Safety and Security Policy
Peace First prides itself on designing programs and tools that are responsive to the needs of young people wanting to create meaningful social change in their communities. As a non-profit organization operating across multiple regions and countries, we have a duty of care to protect our team, grantees, volunteers and community.
We believe that:
- no one, especially young people, should experience abuse, discrimination or bullying of any kind; and
- we have a responsibility to promote the safety and welfare of all young people and to implement our work in a way that protects them
We recognise that:
- the welfare of the young person is paramount;
- all young people, regardless of age, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, race, religion or belief, national origin, immigration status, body size, sex/sex characteristics, or sexual orientation have a right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse;
- some young people are additionally vulnerable because of the impact of previous experiences, their level of dependency, communication needs or other issues; and
- working in partnership with young people, the organizations that support them and other agencies is essential in promoting young people’s welfare and safety.
At Peace First, our Safety & Security work includes all the ways that we seek to protect and nurture the members of the Peace First community - from young people leading projects, volunteer Ambassadors, and fellows to members of our staff team. Some dangers that our community faces are outside of our control, while others are directly linked to our work. In order to protect our community, we identify potential risks, have processes in place to mitigate them, where possible, and plan in advance what steps we can take to limit harm when something goes wrong. In particular, we think about:
- Risk of abuse posed by adults or other youth to young people participating in our programs
- Risks related to young people’s change-making work or association with Peace First
- Risks posed by external threats, both natural and man-made, that are outside of our control (conflict, natural disaster, etc.)
Some examples of how we mitigate risk:
- Adopting Safeguarding best practices and having policies and procedures in place to respond to concerns.
- Recruiting staff and volunteers safely and providing them with periodic training and effective supervision.
- Creating and maintaining a safe online environment and ensuring we have procedures to help us deal effectively with any unsafe activity.
- Creating tools and resources that help young people to assess risks in their change-making work.
- Using expert data and the local expertise of our Regional Manager, Fellows and Ambassadors (volunteers) to stay informed about different risks in different locations.
- Assessing youth-led projects individually and limiting support to some projects where the risks to the young person or their community are very high.
- Ensuring that we have effective communication means in place to report concerns and incidents.
- Limiting public access to information about young people, their stories and projects and keeping higher risk projects hidden on the platform
Our Safety and Security framework hence focuses on three pillars:
- Safeguarding: focuses on how to limit harm posed by adults or other youth to young people in our programs.
- Risks linked to change-making projects.
- Dangers our community faces resulting from natural disasters or man-made conflict, civil war, terrorist attack etc.
Please report any safety concerns using our contact form HERE.
APPENDIX A: Safeguarding Policy - Reducing harm posed by adults and youth to other young people in our programs
Our safeguarding policy has the following preventative measures in place to ensure the safety of all staff members associated with Peace First and the larger community of young people we support and serve.
- Adopting child protection and safeguarding best practice through our policies and procedures globally.
- Providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support, training and quality assurance measures.
- Recruiting staff and volunteers safely, ensuring all necessary background and reference checks are conducted.
- Appointing a Designated Safeguarding Officer and Deputy Safeguarding Officer
- Recording and storing information professionally and securely.
- Creating and maintaining a safe online environment and ensuring we have a policy and procedure to help us deal effectively with any unsafe or suspicious activity that does arise
- Ensuring that we have effective communication means in place to facilitate timely reporting of and responses to concerns and incidents, including any allegations against staff and volunteers, in all cases without any fear of retaliation.
To ensure volunteers associated with Peace First are dealt with in accordance with our equal opportunities policy (a copy of which is available on request). Our policy states that:
- Volunteers have the right to be treated equally and not to experience discrimination on the basis of social class, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, religion, colour, race or ethnic or national origin.
- Volunteers have the right to request reasonable accommodations for a disability, and Peace First will make every effort to accommodate these
- To provide volunteers a safe working environment and the ability to report concerns without retaliation.
- To try to resolve fairly any problems, complaints and difficulties volunteers may have while they work with us.
- In the event of an unresolved problem, to offer an opportunity for volunteers to be supported by a friend during a scheduled call with the Safeguarding Officer & Regional Manager to discuss the issues.
For volunteers, this means;
- Any concerns about harassment and discrimination can be reported to the Regional Managers for their region or, if they do not feel comfortable reporting to the Regional Managers for any reason, they can submit their concerns to our Safeguarding team using our reporting form.
- We do not encourage or expect volunteers to put themselves in danger as part of their volunteer role on behalf of Peace First. If a volunteer feels that their role or any task they are assigned could place them or others at risk or in danger, they should raise this immediately with the Regional Manager for their region or, alternatively, with Peace First’s Safeguarding team using our reporting form. Incase a volunteer wishes to report safety and well being of a young person associated with Peace First please use this form HERE.
- We do not encourage or expect volunteers to give bribes to facilitate any aspect of their work.
Please note that the following are outside of the scope of what Peace First can offer to Volunteers:
Technology, such as computers, phones, etc. Volunteers are to use their own equipment.
Funding. Peace First does not provide any form of direct funding for any purpose outside of the mini grant program. We do not fund individual needs such as education programs.
Documentation. We are unable to provide letters of support or proof of employment for purposes such as visa or asylum applications.
Physical security. Social activism that volunteers undertake outside of their volunteer role, i.e. participation in local civil society organizations, attending protests, etc. is at their own discretion. We respect their expertise in the local context and ability to risk assess each situation and know what’s right for them. In the event that they are subject to harassment, detained by the authorities or injured, Peace First has no local standing or power to affect their situation.
Reducing risks linked to changemaking projects
While Peace First has reached over 164 countries, we do not have the resources and legal standing at the local level to support young people in addressing possible safety and security concerns arising from the implementation of their projects. Our Safety and Security policy is hence centred towards preventative measures aimed at assessing and creating risk mitigation strategies that prioritize safety in change-making work. The Safety and Security Team at Peace First is equipped with comprehensive training and knowledge around safety and security, conflict and crisis management and the international human rights framework.
This expert-driven framework assesses risks associated with all projects on our platform. This assessment is conducted based on the latest risk determination from third-party live security intelligence data and reports. The assessment includes an evaluation across various determinants such as country/city profile, project topic, state agency, external/internal factors, civil unrest/conflict etc., While we have an overarching framework, we are mindful and intentional about incorporating strong local knowledge in our assessment to account for varying socio-economic, legal and political landscapes. The assessment is conducted across two parts of the project journey to ensure all possible risk factors are accounted for. The final evaluation is used to assign any of the following project risk tags:
- Proceed as normal - project involves minimal risk
- Proceed with caution - project involves some risks and must only proceed with changes to the project that minimize the risks identified. In case of projects from high risk countries or project topics, we have designed a risk mitigation policy that reduces the visibility of such projects, young person(s) & their communities on our digital platform.
- Escalate- project involves high risks and cannot proceed.
As a global non-profit organization that is registered in the United States of America and hence legally operates as per U.S. laws and regulations, we are restricted partially or fully from supporting change-making work in certain countries. Please refer to the following table for more details. This list changes frequently and while Peace First makes all attempts to ensure the most up to date information is made available, it is possible at times that this may not be reflected here. Last Update: 13 February 2023
APPENDIX B: Assessing Programmatic Response for external events experienced by our youth community
We consider the following criterias to assess and design an appropriate response to address dangers faced by our community resulting from natural or man-made disasters such as terrorist attacks, civil war etc.,
- Whether the incident/event directly affects our community and/or industry.
- Whether the incident/event is happening in a location where we have a presence and expertise.
- Whether the issue is aligned with our mission and values.
- Whether the issue is focused on one of the SDG topics we work on.
- Whether the topic falls under any of the following themes: religion, politics (partisanship), ethnic conflict? Kindly note we do not respond to any incident/event falling under these categories.
- Whether the response alleviates or exacerbates the risk.
- Whether Peace First has the resources and capacity to respond at this time.
We strongly believe in providing tangible support to our community. Our responses are hence designed and executed programmatically. Some examples of ways in which our assessment informs our response to the dangers faced by our community are:
- Regional Managers in regional groups (Whatsapp/FB) share compassionate and positive notes of support to console, affirm and encourage community members based on verified and vetted information.
- Regional Managers and Ambassadors (volunteers) may share verified third-party resources or information through regional groups.
- The Programs team decides on programmatic responses such as the Rapid Relief Campaign where a fast-track grant approval system is launched to provide urgent access to financial aid for young people located in affected regions.
Peace First Community Guidelines
While Peace First has specific guidelines for various activities such as labs, impact room events, regional groups on social media or whatsapp, here are some common guidelines we expect all young people to abide by in their engagements through Peace First platforms and in their changemaking work.
- Do not be disrespectful, rude or use profanity against any of the members or the moderators.
- Do not post inappropriate content including adult/sexualized content, content that exploits or abuses children, content that promotes or celebrates violence, criminal activity or terrorist organizations. Content that is inappropriate or unrelated to the conversations on the group or platform will be immediately removed.
- Do not share your personal information such as (phone number, credit card or banking information, personal email address or social media accounts) in an online community. You can share professional social media accounts such as LinkedIn only.
- Do not use Peace First platforms for soliciting business or personal services, fundraising or activities not related to your changemaking work.
- Please respect the privacy of other individuals associated with Peace First and do not reach out to them directly on their personal social media handles. You may email your Peace First mentor ( regional manager or fellow) requesting them to connect you to any individuals or groups of individuals within our community. We may initiate this connection based on mutual consent.
- Help keep the Peace First platforms safe: If you think someone is being hurtful, disrespectful, unsafe or otherwise inappropriate please report it. HERE
- Stay on topic: Our community is designed to support young people with their peacemaking journeys. Content that is assessed as being spam or containing links to offer products or services and/or considered not relevant to the purpose of our community will be removed by our moderators.
- Peace First logos can only be used by grantees and partners under the following circumstances:
1). On your change making projects or other platforms, posters, shirts-and other project related merchandise as ‘SUPPORTED BY PEACE FIRST’
2). The logo design and guidelines on when to use or not use the logo are directly shared with grantees during project implementation phase.