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The Brocher Declaration

In 2017, the group Advocacy for Global Health Partnerships published a statement of ethical principles to guide policy regarding short-term global health engagements called The Brocher Declaration. This statement laid out six ways organizations involved in global health volunteering can commit to ethical practices: 

1) Mutual partnership with bidirectional input and learning. 

2) Empowered host country and community define needs and activities. 

3) Sustainable programs and capacity building. 

4) Compliance with applicable laws, ethical standards, and code of conduct. 

5) Humility, cultural sensitivity, and respect for all involved. 

6) Accountability for actions. 

Though we did not have a formal declaration in 1986, Health Volunteers Overseas was founded on these principles and has spent the last thirty-six years growing and adapting to remain faithful to these standards. When we learned of the Brocher Declaration, it was clear to us that it represented the same ideas that are the heart of HVO. Our partnerships are our priority, and adding our voice and support to this document was a natural step.  

Many members of the HVO community brought the Brocher Declaration to our attention and urged us to sign. Among them was Dr. Jennifer Audette, PT. She reasoned, “The Declaration articulates exactly what HVO has been aspiring to do over its long history. All of these things have been at the forefront of the work HVO does and the efforts of HVO volunteers. So, it seemed fitting that HVO endorse the Brocher Declaration. It just made sense!” 

We agree!