Social workers discuss role in promoting U.N. goals

Dec 19, 2017

By Paul R. Pace, News staff

Grameen Bank provides credit without collateral to those who are poor in rural Bangladesh.

Aimed primarily at women, these microcredit loans of often no more than $100 are meant to help those who are poor launch small businesses.

The bank says it has 8.92 million borrowers, 97 percent of whom are women, and it provides services to 97 percent of the villages in Bangladesh.

NASW member Michael Cronin, associate professor at Monmouth University, said this microcredit model and other emerging financial tools can be cost-effective as well as a social approach to fight poverty across the world.

Social workers promote social work's role in promoting the U.N.'s sustainable development goals in New York.

Social workers promote social work’s role in promoting the U.N.’s sustainable development goals in New York.

Cronin offered this and other finance tools that have the potential to help alleviate poverty on a wider scale at a special workshop at the United Nations Headquarters in New York in July.

He was among the members of International Federation of Social Workers’ representatives to the U.N. from New York and Geneva that hosted the workshop, which was held before an audience of mostly NGO representatives across the globe.

Presenters shared insight about the social worker’s role for reaching the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, proposed by the U.N.

Cronin’s presentation focused on SDGs 1 (End poverty in all its forms everywhere) and 9 (Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation).

He said more and more social workers are embracing business principles for social good.

Cronin was joined by NASW Social Work Pioneer and IFSW representative to the U.N. Elaine Congress, associate dean and professor at Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service.

She highlighted social work’s role in relation to SDG 3 (Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages) and SDG 5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls).

The SDGs apply to not only developing countries, but to developed countries as well, Congress explained. This includes the U.S., which she notes has poor health outcomes in several areas, including high rates of maternal and infant mortality and heart and lung disease.

She explained the health risks for women and girls that occur across the life cycle, which include maternal and infant mortality, rape, violence, diminished educational opportunities, substance abuse, suicide, childhood marriage, and lower pay.

From the November 2017 NASW News. NASW members may read the full story here.


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