From case handling to safe recruitment: lessons of a safeguarding mentee

Faridah headshot

Farida Umar Jauro is a young humanitarian aid professional with 4 years’ experience in northeast Nigeria. With direct program support and technical experience in protection, her career has been largely focused on GBV/child protection, case management, psychosocial support, accountability to affected populations, capacity building projects and community-based protection solutions. Farida speaks English, Hausa and Fulfulde, and has extensive field experience. She believes in survivor-centred approaches, a participatory leadership style and community involvement as a way of achieving strategic objectives for developing organisations aiding conflict-affected populations.

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: How did your safeguarding journey start?

It started when Goggoji Zumunci Development Initiative (GZDI) partnered with RSH for the six-month mentorship program. As the newly appointed safeguarding focal point of the organization, I have been given the responsibility to ensure a supportive working environment free from Sexual Exploitation, Abuse or Harassment (SEAH).

RSH: How do you feel you’ve benefitted from the mentorship?

The mentorship program has impacted and developed my skills in numerous ways. For instance, I am now more aware of how to effectively communicate and engage with the affected populations and survivors of SEAH through consultation, participation and information sharing. 

That is not enough, but I’ve been made to understand that involving diverse groups of people throughout the project life cycle in decision-making processes that affect their lives will help provide critical information. In addition, this will help mitigate risks and social exclusion of some groups in the community. If we bear in mind the views and opinions of the affected populations, it will help GZDI to make informed decisions on program design and implementation, thereby ensuring safer programming.

RSH: What resources have you found most useful?

Reflecting on the sessions, I feel there is much to do in the prevention and response to SEAH cases. As an organization, we have a duty of care for the perpetrator if they are a staff as well as for the survivors as their rights, wishes and choices need to be highly prioritized. I can’t help but talk about how helpful and useful the Case handling flow chart will be in attending to SEAH cases as it clearly shows and guides the whole process from when the complaint was recorded up till the closure of the case.

I’m now more informed about the role I have to play in the recruitment process by working closely with the recruitment team to ensure safer recruitment of personnel. I see the importance of conducting capacity building trainings for staff, volunteers, vendors and contractors on SEAH and ensuring that due diligence is conducted, a memorandum of understanding and code of conduct are signed by all.

RSH: How does the mentorship benefit your organisation?

The GZDI capacity has improved and senior management has taken steps to ensure that programmes do not cause harm to people, by updating the code of conduct, developing the safeguarding policy and working towards developing associated policies as a preventive measure to SEAH.

I find that the recently developed risk register is significant in mitigating SEAH as it spells out the risk level and mitigation measures. I can’t conclude but to say that am glad and grateful to be trained to support the Zero Tolerance campaign on protection from SEAH.

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