Working with 41 projects around the world, all working towards supporting 1.5 million girls in the world into education presented a particularly complex problem for the SDDirect-run safeguarding team. Not only in terms of keeping girls and staff safe, but also in providing support to a wide variety of organisations, who were all at different stages in their safeguarding journey.
The paper ‘Protection is Possible’ outlines the Safeguarding Operating Model used by the GEC’s Safeguarding Team in detail. The model moves beyond traditional approaches to safeguarding based on compliance and works with partners to be able to deliver effectively – keeping safeguarding of girls and staff at the heart of everything the GEC delivers, ensuring it is always prioritised, never an after-thought and that actions which affect the safeguarding of girls’ and staff are addressed most urgently. The model meets partners where they are on their safeguarding journey and supports them through capacity development, one-to-one support and feedback, reviews of policies practices and procedures, case handling support and an approach which uses appreciative inquiry whilst maintaining accountability.
The model used demonstrates that meaningful compliance to safeguarding standards is not only possible, but possible at scale, with depth and at a rapid pace where the right model is used. The average proportion of GEC implementing partners meeting the GEC Safeguarding Minimum Standards went from 30% in 2019 to 98% at the end of 2020.