Oversight Roundtable Underscores Importance of Prevention and Prompt Reporting
WASHINGTON, July 9, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Agency for International Development Office of Inspector General, or USAID OIG, hosted its third annual oversight roundtable for international development and humanitarian aid implementers. This year's event centered on preventing sexual exploitation and abuse in foreign assistance programs, with participants from approximately 100 USAID implementers discussing common circumstances in which sexual abuse and exploitation can occur based on cases reported to OIG and how to address them.
"Sexual exploitation and abuse betrays the very people aid is supposed to benefit and demands nothing less than our immediate and enduring attention," declared USAID Inspector General Ann Calvaresi Barr. "This year's emphasis on preventing sexual exploitation and abuse reflects OIG's commitment to ensure that USAID and its implementers promote and provide for the safety and dignified treatment of all program beneficiaries. The organizations attending today's event are on the frontlines of U.S.-funded development and humanitarian aid programs worldwide. Like USAID, they are also responsible for preventing fraud and abuse, detecting it early when it happens, and promptly and properly reporting allegations."
Through its oversight of humanitarian aid programs, OIG identified substantial vulnerabilities related to the prevention and detection of sexual abuse and exploitation. In response, OIG notified USAID of vulnerabilities in reporting requirements and has participated in industry-wide discussions, including the Inspector General's address to implementers at the USAID Administrator's March 2018 Forum on Preventing Sexual Misconduct.
Assistant Inspector General for Investigations Dan Altman said of the roundtable, "Industry outreach to proactively share oversight information is a major priority for USAID OIG, and this annual event provides an excellent forum for practitioners and investigators to come together to ensure the most updated information is available to thwart fraud, waste, and abuse—including sexual exploitation and abuse. We want to move beyond conversation to prompt action and meaningful reforms."
Roundtable attendees heard from panels of experts on preventing sexual exploitation and abuse and discussed best practices for handling related allegations. Topics included expectations for prompt reporting and challenges to investigating sexual exploitation and abuse allegations in often difficult operating environments. USAID OIG special agents also presented lessons learned from OIG investigations and case studies. Information from the event will be used to update OIG's Fraud Prevention and Compliance Handbook, a resource for implementers of foreign assistance programs.
USAID OIG has focused on critical challenges to U.S.-funded humanitarian assistance programs, including procurement fraud and corruption and preventing the diversion of aid, and concealing of material support, to terrorist entities. OIG presented this year's event in partnership with Humentum to help participants develop strategies to prevent, detect, report, and address serious misconduct in international development and humanitarian aid programs.
Additional roundtable sessions addressed fraud trends and risks, vulnerabilities in cash-based transfer programs, material support to terrorism, third party monitoring, public corruption outside the United States, and fraud reporting expectations. The roundtable brought together nearly 225 representatives from over 100 nongovernmental organizations and USAID contractors. USAID OIG panelists included special agents, analysts, and legal staff. USAID officials also participated, including representatives from the Administrator's Action Alliance for Preventing Sexual Misconduct.
USAID employees, contractors, grantees, and beneficiaries may report suspected cases of fraud, waste, or abuse to USAID OIG through its public website or by using the information below:
1 (800) 230-6539
U.S. Agency for International
Office of Inspector General
P.O. Box 657
Washington, D.C., 20044-0657
USAID OIG safeguards and strengthens U.S. foreign assistance through timely, relevant, and impactful oversight, including investigations and audits. OIG also conducts oversight of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, U.S. African Development Foundation, the Inter-American Foundation, and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
Press Office: 202-712-1150
SOURCE USAID OIG