Can we make our employees the healthiest and happiest? Strengthening Policy, Practice and Accountability for Staff Care and Well-being with Organisations working in Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation.
Alongside the delivery of our therapeutic services Ragamuffin Cambodia have been developing a Staff Care and Well-being certificate training programme in partnership with Chab Dai and their partner organisations working in the fields of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
Stress management and vicarious trauma is a critical issue. We work closely with organisations such as Chab Dai Partners to address the impact of stress related symptoms such as compassion fatigue and burnout. Sustaining staff in this way helps maintain the service they provide.
'Frontline staff deal with trauma, distress and challenge on a daily basis. Even those with the biggest hearts and capacity to care will be affected at some stage. The provision of adequate support and care is an essential pre-requisite for the sustainability of any programme'.
Phase one involved an intensive de-briefing process to also identify and assess the ongoing needs of 10 frontline organisations. Findings included:
- High levels of stress were reported in all organisations
- 80% of organisations needed to create a Staff Care Policy
- Critical gaps emerged in professional competency identified in key areas (such as therapeutic skills, supervision, conflict mediation, child protection, cross-cultural communication…)
- 100% organisations identified the urgent need to de-brief.
As a result of the findings from the assessment phase into the well-being, Ragamuffin introduced a 2-step programme to include:
1. The Introduction of a Certified Foundation course in ‘Staff Care and Wellbeing’.
2. To work towards the creation of Statutory and National Minimum Standards for Staff Care & Wellbeing in the NGO and statutory sector through a National Forum.
It aimed to provide a foundation for the creation of our joint vision to explore a Staff-Care and Well-Being Minimum Standards Policy for Cambodia; one that is practicable, achievable and effective.
The goal was to equip leaders and advocates for staff well-being both within their organisations and across Cambodia. Such an initiative to then have the potential for dissemination into other contexts around the world.
7 organisations took part in the foundation course.
Experiential training modules covered the following subjects:
- Policy & Protocol – The development of a Staff Care and Wellbeing Policy with reference to the overall Organisational Culture of Care. This will act as a document that identifies and affirms the values, ethos and features of a caring organisation and guides the organisation to that end.
- The creation and application of staff care & training plans and personal tools for self care
- Understanding Therapeutic Clinical Supervision, Personal Therapy, Conflict Transformation (so that participants could explain these things to someone else and identify when they are needed), along with Equal Opportunities and respect for difference (non-discrimination)
- How to assess the needs of staff and refer accordingly and appropriately (i.e. who needs what and why?)
Every module was rich in content and experience. Participants learnt through Ragamuffin’s creative, experiential training methodology, drawing from personal and professional experience and discovering the efficacy of each element of the course.
In addition to addressing the physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual needs of individuals, and how they are to be met, it also considered qualification and training needs along with the balance and alignment of structures and systems within organisations with the care and well-being of individuals, staff teams and the organisation as a whole.
“Now that I am cared in this way for I can care for others all the more effectively and understand their needs more deeply”
The objective was to have a resourced, effective and functional organisation – one that invests in, and cares for, its primary resource; its staff. It will identify and prioritise the needs of employees in the interests of both them, and the beneficiaries of the services provided.
The course included: tutorials and mentoring as the staff care and well being protocols were applied in context. Case studies and examples of best practice were presented at the Forum.
70 representatives from a host of organisations were represented at the Forum. The aim of the forum was to work towards the creation of Statutory and National Minimum Standards for Staff Care & Wellbeing in the NGO and statutory sector in Cambodia.
Course participants contributed their findings and the attendees at the forum provided feedback through working groups and creative exercises. The day was of great value in shaping and further developing policy and practice. Participants were visionary, and, most importantly, grounded and practical people who all held a passion for strengthening staff care in their organisations and the sector.
Ragamuffin are now working with Chab Dai to produce a manual to support the implementation of staff care policy and practice along with ongoing support for organisations to develop this further into their specific context.
Staff care and well-being is a top priority and essential for effective ethical and professional practice for any organisation working in this field. We hope this model can act as an inspiration for other contexts around the world.
Thank you for supporting this vital work.