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Press Release: Eight African Countries Report Social Service Workforce Progress

Washington, June 2, 2016 - - Eight countries across sub-Saharan Africa have made significant progress strengthening their social service workforces in the past five years, according to a report released today by the Global Social Service Workforce Alliance.

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.

Yet in many countries, this workforce has been largely under-utilized and under-resourced in advancing health and social development goals.

“The report makes two critical contributions towards strengthening the workforce,” says Dr. James McCaffery, chair of the steering committee of the Global Social Service Workforce Alliance. “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 report surveys the progress each of the countries—Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe—has made supporting and professionalizing its social service workforce since 2010.

Highlights include:

  • The social service workforce has diversified and expanded in all eight countries.
  • In 2016, fewer countries reported low knowledge and skills of workers as a top challenge.
  • All countries reported increased opportunities for education and training.
  • All countries noted that supervision has been strengthened.

Despite progress, challenges remain. Today, more than 300 participants of the 3rd Annual Global Social Service Workforce Alliance Symposium are coming together to review findings and prioritize future investments. Participants include representatives from UNICEF, USAID, PEPFAR, governments, professional associations, nonprofit organizations and universities. The symposium is supported by GHR Foundation and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) with funding from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

The full report and executive summary are available on the Alliance’s website at

The Global Social Service Workforce Alliance officially launched in June 2013. The Alliance’s mission is 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. The Alliance acts as a convener to share good practices, advance knowledge and advocate for workforce improvements to lead to better outcomes for children and families. Today there are 900 members of the Alliance in over 80 countries. IntraHealth International acts as fiscal sponsor and host to the Alliance.

Media Contact:
Amy Bess
Coordinator, Global Social Service Workforce Alliance