Johannesburg, South Africa – Former staff from the ONE Campaign’s South Africa office met with the organization’s co-founder, Bono, as well as ONE CEO Gayle Smith, ONE Board Chair Tom Freston, and ONE Africa Executive Director Rudo Kwaramba-Kayombo in Johannesburg, South Africa yesterday to discuss past work practices and their employment conditions in ONE’s Johannesburg office between 2011-2015.
In late 2017, several former staff members spoke publicly about unprofessional work conditions they experienced in the period from 2011-2015, prompting ONE’s new CEO Gayle Smith, who joined the organization in March, 2017, to conduct an investigation into the reports. Following the investigation, Smith wrote to the former staff to apologize for what they experienced and informed ONE’s global membership that the conduct reported — and the response to it by the organization’s leadership at the time — was an “institutional failure.” In that same letter, she also announced she was putting measures in place to prevent such incidents in the future and expressed her gratitude to the former employees for bringing their experiences to her attention.
Counsel for the former staff stated, “Sometimes in conflict, a face-to-face meeting with a mutual spirit of recognition and closure is best for all.” They added, “Our clients very much appreciate that Bono has opened this door to speak with them. Their wish and belief is that past experiences will now lead to a healthier, enriched environment for current and future employees at ONE in Africa and throughout the world.”
ONE has implemented reforms to provide greater protection to staff, stating, “The organization’s new leadership has worked hard to nurture a culture of respect and professionalism, and to ensure the organization lives up to its values. ONE’s people are our most important asset.”
About the ONE Campaign
ONE is a global campaigning and advocacy organization taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. ONE believes the fight against poverty isn’t about charity, but about justice and equality.
Whether lobbying political leaders in world capitals or running grassroots campaigns, ONE pressures governments to do more to fight AIDS and other preventable, treatable diseases in the poorest places on the planet. Co-founded by Bono and other activists, ONE is strictly nonpartisan.
ONE teams in Abuja, Berlin, Brussels, Johannesburg, London, New York, Ottawa, Paris and Washington, D.C. educate and lobby governments to shape policy solutions that save and improve millions of lives — and which every year are under threat from cuts and other priorities. ONE is not a grant-making organization and does not solicit funding from the public or receive government funds. ONE is funded almost entirely by foundations, individual philanthropists and corporations.