“Prevention is better than cure” - RSH Nigeria Hub on air

Oge headshot

Oge Chukwudozie is a safeguarding/protection professional, with over 15 years’ experience in the aid sector. She has worked with different organisations, including Africare, Christian Aid and Save the Children. Oge has worked in various thematic areas such as education, HIV/AIDS, livelihoods, nutrition and emergency response. She is currently the National Associate for the RSH Nigeria Hub.

What’s the difference between protection and safeguarding? What are some essential steps organisations need to take to become safer? Oge Chukwudozie, RSH Nigeria Hub National Associate has answered key questions on air with Kapital FM radio station. Watch the interview and understand the basics of safeguarding streamed on the Click Naija Programme on 23 November 2021.

Safeguarding basically means systems that organisations put in place to ensure that they are not causing harm to their beneficiaries,” Oge said, adding that policies, code and conduct and other systems need to abide by the “do no harm” principle.

On the other hand, protection from Gender-Based Violence (GBV), child abuse or protection from other types of abuse happen in the communities. But safeguarding means ensuring that the organisation itself is not the cause of harm. This means all the staff, volunteers and consultants, and ensuring that the programmes are run in a way that they are not causing harm to the beneficiaries in terms of Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Sexual Harassment (SEAH), or other forms of harm.

“What do organisations need to put in place to be described as safe?” radio host Adaku Akoma asked.

The first step is prevention, then there is reporting, and finally, response, Oge said. 

We always say that prevention is better than cure. It’s better that you prevent safeguarding concerns from happening.

This should be supported by a strong organisational culture where the leader “provides the space for things to thrive. If the leader supports safeguarding and talks in meetings about how the organisation has zero tolerance to SEAH and bribes, the organisation will follow the leader.” 

Organisations must also create their code of conduct and policies, and train staff and the communities about these mechanisms.

What does ‘zero tolerance’ really mean? You need to make sure that staff truly understand that, and you need to train the community as well. For example, you need to tell beneficiaries that this organisation will never ask for money to register you into the programme that they are doing, Oge said.

When the community members understand that if anyone from the organisation asks for money, sex or anything else, or harass community members in any way, they realise that those staff are not working in line with the organisation’s tenets. And then they must report.

Secondly, in designing your reporting mechanisms, you need to work with the community because they are the ones that will report.

And finally, how do you respond to reports? Confidentiality is key, and the response should be survivor-centred, Oge explained.

Another pressing question was, how to handle situations where a male boss sexually harasses a female subordinate. Even if she reports the incident, she may get fired, the radio host said.

There should always be an opportunity to address an incident at a higher level, for instance at the PSEA (Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse) Network or the board of the organisation, said Oge.

She added that the RSH Nigeria Hub offers a free Ask an Expert service providing up to three days’ worth of safeguarding guidance to organisations. Read more about the service and apply.

Listen to more from the Nigeria Hub team in Pidgin! Understand the basics about safeguarding via the podcast below. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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