Innovate and Learn Grant
Call for Proposal
Women facing exploitation, abuse and/or violence
Indigenous groups and ethnic minorities.
Increased Access to Resources and Employment
Improved Access to Social Services, Health and Education
Space for political participation
Amount Funded158,385 EURO
Project Duration01 Feb 2017 - 31 Jan 2018
MSI Integrity is a small non-profit organisation, launched publicly May 2013 and registered on Nov. 26, 2012. They are based in San Francisco, USA. MSI integrity was founded in response to existing gaps in corporate accountability on human rights. MSI Integrity is dedicated to understanding the human rights impacts and value of voluntary initiatives that address business and human rights. The organisation focuses on multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs), which have become powerful corporate regulatory tools-bringing governments, civil society, and business to create global standards for industries regarding human rights, environmental, and other governance issues.
Regional partner: RELUFA (Cameroon)
RELUFA, a non-partisan national network of Cameroonian and mainstream churches that work to develop common strategies against systemic problems of hunger, poverty, and socio-, economic and environmental injustice. RELUFA works primarily with forest-based indigenous people, and conducts numerous trips each year to indigenous regions where it has established relationships.
MSI Integrity, in partnership with RELUFA and local partners aim to increase the participatory and decision-making power of indigenous groups and women who are living or working in areas “covered” by multi-stakeholder initiatives in two Voice countries (Nigeria and the Philippines).
MSIs are organisations governed by corporations, civil society, and/or government representatives that frequently set standards for corporate conduct to protect vulnerable groups (e.g. Fairtrade International or the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil). However, populations affected by MSIs often lack awareness about what kind of rights they have or whether they can use these initiatives to report human rights abuses, file grievances, or otherwise voice their concerns.
The proposed project builds on previous community research and engagement work done by MSI Integrity around the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). MSI Integrity seeks to continue research and engagement work with this project in partnership with RELUFA by documenting, understanding, and supporting community participation in MSIs. Therefore, this project will research the extent to which women and indigenous people are aware of rights and protections offered by MSIs, the current level of involvement in MSIs by communities and individuals, and whether there any good practices that MSIs should follow when they attempt to involve vulnerable communities. By addressing these questions, MSI Integrity hopes to encourage MSIs to centre the voices and perspectives of marginalised communities in their governance and operations.
- Are women and indigenous people in the areas where MSIs operate (e.g. plantations, factories, or mine sites) aware of the rights and protections offered to them by relevant MSIs?
- What level of involvement do they have in those MSIs, and what are their desired modes and degrees of participation? Are their rights still being breached despite the purported protection of the initiative(s)?
- Are there any generalisable good practices or approaches that MSIs should follow when attempting to improve participation and involvement of these vulnerable communities in their governance and activities? How can they avoid replicating any pre-existing power imbalances at the local level—such as patriarchy, homophobia, or discrimination?