Safe Programming

Humanitarian responses take place in high-risk context and can exacerbate or create new risks. All responses must include proactive measures to ensure we do not inadvertently cause harm to people, nor undermine the values, standards and norms that underpin our work.


Oxfam Safe Programming in Humanitarian Responses: A Guide to Managing Risk

Oxfam: Improving the Safety of Civilians. A Protection Training Pack

Minimum Requirements

Mainstreaming of protection in a WASH programme ensures that:

  • WASH teams contribute to the wider humanitarian goal of safe programming, in particular by mitigating the concern that WASH goods and services provided might make affected communities more vulnerable to violence, sexual exploitation or coercion. WASH staff should:
  • Be briefed by a Manager on the protection threats that they might encounter during the course of their work, and how they could respond.
  • Ensure that protection information relevant to WASH (including land-ownership) is collected and analysed during assessments.
  • Ensure that people’s safety is taken into consideration in programme design e.g. siting and lighting of facilities, distance to water points, community meetings and management of NFI distributions.
  • Understand the relevant linkages for channelling information on protection trends. With the support of the Programme Manager or other Oxfam colleagues, information could be passed to the Protection Cluster, UNHCR or individual agencies dealing with protection issues.
  • Understand the boundaries between protection programming and safe WASH programming.