Advancing Duty of Care and Healthy Workplaces – Handbook for NGOs

Produced by GCHW and Cigna Foundation

Duty of Care NGOs

This Global Centre for Healthy Workplaces and Cigna Foundation Handbook for Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) was developed with the assistance of NGOs, such as the CHS Alliance, and experts in the field, with the aim of providing a practical guide NGOs can use to advance the Duty of Care concept within their organisations and create healthy workplaces, both traditional and non-traditional, for the benefit of their employees.

The NGO Challenge
A non-governmental organization (NGO) is a nonprofit organization that is independent of governments and international governmental organizations.Non-Governmental Organisations NGOs play an important part in the fabric of communities and economies. According to the US State Department, there are roughly 3.7 million NGOs in the world—, two million in India alone— with the first dating back to the founding of the United Nations in 1945, when certain organisations were granted NGO observer status.

When examining challenges specific to the health and wellbeing of NGO employees, one needs to take a closer look at what kinds of groups of NGOs exist. NGOs take on a variety of social challenges covering education, health, environment, human rights, etc. Types are commonly classified by orientation and level of operation. The orientation can be charitable, service, participatory and empowering. The latter comes with a maximum involvement of the beneficiaries with NGOs acting as facilitators. NGOs can be community-based, city-wide, state-wide, national or international.

This Handbook has the following goals:

  1. Raise awareness of challenges related to staff health and wellbeing specific to NGOs;
  2. Advocate for a more progressive understanding of Duty of Care towards wellbeing and healthy workplaces;
  3. Provide practical guidance and resources, which NGOs can adopt and use for their own purpose;
  4. Feature current case studies in order to advance enhanced learning and sharing amongst NGOs.

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