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NGOs come together to discuss safeguarding

18 June 2019

NGOs play an important role in helping the most vulnerable in regions all around the world. They bring assistance and hope to those who desperately need both. While NGOs are laser-focused on the care and wellbeing of the people they serve, there’s also a growing need for NGOs to protect their own staff, many of whom are working in treacherous remote areas or dangerous conflict zones.

The past few years, Cigna NGO Health Benefits has strongly focussed on the importance of Duty of Care, Critical Incident Management and Safeguarding. Together with the generous support of the Cigna Foundation, Cigna NGO Health Benefits has been hosting a series of workshops for our NGO partners. The most recent workshop took place in Washington, DC on 11th June.

Cigna partnered with the Cigna Foundation and InterAction, an umbrella organisation for NGOs, to host a safeguarding workshop in Washington, DC. The interactive workshop discussed building organisational capacity to prevent and respond to sexual harassment and abuse. Over 100 representatives from 70 international NGOs registered for the event.

The day started with presentations by safeguarding leaders in the sector from organisations such as Duty of Care International, PSI, and Oxfam. They spoke about defining safeguarding, managing investigations and change management. Three interactive breakout sessions followed where participants discussed practical solutions for critical incident management, organisational change and bullying and harassment.

“Thank you for the excellent workshop. It was very helpful and I came away further energised and excited about the work.” – Duty of Care workshop participant

In addition to the workshop, Cigna hosted a private gathering of 20 CEOs from leading NGO organisations to discuss the progress made over the last year to strengthen safeguarding practices in their organisations and sector. Alongside informal conversations, there were opportunities to share learning and successes with peers, and to identify some common goals going forward.

The workshop in Washington was the final stop in a global Duty of Care roadshow. The first took place in Geneva (Switzerland) in September 2016. Six others followed throughout 2017 and 2018 in Antwerp (Belgium), London (UK) and Nairobi (Kenya).