Last weekend (25 & 26 May 2019) in Johannesburg, South Africa, the Jose Foundation hosted an international Safeguarding in Sport Conference in partnership with the South African Olympic Committee. LimeCulture was proud to be an official sponsor of this ground breaking event and delighted to attend to showcase the work we are currently doing to improve the safeguarding responses in sport, both within the UK and internationally.
The conference aim was to bring together a range of sport organisations, including national federations from a range of southern African countries, including South Africa, Kenya and Zambia, to help sport federations identify the policy, procedure and cultural requirements to ensure that sport provides a safe environment for participants.
The event was very well attended and had sessions delivered from the International Olympic Committee, Unicef Africa, International Paralympic Committee, Commonwealth Games Federation and many others including the University of Pretoria with an interest in safeguarding in sport.
LimeCulture’s Director of Safeguarding, Phil Doorgachurn, was there to deliver two sessions on behalf of LimeCulture. The first session Phil delivered was to talk about our organisation’s recent work with the International Fencing Federation to develop a safeguarding framework. “It was an honour and privilege to be invited to this fantastic event to talk about the work we have been doing with the International Fencing Federation in relation to safeguarding” says Phil. “Everyone agrees that safeguarding is so very important to embed in sport, yet there it’s not always easy to ensure that the culture of safeguarding is consistently embedded throughout that sport, allowing for robust responses, with policies and procedures in place to make sure that people can be safe when they participate in that sport. When you add the international dimension – different laws, different customs and cultures – it can seem like an unachievable task to ensure consistency of approach to safeguarding across a single sport in all regions, countries and continents’ explains Phil, whose successful career in sport has focused on safeguarding and improving the responses to safeguarding cases. “However, it certainly is achievable with the right level of commitment and drive to make it happen. Our recent work with the International Fencing Federation shows that with the development of shared goals and common ambitions, an international sport can come together to achieve an approach to safeguarding that is consistent, wherever you are in the world”.
Phil’s second delivery focused on how LimeCulture can assist other federations develop and embed a safeguarding culture. “There has been a shift in recent years to acknowledge that sport must be safe for everyone regardless of where in the world you are. It is simply not good enough for an international sport to provide a gold standard to safeguarding in one country, yet ignore safeguarding in another part of the world” explains Phil. ‘International sports are now recognising the importance of making sure that standards of safeguarding are the same everywhere. Of course, this is extremely challenging, but it can be achieved’ says Phil, whose role at LimeCulture has seen him work both nationally and internationally on improving safeguarding in sport. “Sport has the ability to connect to people across the world in a unique and positive way. The international reach of sport should be embraced – as sport has the ability to reach people everywhere and unite them in a common setting that breaks down differences and barriers in a way that very few other things can. With that comes a huge responsibility to make sure that people are safe wherever they are involved in that sport’ Explains Phil ‘At LimeCulture, we have been developing a method of bringing together international sports to focus on how they can achieve consistency in their approach to safeguarding, working with them to identify their ambitions to keeping people safe wherever they are, supporting them to build on their strengths, overcome challenges and find solutions that will ensure that safeguarding is central to the whole sport, in all territories. Its very exciting to be a part of this”.
The conference was attended by a range of organisations and professionals who have an interest in safeguarding children and vulnerable adults. Many of whom expressed concern about the extent of violence against women and children in some part of Africa. “Sport can play a vital role in tackling violence of this kind. From the prevention work that we have seen done so well with young men in sports like football, right through to identifying athletes who may be experiencing or at risk of violence and abuse, and responding to their needs to safeguard them’ explains Phil.
South Africa is in a good position as they are starting their safeguarding in sport journey and LimeCulture is delighted to be able to share their experience and knowledge to support South Africa to build on the good work that has been done elsewhere, and avoid some of the mistakes that have been made in this space.
Following the conference, there has been a general call to action with many attendees pledging to action safeguarding in their organisations. This includes South African Olympic Committee who have already formed a task group to address safeguarding which holds its first meeting today (Friday).
LimeCulture provides a range of consultancy services for sport, including bespoke support, organisational safeguarding reviews, and training & policy development. For further information contact Phil.Doorgachurn@limeculture.co.uk