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Safeguarding Essentials: Launch of a new global online learning programme for humanitarian professionals

Humanitarian Leadership Academy
Fecha de publicación

London, 11 October 2019:

NGOs have a responsibility to ensure that their staff, operations and programmes do no harm to children or vulnerable adults, nor expose them to abuse or exploitation. Recent events have highlighted an urgent need for improved safeguarding policies and practice within humanitarian and development organisations.

In the wake of these recent events, donors and supporters are increasingly keen to see effective safeguarding provision and are likely to refuse to fund organisations that cannot demonstrate that they are training their staff effectively. Only by making safeguarding a priority, will we be able to re-gain the public’s trust in humanitarian and development work. However, safeguarding is a subject for which few organisations have the suitable learning resources.

At the Humanitarian Leadership Academy (the Academy), our goal is to make humanitarian learning accessible to all. We believe that there should be consistent opportunities to develop and maintain the necessary skills and knowledge required to effectively and safely undertake humanitarian work. After working together with a large group of organisations including War Child, Care US, the Open University, Humentum, BOND, Humanity and Inclusion and Save the Children over the last year, we have developed a free online learning programme called ‘Safeguarding Essentials’.

This brand-new programme has been designed to train staff and volunteers in key safeguarding issues and scenarios. The hour-long online course introduces the non-negotiable safeguarding norms, guiding learners on how to recognise potential safeguarding concerns and how to report them. The course will be accompanied by an immersive virtual reality experience, which will allow learners to take part in a series of real-life scenarios around identifying and reporting safeguarding issues.

Learners who complete the course and pass the assessment will receive a digital badge through HPass - a platform which offers humanitarians a space to showcase their expertise. Through HPass, humanitarians can set up a myHPass profile on which to display badges earned from a variety of learning providers, which is publicly available and can be shared with colleagues and potential employers. The initiative promotes transparent and efficient recruitment, by enabling humanitarians to quickly provide verifiable evidence of their skills as they transition between organisations and locations.

Alex Farrington, Head of Strategic Partnerships and Initiatives at the Academy, said: “The Academy is proud to be launching this new course with the support of over 60 organisations, all of whom are dedicated to ensuring that their staff are properly trained in safeguarding. The course asks participants: “What should you do if you observe or hear about an NGO worker causing harm, exploitation or abuse?”. By giving learners the opportunity to engage with these sensitive scenarios, we hope to equip them with the right tools to take action against misconduct, and ultimately create a safer response.” The course is available for free on the Academy’s online learning platform, Kaya, which currently provides free online learning to 120,000 humanitarian professionals and volunteers. It will also be directly shared with organisations so that it can be hosted on their own learning management systems and added to their existing training provision. It will shortly be made available in Arabic, French and Spanish.

For more information, contact Anne Garçon, Digital Communications Adviser on (+44) 020 3884 7715 or email

Notes to editors

Humanitarian Leadership Academy

Since its inception in 2015, the Humanitarian Leadership Academy has built a network of partners, globally, with a mandate to work with communities, ensuring they are ready to prepare for, and respond to, crisis situations.

The Academy provides learning through its digital platform Kaya – a one-stop shop providing free materials. It also provides paid-for services using its expertise in organisational learning and development to help others create their own digital platforms, develop their learning strategies and capabilities, and work with private sector organisations. In turn, the private sector can train staff as volunteers in emergency responses and plan for disasters. Website:


HPass is a new platform dedicated to professional development in the humanitarian sector. It offers two key services 1) digital badging to promote recognition of humanitarian skills and expertise, and 2) Quality Standards for humanitarian learning and assessment. HPass is a collaborative initiative led by eight organisations working together to drive up quality and consistency of professional development for humanitarians, and is hosted by the Humanitarian Leadership Academy.


Digital badges

A digital badge is similar to a certificate but with the benefit that it can be stored, displayed and shared online. It provides verifiable evidence of skills, experience and expertise. Details of the criteria to earn a badge are provided in the badge metadata, accessible by clicking on the badge. Digital badges are already used widely outside of the humanitarian sector (for example by EY, IBM and Open University) - HPass offers a service specifically for humanitarians, enabling them to accumulate digital badges as evidence of their skills and build up a portfolio throughout their careers.