Justice Tourism Foundation Risk Management Policy

Purpose

As a responsible travel operator, we know that having the right processes, procedures and culture in place to manage and mitigate risks associated with our work is of the highest importance. We acknowledge that Justice Tourism Foundation volunteer programs take place in a wide range of regions and communities around Uganda and that each region has its own set of risks associated with the social, cultural and environmental context of that area. Any type of travel abroad involves a certain degree of risk, especially when traveling to developing countries like Uganda and we want everyone who volunteers with Justice Tourism Foundation to be supported to do so safely. We also believe that Justice Tourism Foundation staff should be empowered to work in a safe and secure environment.

The purpose of this policy is to define Justice Tourism Foundation‘ s overall approach to risk management and to outline how it is governed, monitored and constantly improved.

Scope

This is an organisation-Uganda regional  policy. It applies to all Justice Tourism Foundation operations in Uganda , the operations of our programs and placements, and to all direct staff members including management. Every stakeholder has a role to play in the successful application of this policy and in maintaining a culture of risk mitigation.

This policy complements and supports Justice Tourism Foundation’s Code of Conduct as well as the Justice Tourism Foundation’s Child Protection Policy and Justice Tourism Foundation Responsible Volunteer (guests)Travel Policy, the commitments set out in each document guide our operations and the behaviour of all who work with us. The application of this policy also relies on the acceptance by volunteers of Justice Tourism Foundation’s Terms and Conditions of Service.

Principles

At Justice Tourism Foundation, we believe effective risk management relies on the following principles. They guide our approach to managing and reducing risk in our operations.

  1. Preparation

Being well prepared is essential and we take a range of steps to ensure that we’ve done our groundwork when it comes to managing risks properly. For us this means conducting risk assessments of any new programs and placements before they launch and working collaboratively with the local communities to establish thorough risk management procedures and regular reporting. This helps us to build a clear picture of where risks lie, enables us to monitor performance across our network of programs, and ensures that in the unlikely event of an incident occurring, we can resolve it quickly and limit the impact on both volunteers (guests) and our operations.

It is also very important that volunteers (guests ) are well prepared. We think having a clear understanding of the potential risks and how to avoid them, before setting off on a volunteering program or on any of our tour excursions significantly helps to reduce the likelihood of incidents occurring. That’s why as part of our pre-departure briefing, we provide all Justice Tourism Foundation volunteers ( guests) with detailed information about the potential risks involved in a volunteering abroad program and tours a detailed guide on how to avoid them, and a summary of the basic emergency procedures relevant for their program. The biggest potential risks for volunteers (guests) are often present in activities they undertake in their free time, rather than activities undertaken as part of their volunteering program or tours. So we ensure the pre-departure briefing also includes information about reducing risk in these situations. Justice Tourism Foundation volunteers (guests) are required to complete this pre-departure briefing before arriving in their chosen destination and a failure to do so is a breach of  Justice Tourism Foundation ‘s Code of Conduct.

  1. Identification

Identifying potential risks properly is an essential part of helping to reduce them and we’ve been doing this since we launched our first travel abroad program in 2017.  We work with our local communities to define the events or incidents that could occur in each placement and result in risk for Justice Tourism Foundation volunteers (guests or our local communities where we operate . These events or incidents may or may not be within the control of Justice Tourism Foundation or our local communities and our aim is to consider the full scope of risks, so that avoidance and mitigation plans can be created.

As we’ve grown, we’ve become familiar with the risks associated with operating in a wide range of local communities and we’re constantly learning how to identify and manage them most effectively. Our collaborative approach means that we have trusted staffs on the ground in every local communities that we operate in who oversee the local risk identification process and spot new risks as they emerge. Justice Tourism Foundation staff members regularly audit our local communities ’ approaches to risk identification and management.

  1. Assessment

Not all risks are equal and each needs to be assessed based on the potential impact it could have on volunteers (guests) and on Justice Tourism Foundation operations. Once risks have been identified, we assess them based on clear criteria and then prioritise the development of mitigating action plans. We regularly review and update our overall assessment of risks, particularly as new risks emerge (for example, when we open a program in a new community) and are constantly re-prioritising our overall risk set.

  1. Mitigation

Our aim is to reduce risk wherever possible. All identified risks are mapped in terms of their potential severity and then each has an associated plan that defines how it will be mitigated and reduced. Each of these plans has clear timescales for resolution and then each is assigned to  Justice Tourism Foundation owner who has ultimate responsibility for ensuring the risk is properly addressed. Effective risk management is everyone’s job, but we think having a clear owner for every risk helps to drive ownership across the organisation and builds a safety-conscious culture.

Focus Areas

We offer volunteer programs in a number of communities in Uganda and all have a different associated risk profile. However, there are some core focus areas that are included in our risk management plans everywhere we operate. These include:

  1. Accommodation

We want Justice Tourism Foundation volunteers (guests) to not only feel comfortable in their program accommodation, but also safe and secure at all times. Volunteers (guests) on our programs stay in either volunteer guests houses or home-stays, which have been certified and adheres to our standards for volunteer (guests) safety. Our risk mitigation plans for accommodation include fire prevention measures and evacuation plans in the case of emergencies.

  1. Emergencies

A wide range of emergencies can occur and we have to developed a detailed emergency response plans for many of them. These include but are not limited to the following situations; fire, natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and civil unrest. In each case, our plans include 24-hour contacts, evacuation procedures, agreed communications plans for volunteers (guests) and their families, and processes for engaging with embassies, if necessary.

  1. Illness and physical harm

Maintaining sound physical and mental health is the personal responsibility of each volunteer(guest), but we also take a number of steps to help reduce the risk of illness and harm, and our programs all have plans in place with their placements to quickly resolve incidents when they occur, and to communicate with Justice Tourism Foundation staff and volunteers’ (guests) families in an open and timely fashion. We have procedures put in place that are followed in the unlikely event of a serious-harm incident occurring while a volunteer (guest ) is on their program. We provide information to volunteers (guests) about staying safe in their free time but Justice Tourism Foundation is not responsible for the actions of individual volunteers (guests) during their free time. These actions include but are not limited to: weekend visits to tourist sites, transport to or from free time activities, and the use of alcohol or drugs.

  1. Assault and theft

The communities where Justice Tourism Foundation volunteers (guests ) are placed are generally safe, but travel anywhere has its risk and incidents of assault and theft can occur. The risk mitigation plans have been put in place in each local communities where we work to reduce the chances of these incidents occurring and our communities are all briefed and supported to take the appropriate actions with police or emergency services should a volunteer (guest) become the victim of theft or assault. Mitigation and response plans in this area extend to sexual assault.

  1. Illegal substances

Justice Tourism Foundation’s Code of Conduct contains commitments that volunteers (guests) must adhere to in relation to the possession and use of illegal substances. As in any country, the procurement and use of illegal substances in Uganda  is dangerous and it is incumbent upon volunteers (guests ) to take responsibility for their own behaviour in this regard. However, we also take steps to ensure volunteers (guests) understand these risks appropriately and have procedures in place on all programs to manage the impact of a breach in this element of the Code of Conduct.

Roles and governance

Whilst effective risk management is owned and delivered by all Justice Tourism Foundation staffs,  the ultimate responsibility lies with Justice Tourism Foundation’s Senior Management.

  1. Senior Management and Staff

Chief Executive Officer James Nadiope and a team of senior managers oversee the application of risk management procedures across our network of local program operators in Uganda. They ensure program operators understand and support the procedures, adhere to them at all times, and provide regular compliance reporting back to Justice Tourism Foundation’s head office. They also periodically review and refine this policy and ensure it is communicated appropriately with volunteers and other relevant stakeholders.

Justice Tourism Foundation staff members are responsible for implementing an audit process to assess our program placements and tour ’ compliance with this Policy with the support and guidance of senior managers and a clearly defined audit framework.

  1. Placements

Our staff members are often the first people to identify potential risks and they are well placed to take the actions necessary to mitigate them. As the personnel working with Justice Tourism Foundation volunteers (guests) on the ground every day, our staff on ground are responsible for ensuring all necessary steps have been taken to help volunteers (guests ) stay safe and it is their job to provide the initial response in the event of an incident.

  1. Volunteers(Guests)

Our Volunteers (guests ) have a responsibility to comply with all Justice Tourism Foundation Policies, the Code of Conduct and Terms and Conditions of Service. Their role in managing risk is outlined in these documents and we expect them to honour the commitments they make by choosing to volunteer with us. The safety of other volunteers (guests) is often affected by the actions of individuals, so we take any breach of these commitments seriously. Our Volunteers (guests) have a personal responsibility to keep themselves safe and avoid unnecessary risks and they always have the right to decline to participate in an activity if they feel unsafe.

Procedures

The following diagram outlines the risk management procedures followed by Justice Tourism Foundation’s senior management, and our staff and they apply to both new and existing programs on an on-going basis.

Procedure stageDescription
IdentificationIdentifying the potential risks associated with each program
Impact AssessmentDefining the potential impact to volunteers (guests ) and to Justice Tourism Foundation of each risk
Mitigation DesignDeveloping action plans Justice Tourism Foundation (with owners ) to address and mitigate defined risks
TreatmentDelivering the actions plans and making required improvements
ReportingDocumenting the risk management performance of each program annually

Overseen and regularly reviewed by Justice Tourism Foundation senior management

Audit

Audits take place periodically by  our on ground staff team who visit programs in person and these audits support the regular reviews led the senior management team.