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a_counterattack_as_we_ended_our_partnership

”It’s a counterattack as we ended our partnership”

 After terminating the collaboration with Love and Hope, the reactions from Light House where powerful. Some swedish media uncritically captured these reactions, without finding out or reporting the reasons for the original decision.
- Our view is that the criticisms of Love and Hope are a direct counter reactions on the face that we cancelled our cooperation with our partner Light House Foundation Nepal in December 2016, Love and Hope writes in a public statement.

 Other organizations have interrupted their cooperation with the Light House Foundation Nepal is Transform the Nations (Australia), Bentham Foundation (Australia), Hearts for Nepal (USA) and The Badi Project, Robert and Lesley Judge (Australia). There are also organizations that have chosen to continue to support.
In the aftermath of Lighthouse's media criticism, Love and Hope has taken a series of actions to improve their routines.
- We welcome review, as it allows us to learn by mistake and develop, says Love and Hope after the criticisms from Lighthouse via media.
- On the whole, our assessment is that the majority of the criticism is untrue, in many respects even absurd. For example, we have never sexually harassed children in Nepal, never forced girls to testify fake stories, we have never seized money and we have not lived luxury lifes during our field visits, writes Love and Hope in the statement, but notes at the same time that the organisation has tended to be to dramatic in it’s communication.
- We have always had good intentions, and has never deliberately mislead anyone. But we have often used a strong wording and imagery in order to create engagement. The dramatic rhetoric has been legitimised for the good purpose: helping children out of trafficking.

Ambiguity

Love and Hope also describes an ambiguity that the activities in Asia have been conducted through local partners and around their own role in the efforts to free children from brothels.
- Incorrectly, we have spoken in terms of "our business" when we should have explained our role to finance and support the work of local organisations ... Our statements have sometimes been interpreted as if employed staff from Love and Hope make raids on brothels. That's not the case, the raids are being conducted by the police, in consultation with our local partners.
Love and Hope also acknowledges that posts in social media that touched on emotional strings have gone too far. "We have definitely not deliberately gone wrong with unsuspecting, but we have used formulas and images that we would not use today."
Love and Hope have now developed clear guidelines, a policy for cooperation with local organisations, as well as a communication policy and a travel policy.


Do you think you had sufficient control over the projects in Nepal?
No, we did not have enough control. The cooperation was based on trust and good relations. We had no written agreements with the Light House Foundation Nepal and the financial statement was inadequate.

Have you wrongly said that some of the girls you helped have been prostitutes?
We believed the information we received about three specific girls being prostitutes, and used that information. After ending the cooperation with the Light House Foundation Nepal, it has been found that that information may not be correct.

Have your employees flown in business class?
- Yes, it has happened. This is especially true for a colleague who is forced to fly in a better chair because of a neck injury - an individual has sponsored his tickets. We have previously had no travel policy, something we now have developed.

Have your employees lived in luxury hotels?
- Employees have stayed in a 4-star and 5-star hotel, at a cost of about 1,000 SEK / night. At one point, a co-worker lived in a suite booked by the local partner. For most of the trips we have rented a house. We have previously had no travel policy, something we now have developed.

Do you use images of children who have been sex slaves as marketing?
- No, we have not been doing it for a while. However, we have done it before. As a young organisation with a strong willingness to make a difference for those who need it the most, we have made some mistakes, and this is one of those.
Love and Hope is working today, together with local organizations, in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal.
RUBEN AGNARSSON
ruben@inblick.se

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