25 September 2013
Social workers and communities should rediscover the energy of past struggles to renew the fight against poverty, according to Professor Abye Tassé in his keynote address to the ‘Voices for Development’ conference which opened in Johannesburg today, 25 September 2013.
Professor Tassé deplored the lack of ambition in the report of the UN Eminent Persons Group which had reported on the review of the Millennium Development Goals. He said that it was appalling that the group thought it sufficient to propose a target of reducing extreme poverty, which they see as ensuring that people have a minimum income of only $1.25 (US) per day and at a best $2.00.
The speaker expressed disappointment that leaders are becoming more distant from the people, living in different areas, experiencing higher standard of living and protecting themselves from the majority. He asked how leaders who claim to be egalitarian can justify growing inequality.
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. We need to join with others to fight the enemy poverty. It is our professional duty to join this debate and to propose strategies to eliminate poverty’, Abye Tassé concluded.
For further comment, background information and interviews, please contact:
NASW(SA) – Ulene Schiller, NASW Secretary, Phone: +27-828-558913
IFSW – Rory Truell, IFSW Secretary General, Phone: +49-17671-697916,
Note for Editors
The “Voices for Development” Conference opens today, Wednesday, in Johannesburg, South Africa. Around 500 social workers are gathering from South Africa, the wider African region and more widely to participate in 3 days of presentations and discussion on 25th – 27th September 2013.
The National Association of Social Workers – South Africa (NASW(SA)) is a voluntary organisation which supports the professional development of Social Workers, Social Auxiliary Workers and Social Work and Social Auxiliary Work Students in South Africa. The Association draws its membership throughout the country from Social Work Practitioners, Educators and Managers within the Social Work sector who are self-employed, or work in Non Profit Organizations or Government Departments. There are currently at least 1,000 signed up members.
The International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) is the global federation of national social work organisations, including around 90 national associations consisting of more than 750,000 individual social workers. IFSW is divided into 5 regions with the Africa region consisting of the following countries; Benin, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Lesotho, Morocco, Niger and Zimbabwe, Senegal, Egypt, and Mozambique. IFSW remains true to its focus and belief that development should not only be sustainable but also be able to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.
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