How to prevent and address safeguard concerns in global health research programs: practice, process and positioning in marginalized spaces – World


  1. Bucket Aktar1,
  2. Wafa Alam1,
  3. Samiha Ali1,
  4. Abdul Awal1,
  5. Margaret Bayoh2,
  6. Ivy Chumo3,
  7. Yirah Contay2,
  8. Abu Conteh4,
  9. Dean5,
  10. Skye Dobson6,
  11. Jerker Edstrom7,
  12. Helen Elsey8,
  13. Nadia Farnaz1,
  14. Surekha Garimella9,
  15. Linsay Gray10,
  16. Jaideep Gupte7,
  17. Kate Hawkins11,
  18. Beth Hollihead5,
  19. Kunhi Lakshmi Josyula9,
  20. Caroline Kabaria3,
  21. Robinson Karuga12,
  22. Joseph Kimani13,
  23. Alastair H Leyland10,
  24. Dolf te Lintelo7,
  25. Bintu Mansaray14,
  26. Joseph MacCarthy4,
  27. Hayley MacGregor7,
  28. Mberu3 blessing,
  29. Nelly Muturi12,
  30. Linet Okoth12,
  31. Lilian Otiso12,
  32. Kim Ozano5,
  33. Ateeb Parray1,
  34. Penny Phillips-Howard5,
  35. Vinodkumar Rao15,
  36. Sabina Rashid1,
  37. Joanna Raven5,
  38. Francis Refell16,
  39. Samuel Saidu14,
  40. Shafinaz Sobhan1,
  41. Prasanna Subramanya Saligram9,
  42. Samira Sesay14,
  43. Sally Theobald5,
  44. Rachel Tolhurst5,
  45. Phil Tubb5,
  46. Linda Waldman7,
  47. Jane Wariutu13,
  48. Lana Whittaker5,
  49. Haja Wurie14

Author affiliations


Safeguards are rapidly increasing on the international development agenda, however, the literature on safeguards in related research is limited. This document shares processes and practices related to protection within an international research consortium (the ARISE center, known as ARISE). ARISE aims to improve accountability and improve the health and well-being of marginalized people living and working in informal urban spaces in low- and middle-income countries (Bangladesh, India, Kenya, and Sierra Leone). Our manuscript is divided into three key sections. We begin by discussing the importance of safeguarding in global health research and consider how thinking about vulnerability as a relational concept (made up of unequal power relations and structural violence) can help locate context-specific and fluid safeguard risks within systems wider social. We then discuss the different steps taken at ARISE to develop a shared approach to safeguarding: sharing institutional guidelines and practices; facilitating a participatory process to agree on a working definition of safeguarding and joint understanding of vulnerabilities, risks and mitigation strategies and sharing experiences; develop action plans to safeguard. This is followed by reflection on our key learnings, including how protection, ethics, and health and safety issues overlap; the challenges of referral and support to safeguard concerns within frequently neglected urban informal spaces; and the importance of reflective practice and critical thinking about power, judgment, and the position and property of the global narrative surrounding protection. We end by situating our learning within debates about decolonizing science and arguing for the importance of an iterative and continuous learning journey that is critical, thoughtful, and inclusive of vulnerable people.