Safeguarding Essentials: Launch of a new global online learning programme for humanitarian professionals


NGOs have a responsibility to ensure that their staff, operations, and programmes do no harm to children or vulnerable adults, nor expose them to abuse or exploitation. Recent events have highlighted an urgent need for improved safeguarding policies and practice within humanitarian and development organisations.

In the wake of these recent events, donors and supporters are increasingly keen to see effective safeguarding provision and are likely to refuse to fund organisations that cannot demonstrate that they are training their staff effectively. Only by making safeguarding a priority, will we be able to re-gain the public’s trust in humanitarian and development work. However, safeguarding is a subject for which few organisations have the suitable learning resources.

At the Humanitarian Leadership Academy, our goal is to make humanitarian learning accessible to all. We believe that there should be consistent opportunities to develop and maintain the necessary skills and knowledge required to effectively and safely undertake humanitarian work. After working together with a large group of organisations including War Child, Care US, the Open University, Humentum, BOND, Humanity and Inclusion and Save the Children over the last year, we have developed a free online learning programme called ‘Safeguarding Essentials’.

This brand-new programme has been designed to train staff and volunteers in key safeguarding issues and scenarios. The hour-long online course introduces the non-negotiable safeguarding norms, guiding learners on how to recognise potential safeguarding concerns and how to report them. The course will be accompanied by an immersive virtual reality experience, which will allow learners to take part in a series of real-life scenarios around identifying and reporting safeguarding issues.

Learners who complete the course and pass the assessment will receive a digital badge through HPass – a platform which offers humanitarians a space to showcase their expertise. Through HPass, humanitarians can set up a myHPass profile on which to display badges earned from a variety of learning providers, which is publicly available and can be shared with colleagues and potential employers. The initiative promotes transparent and efficient recruitment, by enabling humanitarians to quickly provide verifiable evidence of their skills as they transition between organisations and locations.

Alex Farrington, Head of Strategic Partnerships and Initiatives at the Academy, said:

“The Academy is proud to be launching this new course with the support of over 60 organisations, all of whom are dedicated to ensuring that their staff are properly trained in safeguarding. The course asks participants: “What should you do if you observe or hear about an NGO worker causing harm, exploitation or abuse?”. By giving learners the opportunity to engage with these sensitive scenarios, we hope to equip them with the right tools to take action against misconduct, and ultimately create a safer response.”

The course is available for free on the Academy’s online learning platform, Kaya, which currently provides free online learning to 120,000 humanitarian professionals and volunteers.  It will also be directly shared with organisations so that it can be hosted on their own learning management systems and added to their existing training provision. It will shortly be made available in Arabic, French and Spanish.

Share this