We are all entitled to live our lives free of harm. Developing safeguarding policies is necessary to protect the vulnerable people under our care.
Abuse, neglect, and harm affect many people across the world. Therefore, many workplaces rely on safeguarding policies to ensure the individuals within their organisations are safe. These policies aim to protect people’s health, well-being, and human rights. But it is often complicated to develop them, especially in countries where safeguarding is not prioritised.
WONDER is committed to protecting the women and girls in our programmes, and has been working for several years towards developing effective policies and practices that work in countries where educators have few external resources and reporting crimes and abuses can be complicated or even risky.
Martin Punaks, who is a leading child protection consultant and has worked with a number of international NGOs, has been invited to lead this work as part of our EU-funded Project GROW. The workshop introduced participants to safeguarding and taught them how to implement it in their organisation.
Taking place over two days on Zoom, participants collaborated in groups and reflected on their experiences working with children, young people, and vulnerable women. A South African member affirmed that sharing ideas with people from different countries was “very enriching.” Other topics tackled included who is at risk of harm and how to respond to safeguarding concerns. A participant highlighted that Martin’s examples from his own work were very helpful. Another said they learnt how important it was to raise awareness of best practice: “Trusting in people is not enough,” they stated.
This workshop was the first part of a 6-month programme. Participants received a WONDER safeguarding self-assessment form to guide them in developing stronger safeguarding practices within their organisations. Participants left on the last day feeling confident, with a “kind of urgency to put the things in place” and keen to share what they had learnt with others.
Each organisation is now working independently with Martin to develop their own effective, locally-appropriate and deliverable safeguarding policies and procedures. The learning from this will be shared later in the project, so that other youthworkers can work towards creating safe and empowering spaces for those they work with.
Author: Fflur Jones, volunteer at WONDER Foundation