerships and contracts.
• Annual financial and administrative reports of the member organizations.
• A recruitment system for each organization to protect and develop human resources.
• Confidentiality of the employees and workors’ personal information.
• Different procedures to guarantee the adequacy of purchases and services, and protect these procedures from being influenced by personal interest.
8- Conflicts of interest
• We talk about conflicts of interest whenever a person or a group of people are in a strength position in any organization of the member organizations, allowing them to use this position for personal benefits (to serve family, friends, political parties, other organizations with which they have relations…). Member organizations should have strict rules to avoid this kind of behavior.
• It should be ensured that the members of the Executive Council will not obtain any personal or financial benefits out of their work in the Network.
Partners should provide any needed information about related activites to the Network’s action. They should also ensure accountability systems, from the side of the General Assembly, the beneficiaries, the donors or the contractors, according to the contract’s conditions.
Any affected individuals of the Network’s programs or activities should be able to write a complaint about it and receive a written reply. The administration should methodically review these complaints.
The member organizations should commit to legitimate accounting and auditing systems.
The member organizations should only use the money in its specific places and should always remember that it is non-lucrative. There should be financial systems to guarantee this idea.
10- Rational Administration
Partners should commit to the principle of rational democratic administration to make sure the organization is actively working and well managed on the General Assembly level, the Administration level and the workers level.
Partners should make sure:
• The organization in totally independent in decision making.
• There is an annual legal auditor approved by the General Assembly
• There are strict procedures against conflicts of interest
• There is a well developed plan for the organization's human and tangible resources management
• There should be well developed financial, administrative, supervision and evaluation procedures
• The participation and contribution concept is enhanced, giving birth to new leaderships and developing the actual leadership capacities.
• Workers, beneficiaries and children participate in the strategic planning of the organization.
• The developed programs meet the society’s needs, especially the children’s, unconditioned by the donors’ instructions.
• The member organizations should not accept conditioned finance, especially politically conditioned. They should not accept either any contradiction between the funder’s policy and Human rights, especially Child rights.
11- Impact and effectiveness
In order to realize their goals, partners should clearly specify their policies. The partners’ specified chores should be the framework and reference of all their activities and plans. Partners should commit to well managing their human and tangible resources in order to realize their declared goals.
Partners should work on realizing the following matters:
1- The Administration: The administration staff should totally understand and support the organization’s mission. Each staff member should know his/her role and permissions in developing the organization according to its system.
2- Evaluation: The organization’s mission and activities should be reviewed on an administrative and programming level. Executed missions and activities should be evaluated and there should be a future planning.
12- Conflict Management
The signers of this code should resolve conflicts mainly by mediation and arbitration between the partners of the Network, with the different civil institutions, inside the same organization or on the work problems level.