Mercy Corps Commitments to Action Progress Report

31 January 2023

Report closes two additional commitments, bringing total to 20 out of 23 commitments fulfilled

Mercy Corps today released its sixth report detailing progress delivering on commitments to action made by the organization in February 2020. The list of commitments followed an independent, external review examining Mercy Corps’ handling of reports of sexual abuse by Mercy Corps’ late co-founder brought to the organization’s attention in 2018. 

“The closing of almost all of our commitments to action represents a significant effort since 2020 by numerous teams and individuals across the organization to ensure we have the structures, policies, systems and accountability mechanisms in place to protect and center the communities and people we serve. These investments continue today, and will continue as a priority in our new 10-year-strategy, Pathway to Possibility,” says Tjada D’Oyen McKenna, Chief Executive Officer of Mercy Corps.

Mercy Corps has now completed 20 out of 23 commitments to action, including closing two more commitments as of this report:

  • Commitment 11: Conduct an investigation into how Mercy Corps’ safeguarding policies are working in practice to ensure that policies are implemented effectively and sufficiently resourced. In June 2022, internationally recognized safeguarding experts, Global Child Protection Services (GCPS) finished a comprehensive review of Mercy Corps’ safeguarding policies. The policies were reviewed against donor expectations, sector standards and best practice, and benchmarked against peer organizations. GCPS found that our policies generally meet or exceed sector standards, and recommended we clarify and strengthen some of the content in our policies. In 2023, we will incorporate recommendations from this review into revisions of several policies.
  • Commitment 20: Review and update relevant policies and position descriptions of Executive Team members to ensure that, when applicable, responsibilities around safeguarding, ethics, diversity, inclusion and culture are included when the Board Compensation Committee performs their annual review. Position descriptions have been updated to include revised language that identifies behavioral expectations and responsibilities around safeguarding, ethics, diversity, inclusion and culture. All Executive Leadership Team position descriptions have been updated to include similar language, and will be standardized for all leadership positions in FY24. Mercy Corps’ People Team has also launched a comprehensive review and refresh of the performance review process this year, which includes standardizing expected behaviors related to inclusion, integrity and ethical decision making for all levels of the organization. 

Closing two more commitments builds on significant changes made since early 2020 to review, restructure and resource our legal, ethics, safeguarding policies and functions; develop stronger community accountability mechanisms; and strengthen governance and accountability across Board and organizational leadership. 

A complete summary of Mercy Corps’ response to details of abuse by co-founder Ellsworth Culver, including the organization’s commitments to action, can be found on the Mercy Corps website here