In the UK, safeguarding means protecting peoples’ health, wellbeing and human rights, and enabling them to live free from harm, abuse and neglect.
In the international development sector, we understand it to mean protecting people, particularly women, and girls, from harm that arises from coming into contact with our staff or programmes.
At Hub Cymru Africa, we believe that everyone we come into contact with, regardless of age, sex, pregnancy, gender reassignment, disability, race, religion or sexual orientation has the right to be protected from all forms of harm, abuse and exploitation.
At Hub Cymru Africa, we are working to improve safeguarding standards throughout our work, through the three pillars of prevention, reporting and response.
We are also here to support organisations strengthen their safeguarding work, helping build a safer environment for everyone.
In 2018, following reports of sexual abuse, exploitation and harassment within international development and assistance, the UK government sought to overhaul the system of safeguarding and accountability in the sector.
In March 2018 a high-level Safeguarding Summit in Westminster was attended by leaders of major NGOs, together with the then Secretary of State for International Development, the Chair of the Charity Commission for England and Wales, and the permanent secretary for the Department for International Development. Wales was represented by Hub Cymru Africa and a member of the Welsh Government’s Wales and Africa department.
A joint pledge was signed by 32 organisations to improve standards in the sector and commit to strengthening accountability, organisational culture, recruitment practises and mechanisms for reporting and responding to allegations of abuse. Between March and October 2018, a series of working groups collaborated on projects aiming to develop guidance around key safeguarding themes.
In October 2018, the UK government hosted an international conference on safeguarding to foster collective action across both UK government departments and the wider development sector, centring the voices of survivors and victims of abuse.
“Putting people first: tackling sexual exploitation, sexual abuse and sexual harassment in the aid sector”, aimed to centre the voices of survivors and victims of abuse and raise awareness of the risk of exploitation within international development. Participants were drawn from a wide circle of governments, donors, multilateral organisations, private sector contractors, independent experts, iNGOS and NGOs from the global south.
Following the Summit, UK Government committed to a series of outcomes aiming to achieve lasting change. These were to:
Ensure support for survivors, victims and whistle-blowers; enhance accountability and transparency; strengthen reporting; and tackle impunity
Incentivise cultural change through strong leadership, organisational accountability and better human resource processes
Adopt global standards and ensure they are met or exceeded
Strengthen organisational capacity and capability across the international aid sector to meet these standards
In line with the standards set by the UK Government, Hub Cymru Africa is working with Welsh Government to strengthen standards in the international development sector in Wales.
See how safeguarding is approached at other organisations
Donors in Wales
These are resources from key organisations who also provide funding to the sector in Wales.