Security traffic light: CEDEM develops a self-assessment tool for civil society organizations

March 28, 2023

The full-scale war in Ukraine has forced civil society organizations to pay more and more attention to security and safety: protecting team members, proprietary information, personal data and more. After all, systematic work with these topics will help organizations to be proactive and prevent risks.

To make it easier for organizations to work with their own security, the Centre for Democracy and Rule of Law within the project “Ukraine Civil Society Sectoral Support Activity” has developed “Security Traffic Light” – a tool for self-assessment of security levels in the format of a test. It will allow an NGO or charitable organization to assess how protected they are from external threats and risks related to physical, legal and digital security in their work.

See the Security Traffic Light for civil society organizations here.

We were prompted to develop this tool, among other things, by the request from civil society organizations, which understand that security audits are important. 

The Security Traffic Light is built as a block-by-block questionnaire with answer options, the number and content of which determines the levels of danger. The system then calculates the number of points and indicates the green, yellow or red hazard level for each section.

The developers based the test on three sections:

  • Physical securityof civil society organizations (CSOs) – measures designed to protect the organization, its assets, employees and beneficiaries from intentional or accidental threats;
  • Digital security– technical and digital tools, IT solutions that protect the digital assets, proprietary information and personal data of CSO members and beneficiaries;
  • Legal security– protecting the organization from legal risks due to internal inconsistencies or external influences.

Another important component of the tool is the brief guidance that the system generates depending on the risk level in each section. Through these tips, CSOs will be able to make a difference.

The tool is designed to build capacity and resilience and to encourage the development of a safety culture among CSOs – not only those that face risks on a regular basis (e.g. working in a frontline area), but also the rest of the civic sector. 

According to the developers, it is important to complete all three sections of the test to have a comprehensive security screening for your organization.

Each block contains 15-20 multiple-choice questions. The estimated time to complete the questionnaire is 20 minutes. 

We recommend this tool for managers and deputy managers of NGOs or charitable organizations, safety managers, program or strategic development directors, and CFOs.

The Security Traffic Light for CSOs has been developed by the Centre for Democracy and Rule of Law as part of the Project Ukraine Civil Society Sectoral Support Activity implemented by the Initiative Center to Support Social Action “Ednannia” in partnership with the Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research (UCIPR) and Centre for Democracy and Rule of Law (CEDEM) with the sincere support of the American people through United States Agency for International Development USAID Ukraine.