In a just-released interview, AfDB Ombuds Amabel Orraca-Ndiaye said she will make a number of changes to make her office more effective. She explained that her aim is to involve a wider number of people in nurturing a more peaceful and harmonious work place environment.
Orraca-Ndiaye said that the Ombuds field is dynamic and outlined five initiatives and strategies.
- Firstly, together with the team, we hope to increasingly engage managers, resident representatives, leads, supervisors and supervisees in civil conversation. Using the induction programs organized by Human Resources Department, CRMU and/or specialized sessions organized by the Office with organization units and field offices as well as our private discussions with complainants to provide regular guidance in application of staff rules and ethical behavior. We shall use the same means to remind staff of the values of the Bank and the importance of us all to live by those values.
- Secondly, we shall extend the skills development and training programs beyond conflict management and mediation to those that embrace issues of staff dignity, respect and impunity at the workplace.
- Thirdly, you will agree with me that to effectively rout systemic problems, detect root causes of conflict and tensions we have to join hands with other organization units/offices of the Bank mandated to provide staff recourse and ensure internal justice. Consequently, while still adhering to our Code of Ethics of confidentiality, neutrality/impartiality, informality, and independence, we shall work more closely with the Staff Council (SCO) (Staff Council), Ethics Office, Human Resources Department, Compliance Review and Mediation Unit (CRMU)in order to contribute more towards bridging gaps in the implementation of policy and reducing both the human and financial cost of conflict to the Bank.
- Fourthly, we shall draw on ideas/practices of other institutions through the collaborative ombudsmen and mediators networks described earlier to enhance the delivery capacity of the Office in the Bank and share Bank experience in promoting a conflict competent institution to our external partners.
- Fifthly, we shall revamp our website to provide more information about our services and seek feedback on our service delivery for making further improvements. We shall enrich the quality of our Newsletter. All of these will be geared towards encouraging staff to use the informal recourse system in handling complaints and to assist the Bank to reduce the human and financial cost of conflict on its limited resources. It goes without saying that, using the Ombuds Office provides informal, confidential, neutral, impartial and independent and a more secured “Listening Ear” for staff complaints, conflict management and mediation.
Orraca-Ndiaye is a member of the International Ombudsman Association and the United Nation of the United Nations and Related International Organizations (UNARIO) Ombudsmen and Mediators network. (AfDB News.)