The Equality Plan of Maailmanvaihto

The plan (in Finnish) has been approved in the annual meeting of Maailmanvaihto on 7.11.2018.

Maailmanvaihto organizes intercultural learning experiences for young adults and advances their social growth and personal development. Maailmanvaihto advances intercultural understanding, equality, and peace in the world. Maailmanvaihto is a religiously and politically uncommitted non-governmental organization. In practice, Maailmanvaihto carries out ethical international volunteering programmes and does global education work in Finland. The values guiding the activities of Maailmanvaihto are intercultural learning, global responsibility and active citizenship. As a peace organization Maailmanvaihto pursues a socially equal world.

In this plan, we aim at mapping the current state of equality in the activities of Maailmanvaihto, recognizing possible defects as well as setting aims and defining concrete actions for advancing them. The board member in charge of the equality matters, along with other members of the board and the staff of the organization, will aim at actively creating a safe and equal ground for the activities of Maailmanvaihto.

Implementing the plan, informing and evaluating

Yearly, a person in charge of the equality matters will be selected among the board members of Maailmanvaihto. This person will oversee the realization of the equality plan. The plan will be evaluated and, in case needed, updated yearly at the  autumn or spring meeting of the organization. The plan approved by the annual meeting will be sent via email to the staff and the board and published at the website of the organization.

Background for equality work

Present state

The board of Maailmanvaihto takes equality into account in its activities. In 2018, a person in charge of the equality matters was assigned for the organization for the first time. Wider mapping of the current situation has not been done. An equality plan has not been done previously.

Aim

Maailmanvaihto strives for equality in its actions and in terms of working environment

Actions

We will make it a yearly action to define duties for the person in charge of the equality matters and to make an equality plan. We will map the current state of equality especially with a questionnaire targeted at our active participants. Based on the results of the questionnaire, the equality plan will be updated.

Focus points for the year 2019

1) Sexual harassment and discrimination cases

Present state

In the activities of Maailmanvaihto individual cases of sexual harassment have been faced. These have been intervened by the office staff with adequate means and, if needed, by making use of external professional help. There are no established practices for reporting harassment or discrimination.

Aim

The activities of Maailmanvaihto are safe for the participants. Nobody is discriminated in the activities e.g. based on gender, sexual orientation or ethnicity. Possible cases of harassment or discrimination are handled adequately.

Actions

We will create an electronic form via which sexual harassment or discrimination can be reported anonymously. In the form confidentiality will be highlighted and support practices introduced. The reports via the form will be handled among the secretary general, the chairperson as well as the person in charge of the equality matters. We will regularize practices for personal contacts. We will handle sexual harassment, discrimination and the practices to report them in orientations and trainings. We will make an action plan for preventing sexual harassment and handling it and we will document the support process which is already in use in the cases of sexual harassment.

2) Need for special support and accessibility

Present state

Maailmanvaihto aims at giving the needed individual support for the people participating in its activities. There are no established practices. The office of Maailmanvaihto is not entirely accessible. There is a step on the entrance and there is not a wheelchair accessible toilet in the space. Trainings and events of the organization are organized also in rented spaces. The accessibility of different premises has not been systematically mapped. Only rarely have people with physical disabilities participated in the activities of Maailmanvaihto. In the descriptions on voluntary workplaces accessibility information has not been mapped.

Aim

Everyone can participate in the activities of Maailmanvaihto and get the kind of support they need. The possibility to get support is well known.

Actions

Each team maps the accessibility of their activities and ways for improving it. The teams decide a person in charge who can give support or guide the participants of the team to special support. We will especially map especially the possibilities of people with physical disabilities to take part in the activities. We will map in more detail the inaccessibility of the office of Maailmanvaihto. At the same time we will ponder upon which kinds of actions could be taken within the budget to improve the accessibility. We will add information on the accessibility of the space into all descriptions of voluntary workplaces and training as well as into invitations to other events.

3) Safer space and taking diversity into account

Present state

Maailmanvaihto has not defined the principles of a safer space. The office of Maailmanvaihto participates in the campaign Discrimination-free Zone campaign. We have tried to take into account diversity (e.g. gender or sexuality) in the activities of the organization but there are no established practices or policies on the subject.

Aim

The spaces of Maailmanvaihto (the office, the spaces of trainings and events as will as social media platforms) are as safe as possible for everyone.

Activity

We will make for Maailmanvaihto principles of a safer space. The principles will include practices for an accepting atmosphere from the point of view of the organization. We will point at these principles in relation to trainings and events and moderate platforms of social media based on the principles. Into forms we will introduce “woman”, “man”, “other” and “I do not want to tell” as options for gender. We will aim at acknowledging and, if needed, avoiding gendered wording in communication and activities (e.g. pronouns in English). We will add into the pre-departure training further information on the varying attitudes towards sexual and gender minorities in different countries.

Other areas to be taken into account:

Communications work

Present state

The communication work of Maailmanvaihto takes place in the social media, on the website, via newsletter, in events and via member magazine. Communication work is mainly done in Finnish and in English. In the year 2018, the board of Maailmanvaihto has approved ethical instructions which guide all communication of the organization. The instructions have been given to all participants of the activities, such as volunteers who have a blog. In addition, training on ethical communication is organized in the training camps of the volunteers.

Aim

Maailmanvaihto informs widely about its activities so that the members get to hear about the activities well in advance. Different language groups are taken into the account in the communication activities. The communication work is ethical.

Actions

In the communication activities special attention will be given to communication in English and Swedish. The deployment of the ethical instructions will be regularized and the success in doing this will be evaluated. We will make a quality description on communication work from the point of view of ethicalness and taking into account the values of the organization. We will map the accessibility of the information.

Transparency of the activities

Present state

The board meetings are informed about via the mailing list of the board and a closed Facebook group. The agendas and minutes of the meetings are sent via the email list of the board. The members have the possibility to ask from the office information on the public decisions of the board if the wish. Part of the decisions are secret because of their sensitiveness and confidentiality. An invitation to the annual meeting, which is organized twice a year, is sent to all the members via e-mail and member magazine.

Aim

The activities and decision-making of Maailmanvaihto are transparent. All members have the possibility to participate in the activities and decision-making.

Actions

We will increase informing about the decisions of the board. We will ponder upon ways in which the wishes of the members could be better heard when it comes to the subjects of training.

Hiring

Present state

Maailmanvaihto has only three permanent paid employees and occasional temporary academy interns. The board of Maailmanvaihto has decided in the year 2018 to tie the salary of the staff to the minimal wages recommended by the trade union ERTO. The salaries are based on the job titles and job descriptions of the staff. The board of Maailmanvaihto does not get a salary for its activities. In recent years, the board and the office staff have been comprised mainly of female members and employees.

Aims

The activities and hiring grounds are equal and do not discriminate individuals based on their gender.

Actions

Since the staff of Maailmanvaihto is very small, it is not adequate to make a mapping on salaries (see the equality law which obligates only workplaces with over 30 people to make an equality plan and mapping on salaries). We will aim at taking into account the representativeness of gender when recruiting new employees and board members.

Economical accessibility

Present state

The membership of Maailmanvaihto is free for those who have participated in the ICYE programme for the first five years. This allows participating in the activities of the organization easily. The major part of the trainings which Maailmanvaihto offers for its members are free. Maailmanvaihto reimburses travel costs of active participants of the activities according to possibilities. The host families of international volunteers are supported financially if needed. The participation fees for voluntary work programmes abroad depend on the destination country and the length of the volunteering period. The board decides about the pricing of the programmes. Maailmanvaihto does not aim at making profit with the fees. The organization grants stipends on economical basis. Maailmanvaihto also sends and receives volunteers through the EU supported European Solidarity Corps Volunteering which is almost free of charge for the participant.

Aims

From the aspect of pricing, Maailmanvaihto will remain easily accessible for people in different socio-economic positions.

Actions

We will ensure that yearly free trainings, to which travel costs will be reimbursed, will be organized for the members of Maailmanvaihto. We will monitor the development of the participation fees in relation to the national price level.