In 2020, ChildFund Sport for Development (S4D) launched a Safeguarding in Sport: Online Learning Pilot Project to support sports organisations to improve their safeguarding practices, in response to a growing demand for evidenced safeguarding practices in sport globally. The project was delivered between August 2020 and January 2021, with 31 participating organisations from the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

The Safeguarding in Sport: Online Learning Pilot Project provided participating organisations with access to a series of webinars and tailored support to learn about the key concepts of safeguarding in sport and to begin to develop their own safeguarding framework. 

As the project wrapped up, with 20 out of 31 organisations completing the full course, an external, independent evaluation took place to assess how effective learning was for improving organisational safeguarding practice. Findings are based on a review of the course content, interviews with ChildFund S4D staff and feedback from participants. Some key findings are highlighted below. 

“I was ecstatic to find out that the course was being offered. Safeguarding is something I have really been trying to facilitate in my organisation, but safeguarding is a new term and people do not feel too safe with the term safeguarding.”

Outcomes for Individuals 

A range of important outcomes were identified for individuals:

  • 100% felt that the course had improved their knowledge of safeguarding 
  • 87% felt more confident in their safeguarding role 

Participants also developed their understanding and ability to manage situations related to safeguarding:

  • “I have a better understanding of safeguarding and the terms used.”
  • “Discussing perceptions and understanding how people can view a picture very differently was actually so helpful. It gave us the tools to manage differences in perceptions.”

Outcomes for Organisations 

Overall, 96% of participants identified a positive impact on their organisation in relation to safeguarding:

  • “There is a clear understanding of the importance of safeguarding across all aspects of the organisation now.” 

All organisations developed at least one of the key resource outputs, specifically: 

  • 95% developed a key terms document related to safeguarding to create language use consistency;
  • 85% completed a plan that outlined the ways in which safeguarding concerns could be reported and managed; 
  • 85% completed a community mapping task to highlight sources of guidance and support in their communities;
  • 70% developed a code of conduct to define the behaviours they expect in their organisation.   

Change for the Future

There were incredible examples of how the course catalysed the development of networks:

  • “We are actually going to set up our own thing to talk about implementation and share resources via a website. I think that supporting each other is going to be really important, particularly for small unions. We are all small organisations and so I think that there is a need for us to work together, share experiences, good practice and solutions.”
  • “The course gave us a good enough background to start a safe sport technical working group for our National Olympic Committee.”
  • “The course also allowed me to build networks with fellow safeguarding focal points from other NGBs. Through this course, some of the participants created a safeguarding technical working group to ensure sports become safer for all people in our region.”
  • “The positive aspects were accomplishing certain parts of the policy, having a deeper and broader knowledge on safeguarding, and most importantly, the initiation of the safe sport Technical Working Group for our Olympic Committee.”

Thanks to all participating organisations for their hard work and commitment to make sport a safer place for everyone! 

Building on the success of the course and considering key recommendations from the evaluation report, ChildFund S4D is looking for opportunities to continue working with sports partners to make sport safer for everyone. Stay tuned to learn more!