Efforts aid global social service workforce

Aug 18, 2016

Eight countries across sub-Saharan Africa have made significant progress strengthening their social service workforces in the past five years, according to a newly released report by the Global Social Service Workforce Alliance.

Panelists Lorraine Sherr, left, and Sarah Stevenson.

Social service workers create protective environments for healthy development and well-being among vulnerable populations by alleviating poverty; reducing discrimination; facilitating access to essential services such as HIV/AIDS services; promoting social justice; and preventing and responding to violence, abuse, exploitation, neglect and family separation, according to the GSSWA 2nd annual report released June 2.

However, in many countries, this workforce has been largely underused and under-resourced in advancing health and social development goals, the document notes.

“The report makes two critical contributions towards strengthening the workforce,” Dr. James McCaffery, chairman of the steering committee of the GSSWA, said in a press release. “First, it uses country cases to provide a rich description of progress and challenges over the past five years. And second, it suggests future actions to continue and sustain progress so a stronger workforce can better serve vulnerable populations.”

The debut of the report coincided with the 3rd annual Global Social Service Workforce Alliance Symposium, held June 2 in Washington, D.C. More than 300 people participated in the event in person or via live webcast.

This year’s theme was Strengthening the Continuum of Care for Vulnerable Children and Families.

Participants included representatives from UNICEF, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), governments, professional associations, nonprofit organizations and universities. The symposium is supported by GHR Foundation and USAID with funding from PEPFAR.

The NASW Foundation serves on the GSSWA Steering Committee.

The gathering offered practitioners, government representatives, scholars and other experts from around the world opportunities to discuss efforts to strengthen the social service workforce and advance systems and services for children and families.

From the July 2016 NASW News. NASW members can read the full story here.