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Social Development Direct are market leaders in providing safeguarding technical services.

We have experience working with diverse clients, from development finance institutions and private sector companies to UN agencies and NGOs, universities, and government bodies.

We are committed to helping organisations prevent and respond to exploitation, abuse, harassment and all forms of harm.

We are proud that the flagship Safeguarding Resource and Support Hub is part of our portfolio of work.

Man holding hands over blocks of playing pieces shaped as humans.

What is safeguarding?


Uneven power dynamics - like those seen in the development and humanitarian aid sector, and in private sector supply chains – increase the risk of harm and exploitation. The more vulnerable staff and community members are, the more likely they are to be exploited, abused, harassed, or otherwise harmed. When organisations’ safeguarding measures fall short and misconduct occurs, projects, relationships and already made gains can be jeopardised and community tensions can be increased.

Our work in this area


Our dedicated team of global safeguarding professionals ensure that you receive the highest level of technical advice and support. We start our work from wherever your organisation is on their safeguarding journey. We take the time to understand you and your organisation so we can provide support that is contextually relevant, responds to real needs and leads to success in safeguarding. We offer an explicitly intersectional feminist approach to safeguarding – in particular on the intersections of gender, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression (SOGIE), and disability.  

We can support you with:  

  • Safeguarding policies, procedures, models and systems 

  • Safeguarding knowledge building, including with tools, guidelines, training, and coaching on safeguarding. Research and learning on what works in different contexts and for different organisations

  • Incident case handling and investigation advice

  • Monitoring, evaluation and learning of safeguarding efforts

  • Safeguarding audits and self-assessment support. Click here to read more about our Safeguarding Framework for Organisations

Our thematic areas include: 

  • Safeguarding against Sexual Exploitation Abuse and Harassment (SEAH)  

  • Child safeguarding  

  • Bullying and (non-sexual) harassment  

  • Safeguarding in humanitarian contexts  

  • Integrating safeguarding into high-risk projects  

  • Digital safeguarding  

  • Case handling and investigations 

  • Safe research, monitoring and evaluation 

“Our collaboration with SDDirect will help light the way to real improvements in the way AfDB seeks to prevent, mitigate and respond to SEAH risks in its operations. The (team's) . . . commitment towards safeguarding helped make this an exceptionally rewarding experience for everyone involved.”
David Simpson
African Development Bank (AfDB)
"Since 2019 RSH has successfully developed and tested initiatives to improve safeguarding practices amongst small CSOs in the aid sector . . . during the year of this review the impact of that work began to be seen at a larger scale.”

Safeguarding Resource and Support Hub Annual Review, 2022
Independent Review on behalf of the UK HMG Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)

If you would like to hear more about our work on Safeguarding (SG), please reach out to Anna Gawn, Head of Safeguarding Portfolio,

Good practice note on addressing sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment in ADB-financed projects with civil works

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) developed this good practice note (GPN) to assist ADB staff, executing and implementing agency staff, and consultants in identifying risks of sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment (SEAH) in selected ADB-financed sovereign projects with civil works; and to advise executing and implementing agencies on how to best prevent, mitigate, and respond to such risks.

Preventing, mitigating, and responding to sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment (SEAH) within AfDB operations

This Advisory Note is designed to increase understanding of the ways in which AfDB may conduct due diligence with a view to addressing, mitigating and preventing SEAH in the projects it finances. For that purpose, it summarizes the AfDB’s own policies; notes where these policies have gaps; and provides examples of best practice from other contexts – to aid the AfDB in developing approaches to addressing SEAH within its operations.

Collaborating with the ODA community to support survivors of SEAH

This Learning Product shares practice-based reflections on engaging with members of the Official Development Assistance (ODA) Community toward improved support to survivors of Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harrassment (SEAH) perpetrated by representatives of ODA organisations. Reflections are derived from 5-months of delivering the Supporting Survivors of SEAH Programme (S2S) programme in Malawi, and through responses to a short online survey provided by senior managers and Protection against SEAH (PSEAH) Technical Leads within agencies.

Developing models of survivor co-production in the ODA sector - is it achievable?

As the international aid sector continues to make progress towards full realisation of the commitments made during the Safeguarding Summit in 2018, Official Development Assistance (ODA) organisations have made well-intentioned efforts to improve the prevention, mitigation and response to sexual exploitation abuse and harassment (SEAH)[1].  However, SEAH remains a scourge in the ODA sector[2].

Query 81 - Evidence review on people accused of witchcraft in Ghana and Sub-Saharan Africa

This report gives an overview of the situation for people accused of witchcraft, good practice in responding to accusations of witchcraft, and relevant international and regional conventions. It is primarily focussed on Ghana and sub-Saharan Africa but also includes some global evidence to address evidence gaps or provide more examples of good practice.

'We will find some other reason': a personal reflection on queerphobia within women's rights work and the Official Development Assistance (ODA) sector

During a previous international development assignment in a fragile and conflict-affected country (before I joined Social Development Direct), I was evacuated and lost my job because I am a queer woman. Someone had found out about my relationship with my partner and sent a letter threatening to report us both to the national government. They had sent the letter to my partner’s Country Director and demanded that her contract was terminated.