What happened: NCA’s Head office received in 2020 a complaint with allegations of ethnic discrimination and favouritism, of a local NCA partner in a project area.
What did we do: As a result of the COVID-19 situation and consequent travel restrictions, NCA team was unable to immediately visit the project site for a formal investigation of the complaint. The follow up on this compliant was initially done remotely. The Country director, Programme Manager and Finance Manager coordinated the examination of the documents and reports of the partner in question.
The NCA country office presented an initial report to NCA head office in May/June 2020 addressing most of the concerns raised in the complaint. It was subsequently agreed that the few points that needed confirmation from the field level would be clarified once the COVID-19 situation allowed travel. As travel restrictions lifted the NCA Country office management investigated the issue during a visit to the project area in the second week of October 2020.
After a thorough investigation of documentation, reports, interviews, and the field visit NCA country office has confirmed that proper procedures and systems are in place and followed at the accused partner. The matters raised in the complaint have been investigated fully and the management of NCA in Pakistan believe that there is no cause for concerns about the operations of the partner and their staff. The allegations in the complaint were therefore found without basis.
What did we learn: The case displayed clearly for us that the more thorough an investigation is done, even if it takes time, especially during covid-times, WILL find the facts and reached an informed and correct conclusion. It also important that NCA Pakistan continue to highlight with partners the need to follow policies/practises in relation to tenders etc and that NCA provides opportunities to reinforce the capacity within partner staff dealing with such matters/procedures.