The safeguarding journey of an S&D organisation - from policy to practice
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In part three of the safeguarding series, Moving The Goalposts (MTG), which uses football to improve the social standing of women and girls in Kilifi, Kenya, shares insights on its journey from safeguarding policy to practice.

MTG developed their child protection policy over five years ago as part of their broader safeguarding work within the organisation. The most interesting aspects of their safeguarding journey so far has been the implementation phase of their policy internally and communicating the safeguarding message to the communities they work in.

Whilst there is support for the new safeguarding best practices among MTG staff, securing support from players, volunteers and parents in Kilifi is a significant challenge due to a lack of understanding of child rights. An MTG staff member shared, ‘Most of the parents don’t understand their own rights, let alone the rights of the child. Some people think that…when a child starts going to school they are no longer a child, so if people have that idea, where do we start talking about children’s rights’.

In response, MTG uses ‘Tumanyane’ – a forum where the community can come together to discuss problems and come up with solutions. Tumanyanes bridge the relationship between the community and the organisation and provide a platform to discuss sensitive issues such as early marriage, sexual reproductive health rights and safeguarding.

Obtaining a formal background check of an individual in rural Kenya remains a challenge, but is a key requirement of an organisation working with children. MTG are currently looking to address this limitation through seeking a certificate of good conduct from the police which certifies that the individual has good conduct and is not known to be a danger to children. In addition to this, MTG frequently uses informal checks such as asking key members of the community for their appraisal of individuals.

Implementing the safeguarding policy has been a real learning journey for MTG in terms of making sure the policy is applied to practice and is meaningful for communities and staff alike – making adjustments to work within the local context. Not only are child labour, sexual abuse of girls and rape pressing priorities for the organisation, they are also keen to ensure they have the basic principles of safeguarding children in sport in place: practices such as clearing dangerous objects from the pitch and ensuring football practice starts and finishes earlier to ensure that girls are not returning home in the evening when it is dark and they feel more vulnerable.

MTG is a good example of how the practicalities of safeguarding children need not be complicated and sometimes it is the simplest solutions that are most effective to better safeguard children from harm. International Inspiration continues to support partners like MTG to build capacity and ensure that safeguarding is at the heart of programmes.

Don't miss part four of this series in the 140th e-Newsletter, which highlights the efforts of the International Netball Federation to promote child protection and safeguarding measures in the sport of handball.




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