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Do No Harm: a guiding principle for all Loop actions

August 1, 2022
February 6, 2023

The principle of ‘Do No Harm’ has its origins in medical practice and stems from the Hippocratic Oath.  It has been applied to the humanitarian and development sectors to ensure that there are no negative effects to aid; that is, that humanitarian and development actors should cause no further damage or suffering as a result of their actions. 

The principle has been adopted in various humanitarian guiding documents such as the Core Humanitarian Standard as well as the SPHERE project and is widely considered to be a guiding principle for all humanitarian and development programs, albeit not very ambitious its main goal is for us not to assume that all actions help.  Some have negative consequences for local people and this has been evidenced for decades. 

Loop applies the Do No Harm principle in all of our actions as a bare minimum. This includes how we strategise our roll-out in a country, and the preparation work that we do before roll-out. For example: 

  • testing and prototyping Loop with communities, 
  • mapping referral pathways particularly for gender-based- violence and child protection, 
  • vetting local partners and staff, 
  • ensuring data protection and safe data storage, 
  • among others.  

We also ensure that no harm is done during our moderation and referrals of sensitive stories. People place their trust in Loop to manage their stories sensitively and professionally to get impact for them.  If, for example, a particular story may cause harm if it is posted on our open platform, we will treat it as a sensitive story and refer it to the Case Manager.  When we handle sensitive stories, we communicate closely with the author of the story to make sure that any next steps are taken with their consent and are guided by them.  

At the core of our work, we want to make sure that we are guided by best international practices and are always striving to improve.  Our staff (Moderators and Case Managers) undergo continuous training to ensure that we are aligned with best practices and in each country's context, we are engaging with stakeholders to make sure we are well integrated into the existing ecosystem.

One way to ensure that this is not an afterthought but a permanent way of working is to embed it into all of our systems and processes. For example we have Charitable Franchise structures in each country to ensure local ownership and representation. We include feedback and open accountability into our recruitment processes - inviting applicants to ask questions from the panel about Loop as an employer. And having open risk registers and staff policies where everyone is invited to suggest improvements and updates. Or having our Data Privacy Policy open and available as an image, as bullet points and in different languages to help people be informed about what we do with data.

We are constantly learning and improving and invite any suggestions or feedback to ensure we continue to add value and not do harm as we increasingly become a part of the humanitarian and development ecosystem in different countries.

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