Social workers from across Africa met in Johannesburg in September 2013 to send messages to their governments and international development agencies. The Voices For Development Conference will inform regional and national governments that it is not acceptable that regional economic growth has not translated into positive social outcomes.
Realising the importance of hearing the views of social work practitioners, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon sent a message to the conference stating:
“Your deliberations will help spur action to achieve the MDGs [millenium development goals] while also contributing to shaping the post-2015 agenda. I count on your full engagement and partnership.”
Writing after the conference in The Guardian newspaper, IFSW Secretary General Rory Truell reported that ‘delegates responded with a set of key messages to the international community that address the major causes of regional poverty and exploitation. These include the need for global frameworks of agreed fair taxing and just trade systems so that Africa doesn’t continue to be “super-exploited” by overseas companies’.
‘Delegates also reminded governments and international agencies that they cannot ‘develop’ other people. Many decades of experience has informed social work practice that people who are the targets of development policy need to be engaged in the policy frameworks from the beginning. Including people, developing shared visions and empowering them to be in charge of their own environments and futures will always have greater impact than rolling strategies upon them’, Rory Truell commented.
The outcomes and resolutions from this African regional conference will be recorded in the first report of the Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development, along with the outcomes of regional discussions in Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Europe and North America, and presented to all governments and international bodies in 2014. The report will be launched at the world conference on social work and social development to be held in Melbourne, Australia in July 2014.
Read the Rory Truell article here
Voices for Development press release
UN Secretary General message to Voices for Development conference,
‘Social workers make an essential contribution to community life in South Africa’, said Deputy Minister Mara Bongi Ntuli at Voices for Development conference.
Abye Tassé opened the conference with a challenge to the almost 600 social workers present. ‘We social workers need to play our role in fighting poverty. We must rediscover our energy and commitment.