“We want to address the misuse of power”

Caroline Kibos headshot

Caroline Kibos is the National Associate for the South Sudan Hub. She is a lawyer with a passion for human rights, peace building, governance, transitional justice and security sector reforms. Caroline has worked in the civil society sector for years, and her interest in safeguarding is to help build a safe work environment where everyone feels comfortable and equal despite holding different positions.

What is safeguarding and what is needed for it? Caroline Kibos, RSH South Sudan Hub National Associate has answered listeners’ questions on air with Miraya FM radio station in Juba. Listen to parts of the recording that aired live on the Miraya Breakfast Show with host Sebit William in January 2022.

“Safeguarding, in very simple terms, is keeping people safe from harm,” said Caroline Kibos, and added that safeguarding also means addressing harm when it happens.

Harm is often caused by staff misusing their power, Caroline explained. It can happen in any organisation, anywhere.

In an organisation, certain people may have more power based on their gender, race, organisational role, disability, sexuality, nationality or education. People with less power can be at greater risk of exploitation and abuse, and “we want to address that misuse of power,” Caroline said.

Answering the host’s question on what is needed for safeguarding, Caroline said that a range of things need to be in place, including:

  • Organisational standards: within human resources, programmes and partnerships, and these need to also align with global standards
  • Organisational culture and leadership is needed to model the expected behaviour and make sure that procedures are consistently integrated and followed
  • Safeguarding policies, procedures and code of conduct: policies state organisations’ commitments; procedures provide details on how commitments shall be enacted; and the code of conduct outlines expected behaviours
  • Systems of communication, learning and development: a variety of communication methods to provide people with regular information, staff and partners understand their obligation, people (including community members) know how to report, regular training and continuous trainings for those with specific safeguarding responsibilities
  • Integration of safeguarding throughout the entire organisation, from HR to programming.

A listener calling in from Juba asked about repercussions a perpetrator of Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Sexual Harassment (SEAH) would face, especially if they are the head of the organisation.

Once evidence is gathered and a perpetrator is found guilty, they can be relieved of their duties and taken through legal procedures. However, sometimes survivors may not wish for the perpetrators to be punished and that wish must be respected, Caroline said.

The same listener asked what reporting mechanisms are in place for staff or the community where projects are delivered. Accessible and confidential reporting mechanisms like community-based complaint mechanisms for community members and emails/suggestion boxes for staff must be available, Caroline said.

For reporting mechanisms to be effective, the community and staff must be involved in their development. This builds trust and ownership in the system.

Listen to another listener from Malakal saying that most perpetrators of Gender-Based Violence and Sexual Exploitation are men, and that cases happen mostly due to stress or trauma, economic hardships and drug or alcohol abuse. “Most of the bosses in offices are men and they are the perpetrators. How can we bring SEAH to an end?” he asked.

Caroline said that mass awareness is needed to inform people about their rights, reporting channels and harmful cultures that hinder reporting such cases. In so doing such cases will be brought to light and handled properly to see perpetrators punished as a way of deterring others from doing the same and survivors getting justice.

Caroline also highlighted the RSH Ask an expert service. This is free and tailored support available for any South Sudanese civil society organisation. “As the National Associate, I am the first point of contact and where other support is needed, this can be drawn from within our pool of consultants. You can submit a query asking for support with developing or implementing a safeguarding policy or quality assuring a new process.” To send request for Ask an expert please email [email protected].

 

Recent blogs

I facilitated a training for BBC Media Action (BBCMA) partners on safeguarding as part of a cooperation between RSH and BBCMA. The training for different partners in Abuja and Calabar brought me up close with media practitioners and the gap in knowledge on safeguarding matters. Safeguarding has…
Recently, the Safeguarding Resource and Support Hub (RSH) facilitated a training for WEWE staff and partners on safeguarding. The training topics ranged from introduction to safeguarding and risk management, to the role of leadership in promoting safeguarding in an organisation. The training also…
As part of the RSH Nigeria mentorship program, I recently facilitated a two-day Staff Safeguarding Awareness Training for a civil society organisation (CSO) I mentor, Community Support and Development Initiative (CSADI) in Kano State. The aim of the training was to increase the safeguarding…
Mentoring is a two-way trusted relationship where both the mentor and mentee learn and grow on a personal and professional basis. It is a reciprocal process of mutual growth. Mentoring has provided me with a great opportunity to lead and inspire people on and increase knowledge of safeguarding. In…
Closing a 6-month investigation mentorship, the RSH recently celebrated the graduation of 8 mentors in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Safeguarding consultant Lucy Heaven Taylor, who developed the programme’s case studies, joined the celebration virtually from the UK and thanked the Ethiopian facilitators…
Aberra Wondimu is the Safeguarding Focal Point in Hiwot Ethiopia. He has more than 15 years’ experience in the humanitarian and development sector and has worked for various local non-governmental organisations. He has experience in capacity building, HIV protection, child protection, care and…
The RSH MENA Hub took civil society organisations on “A Safeguarding Journey” in three different locations, Syria, Yemen and Jordan, in March 2022. The purpose of the interactive training was to improve local actors’ safeguarding knowledge. Participants highlighted that the journey effectively…
Safeguarding has been a topic of interest since the 2001/2002 food for sex scandal in West Africa. Policies have been written and employees sign to upholding these policies, but the question remains: why do safeguarding concerns still often occur in the aid sector? Keep on reading as safeguarding…
Having worked in the humanitarian and government sector, it’s not presumptuous to point out that South Sudan has a challenging environment, particularly for children, women and those with disabilities. Safeguarding challenges increase the risk of harm towards these vulnerable groups. Sexual…
Phil Collins once said, “In learning, you will teach, and in teaching, you will learn.” Mentoring is a great way to contribute to others by dedicating yourself to uplifting your mentee and building confidence. To me, mentoring is about building a relationship founded on shared interests and goals…
I joined the humanitarian world in 2015 and had some knowledge on safeguarding. Due to my work experience related to Sexual and Gender-based Violence (SGBV) and HIV/sexually transmitted infections, and engaging youth on employment-related concerns, I began to hear issues of Sexual Exploitation,…
The news of the rape of Aisha Umar, a female internally displaced person (IDP) by a male aid worker in Borno State, Nigeria has re-emphasised the need for safeguarding as an essential tool to ensuring that the “Do no harm” principle is imbibed in the work we do. Our primary objective as aid…
Join RSH mentor Oluchi Ihedoro as she shares in this vlog some safeguarding reflections and learnings gathered during an exchange meeting she facilitated for civil society organisations (CSOs) in Lagos, Nigeria. The Safeguarding RSH Nigeria Hub rounded off its first phase of the mentoring…
Prior to watching the What is safeguarding? animation by RSH, I confused safeguarding with protection, thinking safeguarding is about protecting beneficiaries from abuse and negligence inherent in the community. The animation helped explain in simple terms what safeguarding really means and the…
All of us can do our part in eliminating Violence against Women and Girls, Nigeria Hub Senior Advisor Dr. Eleanor Nwadinobi said on Click Naija FM on 10 December 2021. Dr. Nwadinobi discussed 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, and the mission of the RSH Nigeria Hub. Wearing orange…
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…
Broadly speaking, safeguarding means preventing harm to people in development and humanitarian assistance delivery. Persons with disabilities are a major segment of the community, who are prone to many abuses and exploitation. Apart from sexual abuse and other harm, persons with disabilities…
RSH: What interests you most about safeguarding? Accountability! I am very excited about the awareness that safeguarding is creating which makes everyone, irrespective of position or job description, to have a sense of responsibility in ensuring a safer work environment for all, and in seeing that…
With the new round of the RSH mentorship program kicking off in Nigeria, I’d like to tell you my experiences and what I have learnt from managing the mentorship program. The mentorship goes for 6 months and aims to support organisations to strengthen their safeguarding systems and practices. The…
Involving stakeholders in decision-making may inform safer programming, Farida Umar Jauro has learnt. Following the recent graduation of the RSH Nigeria Hub’s safeguarding mentorship programme, we asked mentee Farida about how her safeguarding knowledge has developed through the mentoring. RSH:…
RSH: What interests you most about safeguarding? The fact that it creates a healthy and safe environment for people to work. Safeguarding is about creating an environment where people are not only safe from harm, abuse, and exploitation but also where they have choice, control, and information to…
The RSH Nigeria Hub has recently had a roundtable meeting with leaders of civil society organisations (CSOs) and asked about the benefits of having a good safeguarding system. The participants also discussed challenges and their own role as leaders in strengthening and promoting safeguarding…
Semhal Getachew is the National Associate for RSH in Ethiopia. She has an academic background in law and social work and has over 18 years experience working on gender equality and women's rights in Ethiopia. Most of her work experience combines carrying out practice-based research to support…
What interests you most about safeguarding? I have a passion to advance and protect children and vulnerable adults from all forms of abuse and sexual exploitation. What are some recurring safeguarding questions/topics in your region? In consultancies I've undertaken, both inside and outside of…
Manu Samuel Seth is giving us an overview of the risk assessment and management tool developed by the RSH Nigeria team, and top tips on how to make the most of it. Download the risk assessment and management tool and the guidance on our page here. To view the recording and slides of the Live Q&…
RSH: What interests you most about safeguarding? The possibility of creating sustained behavioural change and an alternative way in envisioning the wider change in our ultra-conversative communities. RSH: What are some recurring safeguarding questions/topics in your region? We have a number of…
I’ve had some mentoring and coaching experience in the past, and I believe that for the benefit of the mentees, you have to put your feet in their shoes, especially when they are facing challenges. The Safeguarding Mentoring Training provided by the RSH has helped me to be more confident in…
Meet Lola Adeola-Oni, Chair of the safeguarding National Expert Board Oge Chukwudozie is the National Associate for the RSH Nigeria Hub and a safeguarding/protection professional, with over 15 years experience in the aid sector. During her career, Oge has worked in various thematic areas but her…
The RSH Nigeria mentors have a virtual monthly meeting to celebrate progress and problem solve safeguarding challenges. In April, mentor Julie Adegbesan described how a lack of dedicated donor funds made it difficult to access funds for safeguarding training. Listen to Julie ask mentor Oluchi…
Safeguarding is a journey and wherever you’re on it, there’s always room to pause, reflect, assess, improve, and repeat. The idea of the RSH mentorship programme is to support organisations whether they’re just starting out or improving their practices to efficiently safeguard the people they seek…