The first Livestream webinar of IFSW Africa Social Work practice during Pandemic has brought together Social work practitioners across Africa in solidarity with colleagues around the world to share experiences. Professionals from Nigeria, Marocco, Kenia, Malawi, Gambia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, the UK gave a brief outline of what is happening in their countries.
IFSW Africa Vicepresident, Mr. Joachim Mumba says “The IFSW Africa Region is calling upon Governments across Africa to recognize the vital role that social workers play in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic. We note that Social workers across Africa need clearer guidance and professional support and resources from governments and their employers to be able to support children, families, communities and those that need social work services the most during the coronavirus pandemic. Most Governments have been concentrating only on the medical aspect of COVID-19 at the expense of social work interventions.
As IFSW Africa Region, we desire to see all Governments creating a conducive environment for a multi-disciplinary response to COVID-19. In trying to fulfil their statutory duties, many social workers are worried about how to effectively deliver such services in the wake of restricted movements and mass isolation. As a Region, we are concerned about how social workers will provide services to children and families if they can’t meet them on one to one basis owing to our technological challenges. Governments and employers must therefore support Social workers to safeguard people at particular risk of violence, depression and neglect during this period, whilst national social work associations should promote ethical and rights based social work practice during this emergency and in a long term.
IFSW President Silvana Martinez and Secretary-General Rory Truell have expressed “We know social workers in the African region have an immense challenge, on top of the lack of state resources you now have the added extreme stresses of the virus and its economic consequences. IFSW at the regional and global levels stands with you and will continue to do so. Together we are learning from one another, sharing our knowledge and strengthening the social work response. IFSW globally wants to thank and acknowledge all social workers in the African region, your approach of build community capacity to fight this virus is saving many millions of lives”
A further global webinar in the series will be announced shortly. Meanwhile, the discussion of the first webinar can be followed here (link). Information on the social work role and response can also be found on the IFSW website www.ifsw.org