“This has been a program that was very fluid like the overall challenging time we have been having due to COVID and the war. Despite the gloomy circumstance, you did well and I hope you will continue to perfect what you learned and contribute what you can to your organization, and may be to others via RSH,” said Semhal Getachew, RSH Ethiopia National Associate.
The first round of RSH safeguarding mentor programme was conducted from January to June 2021 in Ethiopia. The programme aimed to strengthen the safeguarding capacity of civil society organisations (CSOs). In this programme eight mentors were trained to work with ten CSOs.
RSH conducted a lessons learnt study to identify successes and challenges as well as to feed into the next phase of the programme.
The study identified some main achievements as:
- Eight mentors were recruited and participated in the online training, before being paired with organisations
- Four organisations completed the mentor programme and submitted an Organisational Capacity Assessment (OCA) at the start and end of the programme. The OCA results informed the priorities of the mentoring action plan. All four of those organisations showed an improvement in their OCA scores at the end of the programme.
RSH coaches us to make progressive changes that we can lead and own. They ask how they can help. Such an approach is enabling and motivating. I think this was the best part of the whole mentorship progress. It’s empowering, said a mentor.
Another mentor mentioned that during the mentorship programme, they prioritised reviewing the policy to fit their context: “we are making sure protection of communities includes children and that protection of staff are all covered in the policy.”
Despite the successes, the programme also experienced challenges including:
- A significant amount of drop out from both the mentor and the mentored organisations. In some cases this was due to personal circumstances with mentors taking new jobs, or moving.
- Lack of time to implement the actions in the action plan, this was raised by both mentors and mentored organisations. Internal mentors reported that they were given the additional role without having any of their other responsibilities taken away.
My role is critical to all projects so even without the additional responsibilities as a safeguarding mentor, I am very busy and overstretched. – a mentor said.
- Lack of budget to implement safeguarding activities.
The next round of mentoring programme will start in September, with a focus on safeguarding investigation. The programme will be open for applicants from aid and private sectors receiving financial support from UK Aid. You can read the details here and apply by 11 September 2021.