Thirty UK funders have joined global safeguarding programme in past year

Thirty UK funders have joined a global safeguarding programme since it was launched last year, figures show.

The Funders Safeguarding Collaborative was established by a small group of foundations in March 2021 in an attempt to force a “fundamental shift” in how funders and international development charities work together on safeguarding.

Twelve months on, the FSC has 33 members based in the UK, the group said. It has more than 50 members worldwide.

These include the UK charities that helped found the programme, Comic Relief and the Global Fund for Children UK Trust, as well the Association of Charitable Foundations, Stewardship and the Wellcome Trust.

When it was founded, FSC identified “the chronic underfunding” of safeguarding work at aid organisations as “one of the main obstacles to progress” in the sector.

The group was established after a series of scandals involving safeguarding at large global aid charities, including revelations in 2015 that senior Oxfam staff in Haiti had used local sex workers in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake there.

The Charity Commission later issued Oxfam with an official warning over its handling of the incident

Any charity that joins the FSC network can attend webinars and use shared resources, but paying members also have access to targeted advice and support on managing questions about safeguarding. 

Members have contributed more than $1m (about £786,000) to the programme in the past year, a spokesperson said.

Franziska Schwarz, senior adviser for sector safeguarding at Bond, the umbrella body for aid organisations, said: “Funders coming together with every stakeholder in the sector, including members of Bond, to listen, understand and learn from one another is paramount to make progress in protecting people from sexual exploitation, harassment and abuse.”

- This article was updated on 27/4/22 to clarify the reference about the financial contributions from members

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