SOAS University of London

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'Safeguarding’ by whom and for whom? Working in difficult contexts in the era of COVID-19 (webinar)


Date: 16 July 2020Time: 1:00 PM

Finishes: 16 July 2020Time: 2:00 PM

Venue: Virtual Event Room: Webinar

Type of Event: Panel Discussion

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Safeguarding by whom and for whom? Working in difficult contexts in the era of COVID-19

While safeguarding is not a new concept to the UK, it is increasingly being focused upon within the context of international development discourse and practice, not least due to the emergence of funding schemes such as the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). Safeguarding refers to provisions for the protection of children and ‘vulnerable’ groups and would appear to reflect historical issues in the UK and other industrialised western societies, thus the terminology may not be readily used within most low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) targeted by these schemes. Despite the context-specific historicity of the concept, it is increasingly becoming a standard criterion for international development good practice, as seen in its deployment by research funding bodies, NGOs and academic institutions. In this session, we would like to apply a more critical lens to the conversations so far by exploring the following questions:

  • What does ‘safeguarding’ pertain to, whose responsibility should be to define ‘vulnerable’ groups or groups ‘at risk’ and what ethical considerations need to be given when transposing these expectations to LMICs in view of communities' socio-cultural, political and historical particularities?
  • How might researchers working internationally protect children and other potentially vulnerable groups that may be susceptible to exploitation or abuse in the contexts they work in and in ways that consider the diverse conditions, regulatory frameworks and cultural standards of the societies they work in? What should be the involvement of regulatory bodies and research partners in these countries in the process of identifying appropriate strategies?
  • How have government responses concerning SARS-Cov-2 (Coronavirus, Covid-19) affected different groups in local societies and what additional considerations might researchers need to take in response to the current crisis and the challenges it poses?

The discussion will be facilitated by Dr Romina Istratii, Senior Teaching Fellow and GCRF Officer at SOAS.


  • Dr Kweku Ackom, Human Development Advisor, DFID UK
  • Dr Leona Vaughn, Derby Fellow (Slavery and Unfree Labour Research Theme), University of Liverpool UK & Research Director & co-author of the UK Collaborative Development Research (UKCDR) Safeguarding in International Research Guidance 
  • Prof Alex Kaniymba, Deputy Director: Academic Centres, University of Namibia, Namibia
  • Khalid Hasan, Governance & Ethics Officer, SOAS UK


Please register on eventbrite 

Watch the event on Panopto (broadcasting will start at 1pm on Thursday).

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