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North-South South Program Social Work and Social Problems in Sub-Saharan Africa North-South South Program By. Miguel Marrengula (PhD)

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Presentation on theme: "North-South South Program Social Work and Social Problems in Sub-Saharan Africa North-South South Program By. Miguel Marrengula (PhD)"— Presentation transcript:

1 North-South South Program Social Work and Social Problems in Sub-Saharan Africa North-South South Program By. Miguel Marrengula (PhD) Formal and informal social work practices: Boundaries and connections

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3 Formal and informal social work 1- Formal social work What do you think formal social work is? Where does it take place? Who is engaged in it? 2 – Informal social work What do you think formal social work is? Where does it take place? Who is engaged in it?

4 Formal vs informal Lack of academic discussion on the topic. This is not merely related to the definition of what the term 'formal' or ‘informal’ should mean when used, or what would be the correct conception of what is formal and what is informal. This is reflect on the implications of the use of the terms 'formal' and ‘informal’ social work practice seem to have within different settings.

5 Formal social work I mean the social work service provided by a professional entity on a contractual basis Here there is a client – social worker relationship throughout a certain type of agreement (rights and obligations). Here the social worker gets a material compensation for the service provided.  Social workers, psychologist, phisiotherapists, mental health professionals, etc.

6 Informal social work I mean the length of social services provided on a basis of social capital Social capital  the set of links, values and understandings in society that facilitate individuals and groups to trust each other and so work and live together, by supporting each other economically, emotionally, psychologically and so forth. Here the provider of theses services may not be professionally trained and does not expect any financial or any kind of material pay.  Friendship, familyship, voluntary work, etc.

7 This means that… It may be assumed that the informal social work is all social work made through isolated experiences of everyday practices and this happens normally within unspecified social networks that have not been formally recognized and established by official institutions of social work.

8 The case of Mozambique By seeing Social Work in Mozambique under these dimensions we can note that:  Mozambican local cultural settings are very much alive and active in the provision of social protection and family/community welfare  However, the education in general and the social work education in particular, that has been provided by national public and private institutions highly reflect approaches, philosophies, perspectives and methodologies that have been brought and introduced by the western schools of the last century.

9 Social work education at university level has about 8 years and there are 5 higher education institutions providing such education, namely: Eduardo Mondlane University since 2013, Higher Institute of Local Development Studies since 2013, Catholic University since 2004, the Jean Peaget Institute since 2005 and the Higher Institute of Health Science since However, none of these institutions is reflecting on the ways of integrating the native/local practices and knowledge of SW provisions as formal, since there is no even a code of ethics nor real practical official settings for social work service provision.

10 Unfortunately … In Mozambique a police officer, and engineer, a mechanic, a medical doctor, a biologist, an anthropologist, a sociologist or if I can say, everybody can perform social work activities and get paid for it. Is this formal social work?

11 If social work is: Helping profission Problem solving profession Rights and humanitarian based profession Anti-opressive profession Egalitarian profession Etc…

12 It looks like there are two separate worlds in Mozambique: 1- the so called informal world taking place outside the official institutions of social work practice (families, communities, etc.). 2 - the one taking place inside the formal institutions of social work of practice (MMAS, NGOs, etc). These practice views are in a permanent battle where one is following the principles and techniques of the North to dominate the other.

13 The epistemology of South Epistemology is “any notion or idea, reflected or not, about the conditions of what counts as a valid knowledge. It is through the valid knowledge that a given experience becomes intentional and intelligible” (Santos and Meneses 2010). South is metaphorically conceived as a field of epistemic challenges, seeking to repair the damage and impacts historically caused by capitalism (and neocapitalism) in its colonial relationship with the world.

14 The authors remind an aspect of colonialism that was given little attention  the epistemological domination  which resulted in the elimination of many ways of local knowledge of the colonized populations. Santos calls this process “epistemicide”  "the suppression of local knowledge perpetrated by an alien knowledge (Santos, 1998:208)  This had more dramatic consequences than the genocide committed against many populations.

15 “ Epistemologies South are the set of epistemological interventions that denounce this suppression, value the local knowledge, that successfully resisted success and investigate the conditions of a horizontal dialogue between knowledge" Santos suggests three guidelines to be followed: to learn that there is South ; to learn to go to South ; to learn from the South and with the South "(Santos 1995:508).

16 The point is… YES we need social work education in Mozambique Yes it must be professional and integrated to the global agenda and ethical perspectives Yes it must be institutionalized and advocated in all different settings Yes indeed…it is very important to be prepared to help the society….

17 BUT… We should never forget to ask:  What kind of social work?  How to have such social work?  for whom?  How to bring local epistemes into global social work practices? The responsibility is ours and we are all an important part of this battle.

18 Social work education should be seen throughout the SOCIAL WORK LANDKSCAPES  This would allow epistemological pluralism

19 Questions What do you think can be done to integrate informal social work practices into the official agenda? How to advocate social work in Mozambique to make it part of the official agenda?

20 Kanimambo Kiitos paljon Nyibongine Asante


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