The International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) welcomes the recent development in Kenya towards national unity and co-operation after a very difficult period of violence following the national elections at the end of 2007.
The implementation of the power sharing agreement will be a challenge for everybody in Kenya. Real commitment and determination will be needed if the process is to lead towards lasting peace, national healing and institution building. Political stability is a prerequisite for social development and for counteracting the displacement of all those who had to leave their homes in order to survive.
The negotiations led by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan must be followed up with support from the international community in order to assist all parts of the Kenyan society to work towards an agenda of reform and reconciliation. In our view the successful negotiations are also an expression of how the long-standing and extensive experiences of the United Nations can be used to support national conflict resolution.
Social work will have an important role to play in the reconciliation process. The profession has a long tradition of working with coalition building and mediation in problem solving, based on knowledge of what it takes to ensure the rights of vulnerable people in society. We stand ready to assist our colleagues in Kenya in the time to come.
IFSW has been in close contact with the social workers in Kenya throughout these tragic times and we have together already identified an action programme to rebuild trust and co-operation between different groups. We will continue to work closely with our two sister organisations the International Association of Schools of Social Work and the International Council on Social Welfare to support these efforts.
London/ Bern, March 3, 2008
David N Jones