Improving safeguarding in the ARISE Hub and beyond
Much of the current discussion on safeguarding comes from the perspective of the humanitarian sector, and direct service provision and implementation. Additionally, researchers working in global health also experience safeguarding challenges, and research funders and donors require assurance that safeguarding processes and policies are developed and implemented to protect participants and researchers, yet governance in the research arena is less developed. Recognising the critical importance of safeguarding in research practice, ARISE Hub partners from five countries have united to collectively learn from each other and co-develop understandings of, and approaches to, safeguarding that will continue to evolve. Institutional systems and processes provided an opportunity for mutual learning among all ARISE Hub partners, in the North and the South. However, the process itself produced multiplier effects, with ARISE Hub experience and knowledge influencing safeguarding guidance and policy beyond the ARISE project in the UK, India, Sierra Leone, Bangladesh, and Kenya.
The ARISE hub learning shows how safeguarding should not be seen merely as a procedural check box process. As such, safeguarding is more than awareness raising and more than
reporting of incidences. Instead safeguarding must be an iterative, ongoing learning journey that is critical, reflective, and inclusive of vulnerable people. It also involves regular points of reflection on what was done in relation to a particular incident, why this response was considered most appropriate, what unintended consequences, if any, arose from particular responses, and what lessons might be learnt from this.
This story of change demonstrates that ARISE has lived up to the promise of safeguarding being an iterative, ongoing learning journey.