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What is safeguarding?

Safeguarding means taking all reasonable steps to prevent harm, particularly sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment from occurring; to protect people, especially vulnerable adults and children, from that harm; and to respond appropriately when harm does occur. This definition draws from our values and principles and shapes our culture. It pays specific attention to preventing and responding to harm from any potential, actual or attempted abuse of power, trust, or vulnerability, especially for sexual purposes.

Why is Safeguarding Important?

This diagram above was designed by GOAL's Safeguarding Focal Points across our 15 countries of operation. It explains how safeguarding is the umbrella term for taking important measures to prevent harm, particularly sexual exploitation, harassment and abuse from taking place; safeguarding people, specifically vulnerable adults and children; and ensuring that an appropriate response is made when incidences of harm take place.

GOAL believes that any person that we work with or come into contact with, including our staff, regardless of age, gender, disability, sexual preference or country of origin upholds their right to be shielded from all forms of  harm, physical or emotional abuse and neglect, as well as sexual exploitation and abuse. Safeguarding is not just a policy, it is part of our corporate culture. GOAL’s three-year strategy highlights the importance of safeguarding and appropriate measures to be taken in order to integrate safeguarding throughout our systems and programmatic areas.

Selamawit, a volunteer at the Drop-In and Rehabilitation Centre of ChildSPACE programme in Addis Ababa, with her daughter Hermela in their home in June 2018, Ethiopia.

What are the key activities/milestones?

In our effort to strengthen safeguarding, GOAL appointed a full time Global Safeguarding Advisor and a Director of the Board was designated as Safeguarding Focal Point at Board level. GOAL began a schedule of trainings across the 15 countries we operate in. Each country has a dedicated Safeguarding Focal Point in place who has been trained to monitor, report and disseminate Safeguarding policies. They in turn have selected Field Level Focal Points who received Training of Trainers (ToT) in order to replicate the training with all GOAL staff.

GOAL's work highlighted

In August 2021, GOAL was recognized by InterAction, a US-based alliance of international NGOs, for its good practices in protecting program participants and staff from sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment (SEAH).

The policies and procedures adopted by GOAL to prevent and respond to SEAH served as a basis for a case study led by InterAction.

Our key policies and where they are implemented

Various policies and guidelines have been reviewed and developed. Our Child and Adult Safeguarding Policy can be seen as an overarching policy under which sit the more specific policies -- GOAL’s Child Protection Policy and GOAL’s Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Policy (PSEA). These policies cover the protection of all vulnerable populations, especially women and children. GOAL's Code of Conduct also includes several explicit references to GOAL’s zero tolerance of sexual misconduct.

Safeguarding has been embedded in our Social Media Guidelines. A Global Pre-employment Background Check Standard Operating Process has been launched in an effort to strengthen our recruiting and hiring processes. In addition, we have updated our Partnership Manual, ensuring that safeguarding is an integral component of each phase of the partnership cycle, starting with assessment, through to the identification of capacity-building and monitoring of partners' safeguarding standards.

Safeguarding for a Market Systems Approach

Through the Young Africa Works programme in Uganda, GOAL aims to be at the forefront of humanitarian safeguarding practices by integrating safeguarding throughout the market systems approach. A market systems approach aims to reduce poverty by enhancing the capacities of people in vulnerable communities to integrate and play key roles in the mainstream markets that provide them with jobs, income and access to services.

GOAL is responsible for ensuring that participating partners meet the minimum safeguarding standards and supports partners in strengthening practices, whilst also learning from them and sharing that learning.

Do You Have a Safeguarding Concern?

GOAL is committed to safeguarding the well-being of all and preventing harm, abuse, and exploitation, regardless of age, ability, or disability, gender identity, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, or socio-economic background.

Any concern or suspicion regarding Safeguarding breaches is treated with the utmost seriousness by GOAL.

Confidentiality is maintained at all stages of the reporting process and reports can be made anonymously if you wish.














Our story in numbers


+40 years

Responding to major humanitarian crisis

15 countries

Working alongside millions of people

3,000+ staff

Working around the world

1 GOAL family

Committed to helping others