How safeguarding knowledge reveals practical insights

Headshot of Ngozi

Ngozi Okeke has 17 years’ experience in projects funded by United State Agency for International Development, Centre for Disease Control and the European Union, with skills in project management, advocacy, monitoring and evaluation, gender, capacity building for civil society organisations, system strengthening, financial management and quality improvement programming. She is currently the director of programmes with Widows and Orphans Empowerment Organization.

Prior to watching the What is safeguarding? animation by RSH, I confused safeguarding with protection, thinking safeguarding is about protecting beneficiaries from abuse and negligence inherent in the community. The animation helped explain in simple terms what safeguarding really means and the role of non-governmental organisation workers in causing harm, abuse and exploitation to beneficiaries even through our program activities.

There is a scene in the animation where service providers visit communities to provide services, and it shows the consequences that can arise. At this point I realised that the way and manner we provide services to beneficiaries can result in unintended negative consequences.

In implementing programmes, as development workers we focus on achieving programme goals, often without deeply reflecting and conducting risk assessment on whether our approach to service provision has negative effects on the beneficiaries.

I am implementing HIV programmes focusing on providing quality services to children living with HIV. This is to ensure that children are retained in antiretroviral therapy and their viral load remains suppressed.

As part of the programme strategy, we are to keep clients to hospitals close to their places of residence. Therefore, in line with that my organisation transfers these children to hospitals closer to them for drug pick-up to reduce their transportation cost. This we did without consulting their caregivers on why they chose to go too far for drug pick-up.

Knowing the stigma associated with HIV, I realised that there is a reason why caregivers prefer locations further away from their residence.

RSH resources have helped me to understand that we, the service providers can cause harm to our beneficiaries even while trying to help them. I now know better, and this has made me wear a safeguarding lens in the course of implementing programme activities.

 

Recent blogs

Closing a 6-month investigation mentorship, the RSH recently celebrated the graduation of 8 mentors in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Safeguarding consultant Lucy Heaven Taylor, who developed the programme’s case studies, joined the celebration virtually from the UK and thanked the Ethiopian facilitators…
Aberra Wondimu is the Safeguarding Focal Point in Hiwot Ethiopia. He has more than 15 years’ experience in the humanitarian and development sector and has worked for various local non-governmental organisations. He has experience in capacity building, HIV protection, child protection, care and…
The RSH MENA Hub took civil society organisations on “A Safeguarding Journey” in three different locations, Syria, Yemen and Jordan, in March 2022. The purpose of the interactive training was to improve local actors’ safeguarding knowledge. Participants highlighted that the journey effectively…
Safeguarding has been a topic of interest since the 2001/2002 food for sex scandal in West Africa. Policies have been written and employees sign to upholding these policies, but the question remains: why do safeguarding concerns still often occur in the aid sector? Keep on reading as safeguarding…
Having worked in the humanitarian and government sector, it’s not presumptuous to point out that South Sudan has a challenging environment, particularly for children, women and those with disabilities. Safeguarding challenges increase the risk of harm towards these vulnerable groups. Sexual…
Phil Collins once said, “In learning, you will teach, and in teaching, you will learn.” Mentoring is a great way to contribute to others by dedicating yourself to uplifting your mentee and building confidence. To me, mentoring is about building a relationship founded on shared interests and goals…
What is safeguarding and what is needed for it? Caroline Kibos, RSH South Sudan Hub National Associate has answered listeners’ questions on air with Miraya FM radio station in Juba. Listen to parts of the recording that aired live on the Miraya Breakfast Show with host Sebit William in January 2022…
I joined the humanitarian world in 2015 and had some knowledge on safeguarding. Due to my work experience related to Sexual and Gender-based Violence (SGBV) and HIV/sexually transmitted infections, and engaging youth on employment-related concerns, I began to hear issues of Sexual Exploitation,…
The news of the rape of Aisha Umar, a female internally displaced person (IDP) by a male aid worker in Borno State, Nigeria has re-emphasised the need for safeguarding as an essential tool to ensuring that the “Do no harm” principle is imbibed in the work we do. Our primary objective as aid…
Join RSH mentor Oluchi Ihedoro as she shares in this vlog some safeguarding reflections and learnings gathered during an exchange meeting she facilitated for civil society organisations (CSOs) in Lagos, Nigeria. The Safeguarding RSH Nigeria Hub rounded off its first phase of the mentoring…
All of us can do our part in eliminating Violence against Women and Girls, Nigeria Hub Senior Advisor Dr. Eleanor Nwadinobi said on Click Naija FM on 10 December 2021. Dr. Nwadinobi discussed 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, and the mission of the RSH Nigeria Hub. Wearing orange…
What’s the difference between protection and safeguarding? What are some essential steps organisations need to take to become safer? Oge Chukwudozie, RSH Nigeria Hub National Associate has answered key questions on air with Kapital FM radio station. Watch the interview and understand the basics of…
Broadly speaking, safeguarding means preventing harm to people in development and humanitarian assistance delivery. Persons with disabilities are a major segment of the community, who are prone to many abuses and exploitation. Apart from sexual abuse and other harm, persons with disabilities…
RSH: What interests you most about safeguarding? Accountability! I am very excited about the awareness that safeguarding is creating which makes everyone, irrespective of position or job description, to have a sense of responsibility in ensuring a safer work environment for all, and in seeing that…
With the new round of the RSH mentorship program kicking off in Nigeria, I’d like to tell you my experiences and what I have learnt from managing the mentorship program. The mentorship goes for 6 months and aims to support organisations to strengthen their safeguarding systems and practices. The…
Involving stakeholders in decision-making may inform safer programming, Farida Umar Jauro has learnt. Following the recent graduation of the RSH Nigeria Hub’s safeguarding mentorship programme, we asked mentee Farida about how her safeguarding knowledge has developed through the mentoring. RSH:…
RSH: What interests you most about safeguarding? The fact that it creates a healthy and safe environment for people to work. Safeguarding is about creating an environment where people are not only safe from harm, abuse, and exploitation but also where they have choice, control, and information to…
The RSH Nigeria Hub has recently had a roundtable meeting with leaders of civil society organisations (CSOs) and asked about the benefits of having a good safeguarding system. The participants also discussed challenges and their own role as leaders in strengthening and promoting safeguarding…
Semhal Getachew is the National Associate for RSH in Ethiopia. She has an academic background in law and social work and has over 18 years experience working on gender equality and women's rights in Ethiopia. Most of her work experience combines carrying out practice-based research to support…
What interests you most about safeguarding? I have a passion to advance and protect children and vulnerable adults from all forms of abuse and sexual exploitation. What are some recurring safeguarding questions/topics in your region? In consultancies I've undertaken, both inside and outside of…
Manu Samuel Seth is giving us an overview of the risk assessment and management tool developed by the RSH Nigeria team, and top tips on how to make the most of it. Download the risk assessment and management tool and the guidance on our page here. To view the recording and slides of the Live Q&…
RSH: What interests you most about safeguarding? The possibility of creating sustained behavioural change and an alternative way in envisioning the wider change in our ultra-conversative communities. RSH: What are some recurring safeguarding questions/topics in your region? We have a number of…
I’ve had some mentoring and coaching experience in the past, and I believe that for the benefit of the mentees, you have to put your feet in their shoes, especially when they are facing challenges. The Safeguarding Mentoring Training provided by the RSH has helped me to be more confident in…
Meet Lola Adeola-Oni, Chair of the safeguarding National Expert Board Oge Chukwudozie is the National Associate for the RSH Nigeria Hub and a safeguarding/protection professional, with over 15 years experience in the aid sector. During her career, Oge has worked in various thematic areas but her…
The RSH Nigeria mentors have a virtual monthly meeting to celebrate progress and problem solve safeguarding challenges. In April, mentor Julie Adegbesan described how a lack of dedicated donor funds made it difficult to access funds for safeguarding training. Listen to Julie ask mentor Oluchi…
Safeguarding is a journey and wherever you’re on it, there’s always room to pause, reflect, assess, improve, and repeat. The idea of the RSH mentorship programme is to support organisations whether they’re just starting out or improving their practices to efficiently safeguard the people they seek…