Dóchas Code of Conduct on Images and Messages under Review

15/04/2011 at 7:42 am 1 comment

By Holy Ramanankasina

Four years after the adoption of the Code of Conduct on Images and Messages by the Dóchas AGM in 2007, and following feedback from signatories and other stakeholders (including members of the public), garnered from various events (meetings, workshops, trainings …), there was a clear need for an update on what was working, what was not, and what should be done to address this, in order to reinforce the Code, and make it more effective.

As part of its 2011 work plan, the Dóchas Development Education Group has decided to work on a review of the Code of Conduct on Images and Messages with the aim of strengthening the Code. The review process, which is led by a Task Group on the Code, has the following objectives:

  • To revise the Code.
  • To make the Code more user-friendly by developing an illustrative guide to compliment it.
  • To promote greater ownership of the Code among signatories.
  • To devise indicators to ensure implementation of the Code’s principles.
  • To recommend a monitoring mechanism to ensure compliance with the principles of the Code.

It is not the intention of the group to rewrite the Code but rather to update it should any recommendations require it to do so. The ‘review’ is rather a methodology used for strengthening the Code.

The process will involve a series of consultations around the Code in Dublin and elsewhere (Limerick – to be confirmed) and various groups will be approached. Four workshops designed as a process of consultation with relevant development organisation staff and other interested parties are scheduled to take place.

The first workshop took place on 15 March as part of the Africa Centre Seminar: “Beyond the Picture – Uncovering the Grey Area of Images and Messages!”. The target audience was NGO staff and individuals working in or with interest in fundraising. The workshop comprised of three general sections: Review of Principles; Monitoring Criteria and Monitoring Mechanisms. Various exercises were designed to ensure that participants could contribute their views and analysis of the Code of Conduct in these areas as well as to allow for written feedback to be compiled by participants throughout the process.

A second workshop is scheduled on 11 May, and it is hoped that it will be held in Limerick. It will focus on suggestions around monitoring. The third workshop will take place on 23 June as part of the Dóchas annual feedback meeting for signatories to the Code. All signatories will be invited to input in the process by taking a deeper look at initial ideas from previous workshops, and contributing their views drawn from their experience of implementing the Code. Last workshop is planned to take place on 13 October in Dublin. As well as looking into feedback received by then, this workshop will also focus on the development of an illustrative guide to compliment the Code.

The group intends to submit review findings/recommendations to the Dóchas Board in early 2012. And it is hoped that the review will be approved by the Dóchas AGM in 2012.

More information on the Code at: www.dochas.ie/code

Entry filed under: Development Effectiveness, NGOs. Tags: , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Conall  |  20/05/2011 at 11:17 am


    Recently, when travelling home from a visit to Ethiopia a discussion arose among a number of other passengers on the flight. On the flight were a number of people from an international organisation that works with children which had brought a crew of volunteers to do a work blitz in Ethiopia.

    One of the organisers was concerned that many of the volunteers had taken photos while doing their volunteer work. Many children featured in the photos. The organiser was rightly concerned about how the images would be used. The organisation itself (based in another country) is committed to good practice in its official communications and ensures concent, names, etc in its photos. But many of the volunteers had taken photos that
    might be without concent,
    might be less than respectful, and even demeaning,
    probably involved children.

    Probably some of these photos will be used in individual fundraising activities for the charity. Others will be shown down the pub or posted on the volunteers Facebook page, etc.

    It left me wondering about the code on images, and if there is a review taking place, this may be the time to consider:

    How well does the Code take into account photos taken by staff and volunteers but not to be used as official communications by the organisation? Should volunteers going overseas with Code signatory organisations be required to commit to the code?

    How well does the Code attend to child protection issues?




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