Ethiopia 2020 Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) Strategy

Manual and Guideline
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PSEA Strategy's Endorsement

We the undersigned members of the humanitarian and development community in Ethiopia, hereby commit to implement and monitor in a coordinated and meaningful manner this Strategy on protection from sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA).

This PSEA Strategy reflects our people centered approach and our accountability to the affected populations (AAP) we are committed to serve with dignity and respect.

This PSEA Strategy is endorsed in Ethiopia by:

  • The PSEA Network on 17 August 2020
  • The Inter-Agency Accountability Working Group (IAAWG) on 19 August 2020
  • The Inter-Cluster Coordination Group (ICCG) on 19 August 2020
  • The Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) on 17 September 2020


The UN and its partners in Ethiopia have a zero-tolerance policy on all aspects of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA). This strategy in place affirms the commitment of all UN, affiliated workforces and partners in Ethiopia to actively prevent and respond to incidents of SEA by staff and affiliated personnel.

It is not acceptable for any person in a position of power to abuse their authority under any circumstances and especially against persons with specific needs of concern to the humanitarian and development community, including refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). Acts of SEA undermine the credibility of the UN and its partners and breaches the principle of Do No Harm.

The UN and its partners recognize their leadership responsibility to strengthen the fight against SEA in Ethiopia, in order to achieve a true system of collective accountability.

SEA refers specifically to acts committed against members of the affected population by humanitarian and development actors, including international and national personnel of the UN, Government and NGO partners. SEA represents a failure on the part of organizations to provide protection and care for communities, especially for the segments of the population with special needs.

The goal is to establish a robust and sustainable system among humanitarian and development actors to prevent, investigate and respond to incidents of SEA. Communities and individuals should be empowered to report incidents and should feel assured that their complaints will be treated confidentially and handled efficiently. Perpetrators should be held to account and disciplinary action taken to promote justice and accountability, to support survivors, as an example to others.

The overall vision is that the humanitarian and development communities treat the people we are here to serve with dignity and respect and send a strong message that there is no place for sexual exploitation and abuse in the delivery of humanitarian or development assistance.


PSEA: Prevention of, protection from, and response to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA), with an emphasis on victim assistance.
(see Annex 1: Definitions)

PSEA is a form of gender-based violence (GBV) and a breach of Accountability to Affected Populations (AAP).

Leadership: The humanitarian and development actors in Ethiopia will take a strong leadership role in requiring full compliance with PSEA policies amongst its own staff and implementing partner organisations.

Obligations and Accountabilities:

  • We are all individually and collectively responsible to ensure PSEA.

  • PSEA is a system-wide obligation, for which the RC/HC has the ultimate accountability in Ethiopia.

A collective action to achieve a people-centered approach. The approach of this strategy is to be inclusive of all interested counterparts in Ethiopia. It is therefore fostering a collective approach to all PSEA components within the Humanitarian-Development-Peace (HDP) Nexus. The focus of this strategy is on people affected and communities as the driver of actions.

Six IASC Core Principles relating to SEA define sexual misconduct by Humanitarian and Development Actors in Ethiopia and its implications.
(see Annex 2: IASC 6 Core Principles relating to SEA)

PSEA Strategy in Ethiopia – Revision and Timeframe

  • This revised Strategy is set for the remaining of 2020.

  • The next version of this strategy will cover a period of two years, i.e. 2021-2022.

A PSEA Network comprised of 40+ members: International and National NGOS, Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS), UN Agencies, Government of Ethiopia (GoE) technical Ministries, Inter-Agency Accountability Working Group (IAAWG), Safeguarding Resource and Support Hub, etc.
(see Annex 3: PSEA Network in Ethiopia Members)

Five PSEA Working Groups ensure division of labour amongst agencies and organisations to support the implementation of the Work Plan. They cover this Strategy’s related tools’ design, Staff capacity building/training, Community Based Complaints Mechanisms (CBCMs), Communication with Communities (CwC), and Innovations. The PSEA Working Group on CBCM is led jointly with the Inter-Agency Accountability Working Group (IAAWG).
(see Annex 4: Five PSEA Working Groups)

Inter-Agency Work Plan and Action Plan: Both an Inter-Agency Work Plan (HCT related) and an Action Plan (UNCT related) define the activities to be conducted by end of 2020 and support proper monitoring. These global planning tools are complementary. The Inter-Agency Work Plan serves here as the working reference.

Context: The current COVID-19 crisis and socio-political situation in Ethiopia require flexibility and innovation. This may lead to adjustments to the PSEA Inter-Agency Work Plan for the remaining of 2020.