• The Open University

Implementing Safeguarding in the International Aid Sector

Learn how to implement effective safeguarding measures in different programmatic contexts.

1,000 enrolled on this course

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  • Duration

    6 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours

Improve the safeguarding standards in your international aid organisation

Safeguarding is vital for protecting the children and vulnerable individuals that international aid organisations work with, as well as their staff and personnel from all forms of harm. This has also been identified as an area that needs strengthening in the international aid sector.

This free six-week course will help you consolidate your understanding of the causes of harm, abuse, and exploitation and learn how to implement improvements in your organisation’s safeguarding measures in different programmatic contexts.

Ultimately, the course will equip you with the skills and tools you need to effectively prevent, report, respond, and learn from implementing safeguarding in your work.

Understand the risks posed to safeguarding in the international aid sector

On the course, you’ll have the chance to examine the risks to safeguarding people that are commonly found in different areas of international aid work.

You’ll also get to evaluate the prevention mechanisms used to minimise these risks and consider how these processes could be strengthened.

Develop effective safeguarding procedures and learn improvements for reporting and responding to exploitation and abuse

The course covers appropriate responses to disclosures and survivor-centred referrals, complaints and whistleblower mechanisms, safe marketing and accountability.

Access safeguarding training from the experts at The Open University.

This course was co-created by senior academic safeguarding specialists from The Open University and an international human rights and safeguarding expert who has worked with several international aid and humanitarian agencies.

The course material was developed with advice from BOND, CHS Alliance, and the learner community and reviewed by Safeguarding Leads in international agencies.

What topics will you cover?

  • Building on the learning from Course 1: Introduction to Safeguarding in the International Aid Sector.
  • Identification of vulnerability, intersectionality and safeguarding risks in different development and humanitarian programmes and operations.
  • Development of prevention mechanisms and their use when working with children and people with disabilities.
  • Reporting and responding to abuse and exploitation through community-based complaints mechanisms including whistleblowing, confidentiality, and survivor-centred referrals.
  • Accountability to donors, partners and beneficiaries – including community engagement methodologies, advocacy and marketing.
  • Implementation and learning from safeguarding practices when developing an organisational safeguarding culture.

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

Add to Wishlist to be emailed when new dates are announced

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Mitigate and prevent against safeguarding risks associated with programmatic and organisational practice.
  • Adapt existing tools using a safeguarding lens to implement activities that minimise harm to those who have direct and indirect contact with your organisation.
  • Respond to challenges of safeguarding concerns using a survivor-centred and ‘do no harm’ approach.
  • Support greater accountability and an organisational culture where safeguarding concerns are always reported and responded to appropriately.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for all staff in development and humanitarian agencies. It will strengthen current individual and organisational knowledge and practice of safeguarding and support the career pathways for those aid workers who are looking to become safeguarding specialists.

This course is intended for those who are aged 18 years and above only.


This online course has been funded by UK aid from the UK government; however the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK government’s official policies.

Please note: this course is facilitated by Vicky Ferguson, Philippa Ramsden and Simon Vorley from 28 March until 8 May 2022.

Who will you learn with?

An international human rights lawyer and expert in safeguarding children and vulnerable adults, gender and sexual violence, and human rights and IHL in the international aid sector.

Jan Webb is the Associate Head of School for Nursing and Health Professions at the Open University. She has extensive experience of teaching and developing safeguarding and child protection courses.

Andy Rixon is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Health Wellbeing and Social Care at The Open University, specialising in children, young people, and families. Andy has a background as a social worker

Susan is an Open University tutor and a seasoned development researcher. She works extensively with international development organisations to deliver training and author teaching materials.

Simon is currently the Transition Officer & Global Safeguarding Lead at an INGO. He has led projects and operations in India, East Africa and Latin America over the past 12 years.

Vicky currently holds the role of Global Safeguarding Lead at an INGO. She has 15 years' experience in international development and supporting children and young people in a range of settings

Philippa Ramsden is an international development professional. She specialises in safeguarding and organisational effectiveness and has worked globally in education with a focus on inclusion.

Who developed the course?

The Open University

As the UK’s largest university, The Open University (OU) supports thousands of students to achieve their goals and ambitions via supported distance learning, helping to fit learning around professional and personal life commitments.

  • Established

    1969
  • Location

    Milton Keynes, UK
  • World ranking

    Top 510Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020

Endorsers and supporters

funded by

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