In 2021, Comhlámh began a process of reviewing the Safeguarding Policies and Codes of Conduct of the Volunteer Sending Agencies that are signatories of Comhlámh’s Code of Good Practice. This review happened in collaboration with international expert Angie Bamgbose.

One of Angie’s recommendations arising out of that process was to review and update the Code of Good Practice’s Safeguarding Principle itself. The second recommendation was to explore the potential for organisations to work with peers to strengthen their safeguarding practice.

Comhlámh Safeguarding Working Group and new Safeguarding Principle

As a result, in late 2022, the Comhlámh Safeguarding Working Group (including representatives from Brighter Communities Worldwide, CMSI, Development Perspectives, Don Bosco Aid, Nurture Africa and SERVE) began a participative process, facilitated by Angie, to review international safeguarding standards. This included both content and presentation methods in order to produce a comprehensive, accessible and relevant new Safeguarding Principle (Principle 11), which reads as follows:

PRINCIPLE 11: Our organisational culture has ingrained the protection of all people, including staff, volunteers, partners, programme participants and community members. We recognise that in certain situations children and some adults may be more vulnerable to abuses of power and may require additional protections. We actively prevent harm and implement safe programmes. We respond appropriately when things go wrong, we reflect, learn and hold ourselves to account against safeguarding standards.

In the spirit of ongoing reflection and learning, the Working Group also generated new Indicators, Guiding Questions and Suggested Evidence, as well as outlining a Safeguarding Learning Flow Chart to emphasise the importance of constant improvement that characterises the Code of Good Practice.

Comhlámh Safeguarding Conversations

In order to support that learning process among other member organisations, the Safeguarding Working Group has created a series of ‘Safeguarding Conversations’ focussed on different aspects of the new Safeguarding Principle.

Over the course of 4 months, these online Safeguarding Conversations will focus on two of the eight new Indicators and will be delivered by members of the Working Group in the spirit of peer-to-peer learning.

The first of these informal online learning events took place on Thursday, 23rd February (pictured) and was co-facilitated by staff from Comhlámh and Development Perspectives. The session focussed on Safer Organisational Culture and Safer Leadership and Accountability. Attendees from seven Code member organisations attended in person, and a recording of the event was circulated among other members unable to attend. The future session will focus on issues such as Safer People, Safer Programmes and Safer Partners.

We hope to see you there!

For more information about the Code of Good Practice, the Code Network, the Safeguarding Working Group and its Safeguarding Conversations, please contact Chris@comhlamh.org.

The new Safeguarding Principle

Explore the new Safeguarding Principle and its new Indicators, Guiding Questions and Suggested Evidence.