SDDirect integrate safeguarding into everything that we do. We work in a way that is safe for service users and safe for our staff members and consultants.  We support our clients to do the same: providing the highest level of technical advice and assistance.  We put in place safeguarding foundations (through policies and knowledge expansion), operationalise those foundations (through operating procedures and practices), and roll them out (through training, support, case handling functions and investigations).  We work with our clients on their safeguarding journey, no matter where they are starting from.

Our Safeguarding Vision: An Official Development Assistance (ODA) sector, free from all forms of inadvertent harm as well as violence, exploitation, abuse and harassment. Where staff members and constituents are safe from violence, exploitation and abuse perpetrated by personnel funded by ODA and where ODA entities deliver on their responsibilities to ‘do no harm’ effectively.  We do this by offering bespoke technical support on safeguarding against sexual expolitation, abuse and harassment (SEAH), child safeguarding, bullying and harassment, and on social and environmental safeguards.

We work on safeguarding as a means to facilitate positive change within the sector. Safeguarding acts as an entry point to sustainable impact on addressing inequality (particularly gender inequality). We integrate safeguarding expertise across other thematic areas within SDDirect, and other thematic areas within SDDirect are integrated within our safeguarding offer.

 We focus on the following thematic areas of safeguarding:

  • Safeguarding against Sexual Exploitation Abuse and Harassment (SEAH)
  • Child and Adult-at-risk safeguarding
  • Bullying and (non-sexual) harassment
  • Safeguarding in humanitarian contexts and within the Women Peace and Security Agenda
  • Safeguarding in high-risk projects including education, health and infrastructure
  • Working with international financial institutions (IFIs), donors, Fund Managers, international non-governmental organisations (INGOs), and civil society organisations (CSOs) to ensure safeguarding within their operations is addressed
  • Setting up and running reporting mechanisms, case handling systems
  • Capacity development through training and mentoring
  • Digital safeguarding
  • Safeguarding within evaluations and monitoring evaluation and learning (MEL)

SDDirect 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 have provided both gender-based violence (GBV) and SEAH capacity development to numerous partners and programmes, from headquarters level to smaller organisations. We have built GBV and SEAH into risk assessments, programme design, established reporting and response mechanisms, and designed monitoring and evaluation approaches to implement and assess our commitments.  We have supported International Finance Corporation, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Asian Development Bank, Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, and other development delivery partners to understand, identify, address and manage safeguarding risks.

If you would like to hear more about our work on Safeguarding, please reach out to Ann Kangas, Head of Safeguarding Portfolio, at

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.

National Representative Safeguarding - Moldova - Resource and Support Hub

As the war in Ukraine has led to millions of displaced, traumatised, and vulnerable persons inside Ukraine and in surrounding countries, the Safeguarding Resource and Support Hub is in discussions with the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), via Save the Children and Plan International to support safeguarding across the humanitarian response.

Hanna Smit

With a strong background in humanitarianism and social development, Hanna provides technical and research expertise to SDDirect’s Gender-Based Violence and Safeguarding portfolios.