Safeguarding the future: The Outcome of Integrating Safeguarding into a Market Systems Approach in Uganda - GOAL Global Skip to content

Safeguarding the future: The Outcome of Integrating Safeguarding into a Market Systems Approach in Uganda


October 4, 2022 • 5 min read

GOAL’s Safeguarding Series showcases the vital work of Safeguarding and Protection Teams. This second edition covers a new area of work by GOAL, integrating safeguarding in a market systems approach.

Young Africa Works programme

To address the ongoing crisis of youth unemployment, GOAL Uganda is partnering with the Mastercard Foundation and implementing partners on the Young Africa Works programme to provide 300,000 young Ugandans with access to dignified and fulfilling work in the agricultural sector.

GOAL Uganda has established a safeguarding strategy to clarify how staff and partners can take steps to ensure that prevention, detection, and response to harm and abuse is firmly embedded throughout programming.

GOAL aims to be at the forefront of humanitarian safeguarding practices by integrating safeguarding throughout the market systems approach. A market systems approach aims to reduce poverty by enhancing the capacities of people in vulnerable communities to integrate and play key roles in the mainstream markets that provide them with jobs, income and access to services.

Community and Partner Engagement

The Young Africa Works: Markets for Youth project involves working with a wide range of partners (private sector actors, civil society organisations, small and medium enterprises, corporate businesses, and social investors) to help young people acquire skills and opportunities in sustainable agribusiness.

GOAL is responsible for ensuring that participating partners meet the minimum safeguarding standards and supports partners in strengthening practices, whilst also learning from them and sharing that learning across the consortium.

Applying GOAL’s Safeguarding Strategy

To improve community engagement, GOAL’s Safeguarding Team have developed a community-led training manual which includes over 15 tools and activities to raise awareness of safeguarding amongst youths. In practice, GOAL’s Safeguarding Focal Points train ‘youth champions’ to cascade this knowledge through community peer groups. These groups work together to explore and identify negative behaviours, attitudes, and practices that increase their risk to abuse, and implement changes to adopt safeguarding practices.

In May 2022, Mandy Yamanis, GOAL’s Global Safeguarding Advisor, travelled to northern Uganda to visit the Young Africa Works: Markets for Youth programme with Victoria Tendo, GOAL Uganda’s Safeguarding and Accountability Manager. They were able to pilot tools from the training manual with programme partners.

Training Programme Partners

Multi Community-Based Development Initiative (MUCOBADI), a local Civil Society Organization (CSO) in Uganda, partnered with GOAL on the programme. Their Programme Specialist, Yosia Emukule, said, “before I worked with GOAL, I had limited understanding of what safeguarding is. These trainings have made me realise that safeguarding is beyond protecting myself. Safeguarding should be part and parcel of everything.”

Since partnering with GOAL, MUCOBADI has developed its first Safeguarding Policy, appointed safeguarding focal points, and trained all staff. Yosia believes this partnership will “push MUCOBADI as an organisation to a higher level”. Robert Basaaza, Director of another GOAL partner, Guide Leisure Farm (GLF), has also said that since partnering with GOAL, their safeguarding systems have also been significantly strengthened.

The String Game: In a circle, youth champions are informed that the ball of yarn represents a 15-year old girl who has been abused. The ball is given to the first person the girl tells (e.g. role-playing mother). The mother holds the string and passes the ball to the next person she would tell, and so on. The idea is that the web of string highlights the reporting process and participants will reflect on whether this is helpful for the survivor and how they can strengthen the system.

Raising Community Awareness

GOAL’s Safeguarding Team held safeguarding sessions with youth champions to test the community-led safeguarding training manual. During these sessions, young people indicated that Community Conversation would be the best way to share knowledge of safeguarding amongst their peers. They found visual aids and videos were very helpful. Another interesting outcome was that the word safeguarding is not easily understood among the public; prompting discussions to use alternative words such as “protection, guiding, counselling.”

In Lamwo district, GOAL’s team met with more youth champions from Palabek refugee camp. They were open to sharing examples of abuse in their community. The Safeguarding Team were then able to test the ‘string game’ from the manual, which explores how abuse and harm is currently reported in the community. The exercise also facilitates the development of a locally appropriate reporting mechanism. The group were then able to identify who to report concerns to in their community. Challenges raised also included the use of the word safeguarding – as it is easily comprehended by users of the information – the youth.

MUCOBADI’s Programme Specialist, Yosia Emukule (rear-left), engaging with youth champions.

Safeguarding the Future

Early signs are promising. The new approach has led to significant learnings that will enhance GOAL’s safeguarding work. GOAL Uganda will continue to work with its partners to strengthen all areas of safeguarding in the Young Africa Works programme. GOAL is committed to enabling an environment that promotes a strong safeguarding ethos and culture by ensuring that safeguarding is at the heart of all GOAL’s operations.

Learn More

About GOAL Uganda

GOAL has been working in Uganda since 1979 and is currently implementing programmes that build community resilience and support socio-economic development with a focus on water, sanitation and hygiene, nutrition, health systems strengthening and agricultural market systems. For more information please visit:

About the Mastercard Foundation

Young Africa Works is Mastercard Foundation’s strategy to enable 30 million young people, particularly young women, across Africa to access dignified and fulfilling work with three million in Uganda by 2030. To realize this vision, the Foundation aims to contribute to the development of strong education and training systems that prepare young people for work, effective labour markets that link young people to opportunities, and strong financial and key sector markets that drive productivity and link young people to work opportunities.