Anglican Overseas Aid’s underpinning values capture the essence of what we stand for.
Along with justice, peace and reconciliation, we are also committed to acting in solidarity with the poor and marginalised, responding to their needs with compassion, and working in respectful ways that highlight their own strengths. We do this so that the end result of our work is that communities drive their own positive change.
The stories we tell along the way, both of development challenges and success, must reflect our values. Even more than that, they need to play a part in highlighting the unity we should have as humans in a global community. That is why this last year we have been working on putting a guide together for our team. This guide helps us to communicate stories in the best possible way, as always, with a commitment to truth, accuracy as well as dignity, and protections for those we work with.
The guide is called our Ethical Decision-Making Framework for Communications (EDMF). We know that often telling stories about poverty, need and transformation can touch on issues of vulnerability and trauma, and might involve triggering topics such as abuse and violence. This can impact the person telling the story, the person collecting the story, and those who read the published story.
To deal with these sensitivities, our EDMF puts together a series of questions that help guide our communications, both in text and images, and explores possible consequences of the way we collect, store, discuss and publish our stories. These questions are carefully designed to protect everyone involved, but particularly the most vulnerable, such as women, children and people living with a disability. They also serve to preserve privacy, and ensure our stories only ever promote the dignity of the people we work with.
In 2021 we intend to migrate to a cloud-based Digital Asset Management System so that we can securely store and more accurately catalogue our library of stories and images. We feel this will help us ethically manage sometimes very sensitive materials.
Story telling can be very a powerful tool in bringing about positive change. However, it is not without risk. Integrity is central to us and we take very seriously our ethical obligations in relation to the stories and pictures that we are entrusted with. We will, as best we can, communicate local voices, offer respect and sensitivity, advocate for rights, and inspire compassion and global responsibility.