Press release issued by the National Association of Social Workers of Uganda
The IFSW Africa Region holds social work conferences once every two years. So far, three conferences have been held with the last one of 2017 hosted by Zambia under the theme: ‘Social Work, Education, and Social Development in alignment to the Global Agenda on Social Work and Social Development launched in 2015’. Uganda is set to host the 3rd International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) Africa Region Conference. The conference is slated for 28th to 31st October this year at Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort.
The conference, held in partnership with the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, is expected to attract hundreds of representatives of professional social workers from the African continent and globally. It will be held under the theme ‘Social Work in Strengthening Human Relations for Social, Economic and Political Transformation.’
Byamukama Michael the President of the National Association of Social Workers of Uganda (NASWU) said that the conference will serve as a platform for knowledge exchange and skills development to improve social work practices in countries across the African continent.
“We are bringing together social workers from across the African continent and entire Globe aiming at enhancing existing linkages, build new partnerships and collaborations and serve as a platform for knowledge exchange and skills development for the scale up of best social work practices in Africa that strengthen the social work profession with the aim of improving quality service delivery,” said Byamukama.
There will be also a pre – youth conference on 28th bringing a number of youths from tertiary institutions and out of school to share knowledge, information, skills and experiences. The conference aims to draw the participation (expecting 500 participants) of professional Social workers from different parts of the globe, Academicians, Policymakers, Social Work Service Providers, the Youth, community frontline workers, and the Private sector among others.
About the Social Service Work Force
Social work is a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people. Principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities are central to social work. Underpinned by theories of social work, social sciences, humanities and indigenous knowledge, social work engages people and structures to address life challenges and enhance wellbeing. (IFSW & IASSW, 2014)
Social Services delivery in Uganda remains a huge challenge with a highly dependent population. According to the 2010 Orphan and Vulnerable Children (OVC) Situation Analysis report, nearly 50% (8.1 million out of 17.5 million) children below the age of 18 are vulnerable, with 1.3 million children considered critically vulnerable. 7.5 million Children experience child poverty and are deprived of essential basic services. Eight million youths aged 15 to 30 years are considered vulnerable.
These statistics not only represent Uganda but are mirrored in many of the African countries. If African countries are to address these issues, the social services workforce has to be strengthened in all the countries. Collectively they are the change agents, in concert with the populations they serve, for improving the welfare of a myriad of disadvantaged and marginalized populations. Strengthening the workforce is core in strengthening the social service system.
One of the key issues that the conference will discuss is the set up of a national council that will monitor and enforce the code of conduct of the social workforce. At training level, social work education is provided in the context of post-secondary institutions and regulated under the University and Other Tertiary Institutions Act (2001). Recently National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) launched the minimum standards for training and educating social workers in Uganda. When enforced it will ensure high quality of social workers produced at tertiary level. On the other hand, at practice level, social work remains unregulated with no legislation to support its establishment and modus operandi. This status quo has limited the utilization of the professional social work capacity in the country in innovating lasting solutions to emerging social concerns in society. Nevertheless, the social development sector has a number of laws and policies, which are directly linked to social work practice notably the Social protection policy (2015) and its attendant
Implementation Plan. “We need to regulate Social Work Practice in Uganda to ensure quality of services offered to the population,”
A country to realize social economic and political transformation. The social work profession promotes social change, problem solving in human relationships and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance well-being. Utilizing theories of human behaviour and social systems, social work intervenes at the points where people interact with their environments. Principles of human rights and social justice are fundamental to social work and all these experiences will be shared during the three-day conference.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outline strategies for countries to end poverty and improve the lives of children and families by addressing health, education, justice, migration and protection from violence. By committing to achieving the SDGs by 2030, UN member states affirm the fundamental rights of children to be protected from all forms of violence, abuse or exploitation. These goals cannot be achieved without a strong and locally-based social service workforce.
The conference will provide time for reflecting on how to strengthen social work profession and working together to improve protection, health and well-being outcomes for children, youth, families and communities as outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals.
Register (http://www.ifswafricaconference.org) , come and learn from the most social work professionals from across Africa and beyond.
For more information, contact:
National Association of Social Workers of Uganda (NASWU) Call: +256718593443/+256772420575