Mr Peter Amos Tweneboa-Kodua, President of the Ghana Association of Social Workers (GASOW) on Monday called on members to effectively and efficiently utilise their knowledge, experience and networks to have a major impact on society.
“We must integrate the social, economic and environmental factors, which are a core part of sustainable development. This interrelationship will help to inform what we do, why we do it and what we expect to achieve.”
Mr Tweneboa-Kodua made the call in a statement issued in Accra to commemorate World Social Work Day celebration on Tuesday, March 20.
The Day is an annual event, which offers the opportunity for all social work organisations to promote the significant role of social workers and the Social Work profession.
The statement said unlike the previous early celebrations, this year was with a difference, because the Social Work Day on March 20 will also be celebrated on United Nations Social Work Day six days later on March 26.
It said the International Federation of Social Work (IFSW) had invited both local and national organisations, members and partners to celebrate the Week-Long World Social Work Day from March 20-26 on the theme: “Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development”.
“On March 26, IFSW and our partners will present the objectives of the Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development to the United Nations Secretary General,” the statement added.
It said the theme would address the need for a united platform to strengthen, the ‘dignity and worth of the person’, to reduce ‘social and economic inequalities’ and emphasised the importance of ‘human relationships’ in a ‘sustainable environment’.
The statement explained that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral and ethical vision for every society and therefore must be maintained in all matters of socio-cultural, economic, educational and political dispensation.
These include human rights issues in relation to social, economic, cultural and political situations, respect for diversity and different belief systems, especially indigenous and first people’s voices, political instabilities, violence, dominations, and the erosion of peace building processes.
The rest are, terrorism and modes of response by States and the modalities of handling global conflicts, migration, refugees, trafficking, immigrants, immigration and ways of handling these issues, and the role for social work practice, education and social development.
The statement said environmental sustainability addressed areas like, disasters of natural and human origin, management and prevention, involvement of local communities in developing responses, implications for sustainable social development, protecting the physical environment, and proactive engagement with social, human and ecological development.
On the importance of human relationships, the statement said family and relationship issues and challenges across the lifespan emerge as a major concern in relation to the transformation of the country and the world.
Some examples are the needs of; children and families, people with disabilities, people needing health and mental health services, people who are ageing, people with drugs and substance abuse problems and people suffering from violence within domestic and intimate relationships.
“In our society, human life, especially, is under direct attack from domestic violence, child abuse, chieftaincy disputes, cheating on the poor, unfair justice to the poor and the needy and inequality. Therefore we are being called upon to protect the right to life by addressing and seeking effective ways to prevent poverty, starvation and marginalisation to improve the lives of the vulnerable in our society.“
The statement said to address the new global challenges and to achieve the global agenda, social workers believed that new strategies had to be employed.
“We commit ourselves to employ the following strategies, extending partnerships, building capacity and assets, developing a unified professional voice, engaging with local, national, regional and global bodies and strengthening analysis and consolidating evidence to support collective advocacy and action.”
The association, on the occasion of the celebration, reiterated their previously engaged collective action and developed a vision at local, national and global levels in response to the many issues and challenges.
These include poverty, social protection, disaster prevention and intervention, peace-building processes, human rights, challenges across the life cycle, disabilities, community development, partnership with service users and consumers; interdisciplinary practice and policy development.
“Many but not all of these are encompassed in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDG’s are global, time-bound and quantified targets for addressing extreme poverty in its many dimensions – income, hunger, disease, lack of adequate shelter, and exclusion – while promoting gender equality, education and environmental sustainability. They also reflect basic human rights – the rights of each person on the planet to health, education, shelter and security, as pledged in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the UN Millennium Declaration.”
“I wish every gallant Social Worker a Happy Social Work Day, may we all articulate the issues from our professional perspectives in a strong and persuasive manner to contribute our knowledge, experience and networks to have a major impact,” the statement said.