Safeguarding – still high on the agenda

Safeguarding – still high on the agenda

Over the past two years, the international development sector has been working hard to transform safeguarding standards. The Scottish Government and the Alliance have worked closely together to support Scotland-based organisations working internationally through developing tools, resources, information and training and it has been humbling to see how hard everyone has worked to improve standards.

A few short weeks ago, our world changed dramatically with the emergence of COVID-19 and we have all seen an immediate shift in our focus and attention in the urgency to respond to this crisis. Our plans have altered, our workspace completely new and colleagues in the sector have become images on screens. The Alliance has responded by moving our activities to online modalities and by adding in events to listen and understand how the situation is impacting on the work of members.

While the focus shifts towards that of COVID-19, however, we must not lose sight of the progress made so far in safeguarding, and of the work still to be done. We have a long journey ahead and we must not lose sight of that. Furthermore, with attention on the pandemic there are increased vulnerabilities for many.

In any crisis or emergency, the marginalised and vulnerable are disproportionately affected and will be particularly at risk of abuse, exploitation, harm and neglect during this pandemic with the necessary isolation, lockdowns, school closures and restrictions on work and movement.

So we need to have a dual approach. Firstly, we must ensure that do as much as we can to continue our safeguarding work or activities, by adapting and rethinking as far as we can. And secondly, we need to reach out, listen and share our concerns and observations of how the pandemic is affecting our work and how this is impacting on the safeguarding and wellbeing of all those delivering and receiving international development aid and humanitarian support.

You can engage with the Alliance’s plans by getting invovled in either of the following ways.

  • Our Safeguarding Training for Trustees full day training sessions have been postponed, but in the interim, there will be 90 minute online information sessions for trustees, covering the essentials on safeguarding and trustee responsibility. The first will take place on Wednesday 17 June at 10.30 am by Zoom. Register here
  • The Safeguarding Working Group will be convened on Tuesday 30 June at 10.30 am and will focus particularly on implications of COVID-19 on safeguarding. Register here.