*Actual photo of Boris Martin, CEO.*

In one of our last posts we included a transcript from a phone call between the EWB Board Chair Cameron Charlebois, EWB Director of Policy & Community Prateek Awasthi, and EWB chapter members.  In that call, both Charlebois and Awasthi assured members that the results of a review into EWB’s policies/ practices would be released to all stakeholders in April.

Despite repeated requests by members of EWB to release the report, EWB continues to conceal the results. They have not communicated with the membership or the public at all, maintaining a wall of silence and a lack of transparency around issues of systemic harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and cover-ups.

Due to extensive and ongoing ethical failures; and outright manipulation, dishonesty, and betrayal of the organization’s core values by the EWB leadership; the EWB chapters have taken the extraordinary step of boycotting the organization.  Discussions are happening across Canada about whether to sever ties with the organization totally.

Shivani Patel, VP Operations & Integration at EWB, wrote the following description of the scope of the review– which was commissioned in February and carried out by Derek Evans, former Executive Director of CUSO International:

“EWB has a responsibility to the members in our community, both past and present. And our approach needs to inspire confidence, as community members dedicate valuable time and effort to the organisation, and we need to prove that we deserve it. The safety and safeguarding of our EWB Fellows, staff and volunteers is of utmost priority. That is why, prompted by the allegations made on social media, the EWB Board of Directors has decided to launch:
  1. An independent legal review into the way EWB responded and investigated the allegations between 2011 and now (this was launched in Feb 2019)
  2. A full independent audit of EWB’s current safeguarding culture, policies and processes. The aim of this audit is to detect any flaws in our culture, processes and policies by examining how we are currently responding to current situations, and how we are safeguarding all those who work and volunteer for EWB. (this was launched in Feb 2019)

Here is the scope of work that the Board of Directors mandated to a third party, this work started at the beginning of Feb 2019. The audit is being led by a well-credentialed executive with experience with similar international organizations, Cuso International and Amnesty International Canada, as well as a partner at a labour and employment legal firm who regularly advises clients on policy development, employment contracts and labour relations. We are trying to understand the root causes, as well as on a systemic level.

  1. Conduct a fair, equitable and transparent inquiry into EWB’s conduct, responses, and practices in relation to the complaint;

  2. Assess the implementation of the recommendations of the 2013 report, and review subsequent relations between EWB and the Complainant;

  3. Review and evaluate the adequacy of EWB’s policy framework and personnel practices in Canada and Africa.

  4. Recommend policy, procedural and other changes that reflect best practices for Canadian and international development charities.

We expect the investigation to be completed by May 2019 and are committed to being transparent about the results. There will be a public statement from EWB providing more information to the community very soon.

Ms. Patel wrote these words in April. She reaffirmed the commitment to transparency that was espoused by Mr. Charlebois and Mr. Awasthi.  None of these people have kept their word.  Meanwhile Boris Martin, CEO, lurks in the background, refusing to come clean on his primary role in creating this sorry state of affairs, refusing to apologize, refusing to step down, preferring instead to have his organization’s charitable funds wasted on NDAs, PR firms, and lawyers.  Rebecca Kresta, who is on the Board of Directors, described the report contents as “scathing.”  Could this be why EWB is hiding it?  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (or even an engineer) to figure out what’s going on here.  For an organization that has spent its entire existence admonishing others in the sector to be transparent and “admit failures”, this is the height of hypocrisy.  This might be what the end of EWB looks like.