The Tertiary Education Scholarship Trust (TEST) for Africa is a UK-based charity providing needs-based scholarships for academically gifted young scholars from four African countries (Uganda, Ghana, Malawi and Tanzania) covering tuition fees, maintenance and books for them to study in their home country. TEST for Africa has four independent country offices in each of the countries of operation.
The purpose of this policy is:
To protect young people who receive TEST for Africa’s services. This includes young people who apply for scholarships but have not yet received them.
To provide staff and trustees with the overarching principles that guide our approach to safeguarding vulnerable young people
TEST for Africa believes that no young person should experience any type of abuse or exploitation. We have a responsibility to promote the welfare of our beneficiaries and those applying for support and to keep them safe. We are committed to practise in a way that protects them.
We will seek to keep young people safe by:
Valuing them, listening to them and respecting them
Adopting safeguarding practices through procedures and a code of conduct for staff and trustees
Using our procedures to manage any allegations against staff and trustees appropriately
Ensuring that we have effective complaints and whistleblowing measures in place
Sharing information about safeguarding and good practice with young people, staff and trustees via leaflets and one-to-one discussions
Recording and storing information professionally and securely
This policy has been drawn up on the basis of law and guidance that seeks to protect vulnerable young people, including:
This policy is used together with other TEST policies:
We recognise that:
This policy applies to all staff, including the board of trustees, paid staff, volunteers, students or anyone working on behalf of TEST for Africa. It covers all young people served by TEST for Africa or with an interest in applying for scholarship funding from TEST for Africa.
We are committed to reviewing our policy and good practice annually.
This policy was last reviewed on: September 2019
Signed (most senior person in organisation): Chairman TEST for Africa
This code of conduct outlines our expectations regarding our staff’s and volunteers’ behaviour towards our beneficiaries, their colleagues and the overall organization. We promote freedom of expression and open communication but we expect all our staff to avoid offending, participating in serious disputes and bringing TEST for Africa or any of its country NGOs into disrepute.
This code of conduct applies to all staff, including the board of trustees, paid staff, volunteers, students or anyone working on behalf of TEST for Africa.
The components of the code of conduct are outlined below:
Compliance with law
All staff must protect TEST for Africa’s legality. They should comply with all laws in relation to the running of a charity. We expect all staff to be ethical and responsible when dealing with our finances, public image and partnerships.
All members of staff should respect their colleagues and our beneficiaries or those making applications to become beneficiaries. We won’t allow any kind of discriminatory behaviour, harassment or victimization.
Protection of TEST property
All staff should treat TEST for Africa property with respect and care. They shouldn’t misuse equipment or use it frivolously and they should protect company facilities and the reputation from damage wherever possible.
Employees may not accept gifts from beneficiaries or potential beneficiaries. We prohibit briberies for the benefit of any external or internal party. This includes but is not limited to:
Selling services in order to help potential beneficiaries to apply.
Selling services in order to obtain funding for potential beneficiaries.
All staff must refrain from engaging in sexual relationships with potential or current beneficiaries.
All staff must show integrity and professionalism while conducting business for TEST for Africa.
Transparency and reporting:
All members of staff must report allegations pertaining to breaches of the code of conduct to the board of trustees in the respective country and to the board of trustees in Oxford as soon as they come to light.
Any such allegations will lead to a formal investigation conducted by the board of trustees in country and overseen by the board of trustees in Oxford and any substantiated allegations will lead to instant dismissal.
Any allegation that a member off staff or a person representing TEST for Africa’s interest has behaved inappropriate must be taken seriously and handled in an appropriate manner that ensures the beneficiary’s or complainant’s safety.
TEST for Africa will respond to suspicions and allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards beneficiaries or members of staff against another member of staff in a manner which ensures the complainant’s immediate and long-term safety and will treat suspicions or allegations against a staff member with the same seriousness as suspicions or allegations made against any other person.
TEST for Africa will not act alone and will refer all suspected situations of sexual violence, corruption and other misconduct to the police or another organisation able to conduct a thorough investigation of the matter. The safety of the complainant will be the primary consideration, and no person in TEST for Africa will collude to protect a member of staff or an organisation.
Allegations will be treated in such a way that the rights of the alleged perpetrator and the stress upon them are also taken into consideration.
The suspected staff member will be prevented from representing TEST for Africa or carrying out any of their duties during the investigation.
The Chairman of the TEST country office must immediately ensure that the suspected individual does not have any contact with the person making the allegation.
If police decide to undertake a criminal investigation, the member of staff may be suspended as a precautionary measure. It is important that no internal investigation is undertaken in this case and no evidence gathered that might prejudice the criminal investigation.
If TEST for Africa is aware that a member of staff (volunteer) who has been placed on precautionary suspension also works with vulnerable populations for another organisation, either as an employee or volunteer, it should ensure that the other organisation is informed of the suspension and subsequent outcome.
If there is insufficient evidence to pursue a criminal prosecution, then a disciplinary investigation may still be undertaken if there is reasonable cause to suspect that misconduct may have occurred.
We keep all personal information about scholarship holders in a secure place. Personal information is only shared with funders or potential funders of TEST for Africa with the permisson of the individual beneficiary whose information is share
We always aim to provide a high standard of service. Our beneficiaries’ views are important to us and help us ensure our services meet our beneficiaries’ needs. If you are unhappy with any our services it is important that you let us know.
If a complaint alerts us to possible misconduct of anyone representing TEST for Africa, the board of trustees will decide how to investigate and monitor outcomes.
Making a suggestion
If you would like to suggest improvements rather than complain formally you or anyone close to you may make a suggestion. You should speak or e-mail anyone of the TEST Trustees in your country.
Making a complaint
We aim to handle complaints quickly, effectively and in a transparent way. We take all complaints seriously and use the valuable information they provide to help us improve our service. All complaints are investigated and treated in confidence. We assure beneficiaries that scholarships will not be withdrawn or reduced because someone makes a complaint in good faith.
Who can complain?
Anyone who is a beneficiary, has applied to be a beneficiary or is in the process of becoming a beneficiary of TEST for Africa or TEST for Ghana, TEST for Malawi, TEST for Tanzania or TEST for Uganda.
A representative can make a complaint on your behalf if you cannot make the complaint yourself or have given consent for the representative to act on your behalf.
How can you make a complaint?
You can complain in person, by telephone, in writing and through a member of our staff. If you make a verbal complaint, we will make a written record and share this with you within 3 working days.
We deal with anonymous complaints under the same procedure, however, we cannot tell you the outcome of our investigation if you do not provide contact details.
The Chairman of each country office has the overall responsibility for dealing with all complaints affecting the country offices. The Chairman of TEST for Africa has overall responsibility for dealing with complaints affecting TEST for Africa.
The Chairman will provide as far as reasonably practical any advice you need to understand the complaints procedure or advice on where you may get help in making a complaint.
How we handle complaints:
The Chairman of each country office will investigate the complaint. They will immediately inform the Chairman of TEST for Africa that such a complaint has been made and will acknowledge the complaint within 3 working days.
The Chairman will keep you informed about the progress of the investigation. We aim to have all complaints investigations finished within 28 working days unless we agree a different time scale with you.
When the investigation is completed, we will arrange to meet with you to discuss the outcome and write to you with details of the findings, any actions we have taken and our proposal to resolve your complaint.
You should complain as soon as you can after the date on which the event occurred. If you complain much later, we may not be able to investigate the event properly. However, even if a complaint is made late, it is still possible to investigate the complaint effectively and fairly and we will do our outmost to achieve this.
If at any stage during the process, you are not happy in the way we are dealing with your complaint you can contact:
Chairman TEST for Africa