Wise words are like seeds. The more you scatter them, the more they will grow into infinite gardens of knowledge.

Suzy Kassem

Sometimes it can seem that writing things down is a pointless exercise, but it’s actually an investment – distilling wisdom and experience for others. When you have written guidance, whether it is on food safety, child protection or how bills are paid, you save time and energy in the future. Everyone in your organisation or project can be clear about what has been agreed on how to prevent or address an issue and you don’t have to panic and create a new response every time something happens. Every youth project should have basics:

  • Governing document 
  • Code of conduct for board members, members and staff
  • Financial guidance (who can access your accounts, pay bills etc)
  • Health and safety guidance (relevant for your project)
  • Awareness of their risk map
  • Child protection guidance 
  • Role descriptions and inductions for staff and mentors, so that they are clear about what is (and isn’t) their responsibility, and that all of these policies exist for them to follow

You may need other policies according to the size of your project and local laws and regulations. Identifying and producing these is the role of the board.

Protecting vulnerable people

Child protecting, also known as safeguarding, is an essential building block for projects working with children. While local customs regarding the age of adulthood vary, the international standard is 18. As people wanting to change young people’s lives for the better, and aware of many people who have said that they have done this, but have used activities with young people as opportunities for abuse, we must hold ourselves to the highest standards.

Reflection Questions

  1. What guidelines do you currently have? Are they written down?
  2. How do people access them?
  3. What information do they cover?
  4. Make a list of what guidelines you would like to add.

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