key policies

Health and Safety Policy

Civitas takes its responsibility for contributing to public health and safety very seriously.
At this time, additional measures are implemented to ensure the health of Civitas staff, counterparts from other organisations, and the Government of Lao, as well as villagers with whom we work.

These measures include:

  1. Check with local authorities for current regulations if planning a meeting of more than 50
    participants.
  2. Meetings to be held in outdoor spaces to enable social distancing where appropriate.
  3. Check with local authorities for current regulations on wearing of face masks
  4. All Civitas staff will be trained to pay extra attention to hygiene, including hand hygiene, when
    traveling and working in villages.
  5. Hand sanitiser, or an alcohol spray, will be regularly used.
  6. Civitas staff will carry their own water bottles, which they will take out of the village when they
    leave. No garbage will be left in the village.

Before leaving Vientiane, make sure each vehicle or survey team has the following:

  • a first aid kit
  • the updated emergency contact numbers information
  • face masks, alcohol, spray bottles, hand sanitizer, paper towels
  • drinking water
  • the safe driver policy

Anti-Corruption Policy Statement

It is Civitas policy to conduct all of our work in an honest and ethical manner. We take a zero-tolerance approach to bribery and corruption and are committed to acting professionally, fairly and with integrity in all our business dealings and relationships and in the promotion of Civitas values.

Any Civitas employee who breaches this policy will face disciplinary action, which could result in dismissal for gross misconduct. Any non-employee who breaches this policy (or we have reasonable suspicion to believe this is the case) may have their contract terminated with immediate effect.

This policy is part of every employee’s contract of employment and we may amend it, in writing, at any time.

WHO MUST COMPLY WITH THIS POLICY?

This policy applies to all persons working for us or on our behalf in any capacity, including employees at all levels, directors, officers, agency workers, seconded workers, volunteers, interns, agents, contractors, external consultants, third-party representatives and business partners.

WHAT IS BRIBERY?

Bribery means a financial or other inducement or reward for action which is illegal, unethical, a breach of trust or improper in any way. Bribes can take the form of money, gifts, loans, fees, hospitality, services, discounts, the award of a contract or any other advantage or benefit.

Bribery includes offering, promising, giving, accepting or seeking a bribe.

All forms of bribery are strictly prohibited. If you are unsure about whether a particular act constitutes bribery, raise it with your manager or Emma Pelletreau, Managing Director at Civitas (emma@civitasconsulting.com).

Specifically, you must not:

give or offer any payment, gift, hospitality or other benefit in the expectation that a business advantage will be received in return, or to reward any business received;

accept any offer from a third party that you know or suspect is made with the expectation that we will provide a business advantage for them or anyone else; or

give or offer any payment (sometimes called a facilitation payment) to a government official in any country to facilitate or speed up a routine or necessary procedure;

threaten or retaliate against another Person who has refused to offer or accept a bribe or who has raised concerns about possible bribery or corruption.

GIFTS AND HOSPITALITY

This policy does not prohibit the giving or accepting of reasonable and appropriate hospitality for legitimate purposes such as building relationships, maintaining Civitas’s image or reputation, or promoting our company goals and values.

A gift or hospitality will not be appropriate if it is unduly lavish or extravagant, or could be seen as an inducement or reward for any preferential treatment (for example, during contractual negotiations or a tender process).

Gifts must be of an appropriate type and value depending on the circumstances and taking account of the reason for the gift. Gifts must not include cash or cash equivalent (such as vouchers), or be given in secret. Gifts must be given in the name of Civitas – not your own name.

Promotional gifts of low value such as project or company merchandise may be given to our existing suppliers and business partners and we can accept equivalent gifts from them.

RECORD-KEEPING

You must declare and keep a written record of all hospitality or gifts given or received. You must also submit all expenses claims relating to hospitality, gifts or payments to third parties in accordance with our expenses policy and record the reason for expenditure.

All accounts, invoices, and other records relating to dealings with third parties including suppliers should be prepared with strict accuracy and completeness. Accounts must not be kept “off-book” to facilitate or conceal improper payments.

HOW TO RAISE A CONCERN

If you are offered a bribe, or are asked to make one, or if you suspect that any bribery, corruption or other breach of this policy has occurred or may occur, you must notify your manager or Emma Pelletreau, Managing Director of Civitas on emma@civitas-consulting.com as soon as possible.

Gender Policy Statement

Civitas works with women and men to contribute to sustainable development through participatory data collection and research. By supporting development partners we can contribute to prosperity in our communities, reduce poverty and increase resilience among our beneficiaries and their communities. We recognize that maximizing the inclusive economic growth that is required to achieve widespread prosperity requires the full and unencumbered participation of women and girls. Our commitment to programmatic excellence therefore necessitates that our work and our organization engage, empower and benefit both women and men. We believe that this gender policy, by providing a clear and consistent message on our gender equality commitment, will maximize project effectiveness, strengthen our organization, enhance program resources, improve coordination with internal and external partners, and increase accountability.

This gender policy defines Civitas’ explicit commitment to advancing gender equality through our work as we believe it will maximize operational and organizational effectiveness and improve our contribution to sustainable poverty alleviation.

Civitas commits to ensuring that:

  • the contributions of both women and men are visible and valued;
  • both women and men are listened to and exercise influence; and
  • women and men have equal access to, and benefit from, information, assets, services and
    opportunities.

POLICY IMPLEMENTATION

We seek to achieve the policy’s objectives through actions focused on both our programming and on our practices and culture.

We intend to integrate gender into our programming in the following ways:

Gender analyses: Gender equality means recognizing that men and women often have different needs and priorities, face different constraints, have different aspirations, and contribute to development in different ways. To enable the exploration and understanding of gender differences, we will systematically deploy and continuously improve tools to assess the needs of both males and females in our formative research and monitoring and evaluation. We will also strive to ensure that all staff understand the different roles, responsibilities and experiences of women and men in relation to the issues being addressed by the project. Gender technical advisors will undertake targeted analyses aimed at testing hypotheses, gaining deeper understanding of gender-based needs,

1 Gender equality entails the concept that all human beings, both women and men, are free to develop their
personal abilities and make choices without the limitations set by stereotypes, rigid gender roles or prejudices.
Gender equality means that the different behaviors, aspirations and needs of women and men are considered,
valued and favored equally. Source: UN Women, Guidance Note Gender Mainstreaming in Development
Programming, 2014
2 References to “women” and “men” in this policy are, where appropriate, inclusive of girls and boys respectively.

Gender-sensitive design: Draw upon research, analysis and experiences to design projects that advance gender equality through our operations.

Gender-integrated implementation: Project implementation strives to achieve equitable economic and social benefits for women and men.

Sex-disaggregated data: Systematic collection and analysis of sex-disaggregated data to understand if and how issues affect females and males differently.

Learning: Systematic capturing and sharing of programmatic lessons learned in relation to intended and unintended impacts on the lives of women and men, including impact on gender equality.

Civitas commits to the process of incorporating a gender perspective into our practices, our organizational policies, strategies, administrative functions and organizational culture. Civitas is at its most effective at delivering gender-integrated programming when our own policies and processes are gender-sensitive and support gender equality. Civitas recognizes that this is an ongoing process that will require sustained commitment of will, time and resources. We further recognize that gender inequality is a relational issue, and as such, it can only be addressed by working with men as well as women. In practice this will require us to examine and (where necessary) revise the policies, formal and informal practices, and characteristics of our organization to ensure that they support gender equality.

Our activities will include:

Gender-sensitive policies: Gender-sensitive language and gender equality principles incorporated into policies.

Committed leadership: Leaders regularly communicating and demonstrating their commitment to organizational gender equality, e.g. through the recognition of efforts to advance policy objectives.

Gender training: Gender capacity-building opportunities made available to staff, e.g. through trainings and elearning platforms.

HR practices: Gender-sensitive and gender-equitable practices integrated into:

  • Job recruitment and hiring;
  • Performance evaluations; and
  • Remuneration-related processes to ensure equal pay for equal work.

Female staff targets: Our ambition is to achieve gender balance throughout our work and at all levels. Civitas will continue to insist that advancement and hiring through merit is critical to our success. Women’s ability to enter and advance at Civitas will not be because of their gender but because of their talent, insight and experience.

ACCOUNTABILITY
Civitas commits to undertaking an organizational gender self-assessment to learn from our ongoing gender integration work and to identify opportunities for improvement.

Child Safe Code of Conduct

While implementing all activities, Civitas staff will:

  • treat children with respect regardless of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status;
  • not use language or behaviour towards children that is inappropriate, harassing, abusive, sexually provocative, demeaning or culturally inappropriate;
  • not engage children in any form of sexual activity or acts, including paying for sexual services or acts where, under the law(s) applicable to the child, the child is below the age of consent or the act(s) are an offence under relevant laws;
  • wherever possible, ensure that another adult is present when working in the proximity of children;
  • not invite unaccompanied children into a member of the staff’s home without the permission of their parent/guardian, unless they are at immediate risk of injury or in physical danger;
  • not sleep close to unsupervised children unless absolutely necessary, In which case all Civitas staff must obtain the supervisor’s permission, and ensure that another adult is present if possible;
  • use any computers, mobile phones, or video and digital cameras appropriately, and never exploit or harass children or access child pornography through any medium (see also ‘Use of children’s images for work-related purposes’);
  • refrain from physical punishment or discipline of children: refrain from hiring children for domestic or other labour which is inappropriate given their age or developmental stage, which interferes with their time available for education and recreational activities, or which places them at significant risk of injury. Comply with all relevant Lao and local legislation, including labour laws in relation to child labour; and
  • immediately report concerns or allegations of child abuse in accordance with appropriate procedures.

Use of children’s images for work-related purposes

When photographing or filming a child for work-related purposes, Civitas staff must:

  • before photographing or filming a child, assess and endeavour to comply with local traditions or restrictions for reproducing personal images;
  • before photographing or filming a child, obtain consent from the child or a parent or guardian of the child. As part of this it must be explained how the photograph or film will be used;
  • ensure photographs, films, videos and DVDs present children in a dignified and respectful manner and not in a vulnerable or submissive manner. Children should be adequately clothed and not in poses that could be seen as sexually suggestive;
  • ensure images are honest representations of the context and the facts; and ensure file labels do not reveal identifying information about a child when sending images electronically.

Civitas staff will use common sense to avoid actions or behaviours that could be construed as child abuse, and will report any suspected cases of child abuse to Civitas when implementing any project activities.

Environmental Protection Policy Statement

Purpose
Civitas Co. Ltd. acknowledges our responsibility to the environment, and we express our commitment towards implementing practices which will promote environmental sustainability. The following policy governs the management of the environmental aspects of our company, with specific focus on the conservation of resources and the reduction of waste.
This policy relates to how all operations in our company will be continually reviewed and improved, so that we will truly be able to integrate environmental and social considerations into our everyday practices.

The company will consistently strive to raise awareness in the community through active participation in business chambers, with other local businesses, and with embassies in Vientiane. Civitas encourages local participation and ideas generation, supports local initiatives for recycling, and trains employees in environmental matters.

Principles

  • Comply with any laws governing the environment, and actively look for ways to improve on these guidelines.
  • Work towards the conservation of energy, water and resources in all our operations.
  • Strive to better understand both the direct and indirect impact that our practices may have on the environment.
  • Promote environmental awareness throughout all operations of the company.
  • Provide training to staff on implementing our sustainable policies.
  • Make explicit our commitment to local environmental protection through staff policies:
  • Never buy, eat, hunt, or encourage others to otherwise procure wildlife, not limited to endangered species, but all wildlife in the Lao PDR while working for Civitas
  • Make thoughtful decisions on the buying and eating of Non Timber Forest Products, ensuring, ensuring that any consumption is not from the endangered list
  • Dispose of waste thoughtfully, and develop an attitude of “reducing, recycling and reusing.”
  • Lessen our environmental impact by purchasing environmentally-friendly products and services.
  • Work with our entire supply chain in order to gain mutual benefits of incorporating environmentally sustainable goals into everyday business.
  • Regularly review our business practices, and determine whether each practice is suitable in an environmental context.
  • Work with other companies to benchmark our practices, and determine whether our goals have been reached.