The Alliance marked its official launch as a network on June 6, 2013 through two well-attended webinars, launch of the website and opening of registration for members. Read our first blog entry to learn more about our launch here. The development of the Alliance is a direct result of participant feedback and expressed needs arising during a global conference held in 2010.
The US Government’s President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), under the auspices of the Technical Working Group for Children Orphaned and Made Vulnerable by HIV/AIDS, organized a global conference in South Africa in November 2010 to highlight the challenges facing the social service workforce and to explore strategies for addressing these challenges at a country and global level. The PEPFAR-funded Social Welfare Workforce Strengthening Conference: Investing in Those Who Care for Children was part of a long-term effort by the US government and other donors to draw increased attention and mobilize additional assistance for this workforce.
The conference brought together teams from 18 countries to review this body of knowledge, share experiences and promising practices, and develop concrete action plans for strengthening the workforce. Each team included representatives from relevant government ministries, non-governmental organizations, donor organizations, social work training institutions and professional associations. The diversity within these teams provided an opportunity for multidisciplinary problem solving and team building.
Participants celebrated the conference as the launch of a new global movement intended to not only strengthen the social service workforce but also contribute to stronger, more effective social service systems. The Global Social Service Workforce Alliance was proposed to facilitate ongoing support for country-level and global actions and an Interim Steering Committee was established to move this agenda forward.