16th – 18th MARCH, 2014, KAMPALA, UGANDA, HOTEL AFRICANA
FUNDED BY: AUSTRIAN PARTNERSHIP PROGRAMME IN HIGHER EDUCATION AND RESEARCH FOR DEVELOPMENT (APPEAR), PROJECT BEHIND THE CONFERENCE: PROSOWO; PROMOTION OF PROFESSIONAL SOCIAL WORK TOWARDS SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT AND POVERTY REDUCTION IN EAST AFRICA
REPORT BY: ELLEN EVA SSUUBI
· The International Social Work Conference kicked off with a Social Workers’ March from Watoto Church to Centenary Park, this match itself showed solidarity and oneness in the profession of social work.
· The conference attracted participants from different parts of the world, virtually from every continent. The conference took place within the week when we celebrate the annual social day which was worth celebrating as we joined hands with the global community to deliberate, but also showcase our contribution to society.
· Without social work other professions cannot stand.
· The conference was a unique feature in that it had the composition of participants who included not only the educators, researchers and development practitioners but also a good representation of students, policy-makers and direct users of social work services.
· In this conference we had the opportunity to listen to each of these groups and to share our vast knowledge and experiences in our different capacities.
· The theme that was addressed in this conference; Towards Social Development and Poverty Reduction, is not just in East Africa and Africa at large but a global issue with more than one billion people still trapped in poverty, thus, a need for a strong social work profession, capable of advocating for and contributing effectively to positive social change.
· We would like to thank Wells of Hope management for enabling us to attend this conference, as Wells of Hope is at the helm of advocacy and “making noise” for the Invisible Victims of Crime, we believe our voice was heard and we made people to start thinking about what they had never imagined to be, quite unique.
· We are glad we made noise (advocacy) to the right forum, policy makers, practitioners, researchers, students who are upcoming social workers and we are believing God this has taken Wells of Hope to another level.
· We networked with different high profile people in the social work profession who would at any one time could become potential funders or can recommend us for funding for these are researchers, lecturers, professors, academicians in different institutions.
· Philosophical terms like: UBUNTU PHILOSOPHY “I AM BECAUSE YOU ARE”, UJAMAA PHILOSOPHY “ONENESS/UNITY” , “Unity is strength”, “A social worker, always a social worker” and many other significant ones, were the talk of the day.
· We were inspired, by great speakers from Africa and beyond like; Vishanthie Sewpaul (PhD), Rodreck Mupedziswa (PhD), Lynnne M. Healy (MSW, PhD) and many others including our Ugandan scholars.
· We had parallel sessions where different topics were being handled in different halls, researched topics of what different individuals are doing in their PhD studies in social work.
· Because of paying our entrance fee, we were not given an opportunity to present, but they gave us an opportunity to present our posters and talk for them which we did successfully.
· The relevance of the MDGs in all that we are doing is paramount
· In all this I realized how relevant and appropriate Wells of Hope is in our society.
· This conference was worth attending it did put Wells of Hope on the map of Uganda, Africa and beyond.
RECOMMENDATIONS/SUGGESTIONS FROM OUR EXPERIENCE IN THE CONFERENCE
1) We are rendering a good, relevant and appropriate service but we urgently need to put emphasis into funding and for us to forward this as a recognized policy in government, we need to prioritise;
- Publishing of our success stories and activities
- We need to join and network with Social Work Associations like, National Association of Social Workers Uganda (NASWU), Association of Schools of Social Work in Africa (ASSWA), there are numerous benefits.
2) The School of Social Sciences Makerere University and our former lecturers’ are ready to help us and work with us to enhance what we are already doing.