Conference addresses social work in Tanzania

Jan 14, 2013

By Rena Malai, News staff

NASW President Jeane Anastas and NASW CEO Elizabeth J. Clark participated in the Tanzanian Association of Social Work (TASWO) conference “Making a Difference to the Vulnerable Groups,” which was held in October in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

NASW President Jeane Anastas and CEO Elizabeth J. Clark participated in the Tanzania Association of Social Workers’ conference and annual general meeting held in Tanzania.

The conference was part of TASWO’s annual general meeting to address the profession of social work, finding ways to further enhance the role of social workers in Tanzania.

“The purpose of the trip was to continue to provide technical support to TASWO, through NASW’s twinning partnership project,” Anastas said. “The goal of the project is to help the recently dormant TASWO re-energize itself so it can develop sustainability throughout the country.”

Anastas gave presentations at the conference that addressed the opportunities and challenges social workers face, and she also talked about Social Work Pioneers. Clark spoke about the structure of NASW in terms of functions, state chapters and resources, and delivered a closing speech titled “Restoring Hope and the Power of Social Work.”

“Social work is developing in a major way in Tanzania,” Clark said.

A highlight of the conference was the attendance of Dr. Hussein Ali Mwinyi, the Tanzania minister for health and social welfare. Mwinyi agreed to support a bill in Parliament that will regulate the profession of social work in Tanzania. With parliament backing, the profession would be significantly advanced in the country, according to the NASW Foundation.

“Having the minister of health attend is a huge step forward for TASWO, as it illustrates the growing importance of the social work profession in Tanzania,” Clark said.

The conference included other presentations that addressed issues social workers face in Tanzania, including memory work interventions for children and families dealing with HIV/AIDS; working with people who have serious mental illness and substance abuse issues; and working to secure the rights of people with albinism, a population that endures much physical trauma and abuse in the region because some believe owning a body part of an albino is good luck.

NASW’s attendance at the TASWO annual meeting is a representation of NASW’s Social Workers Across Nations (SWAN) program, which supports the twinning association-to-association partnership established between NASW and TASWO.

The goal of the partnership is to help build the social work profession in Tanzania by exchanging knowledge, information and professional experience.

From the January 2013 NASW News. NASW members click here for the full story.