Safety Considerations

The Sizakuyenza Safe House Team had several areas in which safety was a concern. This included both physical and emotional well-being. The team had to take physical safety precautions when doing labor in and out of the safe house. They also had to take emotional precautions every day. As the safe house is a sensitive environment being respectful of the women often meant acting calm and pleasant regardless of any frustration or difficulty that the team member may be experiencing. Being able to discuss these feelings later and work out any issues was key in emotional health of the team.

In addition to the team’s own safety, they also had to think of the safety of the residents of the safe house. When working with the women it was important for the team to teach the women how to perform each task properly and safely to minimize any risk. Climbing of ladders and other risky behavior was done ether by a member of the team or under close supervision of one of the team members. The team also appointed a safety officer, Christina Noyes, to oversee any potentially dangerous situations and advise on a safer course of action.

Not only did the team have to think about the women helping in the construction but they also had to think about the long term safety issues the residents may face. For example, the team had to make sure that all supplies were safe and child-friendly. For the garden, any fertilizers or composters had to be checked for hazardous chemicals that could be damaging to people’s health (Zahm & Ward, 1998).