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6th Annual Social Service Workforce Strengthening Symposium: Evidence for Action

May 7, 2019
8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ET

FHI 360 Conference Center, 1825 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC, USA
and live webcast
Registration is now open


The Symposium will provide a forum for practitioners, government representatives, scholars and other experts from around the world to discuss efforts to strengthen the social service workforce. This year’s Symposium will feature experiences and lessons learned from countries that have recently engaged in comprehensive social service workforce mappings and assessments. Representatives from different countries will share their firsthand experiences with the mapping process and provide an overview of the efforts that are underway toward developing comprehensive national workforce strengthening strategies.

Collecting and analyzing data to better understand the social service workforce is fundamental and foundational to creating informed advocacy. Regional panels of speakers representing a variety of stakeholders will provide examples of how they have used new evidence and recommendations to better support advocacy efforts and to design and implement strategies to better plan, develop and support the workforce. Speakers and breakout work sessions will also make connections to global trends and progress toward achieving the recommendations within the Call to Action.

The Symposium will include the launch of the 2018 State of the Social Service Workforce Report which provides a comparative look at social service workforce development in four regions. 


The objectives of this symposium are to:

  • Facilitate discussion and information sharing of regional and national coordination efforts to strengthen the social service workforce and improve the lives of in children, families, individuals and communities
  • Share promising examples from various country contexts on how comprehensive, participatory assessment and mapping processes can lead to improved planning and development for the social service workforce
  • Launch the Alliance’s 2018 State of the Social Service Workforce Report 

Forum Participants

Participants will be able to join in person in Washington, DC, and via live webcast from any location. It is anticipated that attendees will represent a range of constituencies, including non-governmental staff and practitioners engaged in programs providing support to children, families, individuals and communities, and strengthening social service systems; government staff working in social affairs and social protection; donors with investments in child and family welfare; trainers and social work educators; and representatives from professional associations. 

Event Organizer 

The Symposium is being organized the Global Social Service Workforce Alliance, a non-profit network with more than 2200 members in 134 countries, that aims to promote the knowledge and evidence, resources and tools, and political will and action needed to address key social service workforce challenges, especially within low- to middle-income countries. Tides Center acts as the fiscal sponsor and host of the Alliance. A 13-member Steering Committee oversees and guides the direction and development of the Alliance and provides support to the Alliance Secretariat. 

Event Sponsors

This event is made possible through funding from the GHR Foundation and UNICEF. We invite others to co-sponsor the Symposium. Please view details for sponsorship and recognition benefits.

Symposium Agenda

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. Registration and Coffee/Tea 

8:30 – 8:40         Welcome
Betsy Sherwood, Director, & Nicole Brown, Deputy Director, Global Social Service Workforce Alliance 

8:40 – 8:55         Keynote
Ted Chaiban, Director of Programmes, UNICEF

8:55 – 10:20       Panel 1: Building the Evidence Base to Support Social Service Workforce Development

Description: Panelists will share experiences and lessons learned from UNICEF and Alliance-led social service workforce assessments and mapping in various regions.
Moderator: Kirsten Di Martino, Senior Adviser, Child Protection Section, UNICEF, and Global Social Service Workforce Alliance Steering Committee Member 
Speakers: Will represent four regions with recent mapping work from South Asia, East Asia and Pacific, Middle East and North Africa, and East and Central Europe - TBC

10:20 – 10:45     Networking Break

10:45 – 11:30     Panel 2: Advocating for Resource Allocation: The Role of professional associations, non-governmental organizations, donor groups and other stakeholders

Description: Panelists will provide an overview of how they advocate for the strengthening of the social service workforce within their current roles. Panelists will also provide practical examples of how they have leveraged evidence and an increased knowledge-base to make the case for investing in the workforce.
Zeni Thumbadoo, Deputy Director, National Association of Child Care Workers, South Africa
Jane Calder, Senior Child Protection Advisor, Save the Children UK, based in Thailand
Ghazal Keshavarzian, Director, Elevate Children Funders Group

11:30 – 12:20     Breakout Activity: Developing Key Messages for Stakeholders on the Importance of Supporting the Social Service Workforce

Description: Facilitated group activity aimed at developing 3-5 key messages that highlight the importance of supporting and investing in the social service workforce. Groups will collaborate to craft top line messages for targeted audiences which will then be disseminated by the Aliance using a variety of platforms. Groups will also be able to review existing materials to support advocacy efforts. Those participating via webcast will engage in a similar activity using an online platform to share their key messages.

12:20 – 12:30    Closing Remarks
Rebecca Davis, Chairperson, Global Social Service Workforce Alliance Steering Committee