Do no harm/safer programming

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Leaders ensure that teams know to only approve new partners, projects/initiatives if they have evidence that the programme appropriately addresses safeguarding issues.

Discuss the behaviour

Consider how the behaviour relates to your working environment and your interactions with colleagues and others outside the organisation. Pose your own questions where relevant and make notes on your discussion.

Questions for you to consider

  • What is the process for developing new and continued projects and initiatives?

  • What is the process for approval and sign-off for new partners, projects and initiatives, who is involved and what is the role of the leadership team?

  • How are these processes audited from a safeguarding perspective?

  • Who is designated as a safeguarding lead at different levels of programme/project implementation?

  • Are safeguarding leads sufficiently senior and influential to challenge decisions that could put people at risk?

  • Do your safeguarding leads have the necessary training/experience and skills to ensure that programmes do no harm?

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What actions would you implement to make a change?

Using what you discussed, decide what actions you plan to take as an organisation. Note down who is accountable for ensuring these are implemented and when you aim to achieve them. Note that the "Actions for leaders" are a starting point, not an exhaustive list. You can add specific actions that are relevant to your organisation.

Glossary of terms used


When we speak about “leaders” we mean those people within an organisation that have the authority and power to make decisions and allocate resources. Depending on the organisation, this could be a CEO, directors, senior management teams, country directors, safeguarding leads or other decision-makers.


Safeguarding is about all the preventative and responsive measures we take to ensure we do no harm to anyone in our organisation and anyone we come into contact with as part of our work. This tool was developed with tackling sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment (SEAH) in mind, but is applicable beyond that.You can find a more comprehensive definition on the Bond website


For example, to the same degree that financial decision-making is tracked and audited. Example of audits could include the Core Humanitarian Standard or Keeping Children Safe.

Safeguarding champion

If you are a UK NGO working with children and adults at risk, the Charity Commissions states that you should appoint a safeguarding lead.