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Webinar 23: World Social Work Day - Advocacy Tools to Raise the Profile of Social Workers Locally and Globally
On March 16, 2017, the Global Social Service Workforce Alliance hosted its 23rd webinar in the Social Service Workforce Strengthening Webinar Series funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through PEPFAR as part of the 4Children Project. The webinar focused on the topic: World Social Work Day – Advocacy Tools to the Raise the Profile of Social Workers Locally and Globally. Presenters from the United States, Indonesia and Cambodia shared successful examples of advocacy campaigns being developed in connection with World Social Work Day on March 21, 2017.
Nicole Brown, Communications Manager for the Global Social Service Workforce Alliance, launched the webinar by sharing background on World Social Work Day and the Alliance’s role. World Social Work Day was first established in 1983 by the International Federation of Social Workers. This year’s theme is “Promoting Community and Environmental Sustainability.” The Alliance aims to strengthen planning, development and support of the social service workforce by bringing together groups and individuals to advance knowledge, share innovative approaches and derive political will. To support advocacy efforts, the Alliance released an infographic that depicts the important role of the workforce toward implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. This is the first piece of an advocacy toolkit that is being developed and will be released in May 2017.
Greg Wright, Public Relations Manager at the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) in the United States, shared materials and information about Social Work Month in March and the Association’s “Social Workers Stand Up” campaign. NASW is the largest social work association in the world, with 120,000 members. Through their campaign website, www.socialworkmonth.org, they are providing templates of materials that social workers and others can use to garner greater support for the profession. Materials include proclamations, an infographic, radio and television public service announcements, logo and merchandise. The Association will again present media awards to journalists and actors portraying social workers in a positive light. To date, this year’s campaign has already proven more successful than in previous years and will be measured by the number of media placements and website traffic throughout March.
Yanti Kusumawardhani, Education and Protection Specialist for the IDEAL Program at Save the Children Indonesia, and Uga Pratama Gunawan, World Social Work Day Committee Chair for the Indonesia Professional Association of Social Workers, shared plans for celebrating National Social Worker’s Week in Indonesia. The Association has 1,581 social work members. The goal of the campaign, running from March 4-19, 2017, aims to engage 5,000 participants through a number of events and gather 1 million signatures to support the government’s work on a social work bill. Events include a social work essay, photography and video contest; Olympic-style quiz competition; talk shows on local radio and television; a march throughout the city and a social work expo to introduce social work to students entering college. Follow PPSN 2017 on Facebook to learn more about the Association’s activities.
Ellen Minotti, Director of Social Services of Cambodia, shared information on an 18-month campaign to raise the profile of social work throughout the country. The organization is undertaking this activity with a number of government and NGO partners as part of the Family Care First project in Cambodia. The campaign will begin with a World Social Day event on March 18 sponsored by the Association of Professional Social Workers in Cambodia to acknowledge and celebrate social work. Materials will be distributed with the campaign’s message “Who cares? Social workers care!” Additional activities are planned to sensitize the general public, civil society and ministry officials on the importance of well-trained social workers. Materials will also be developed for students in 11th and 12th grade so they view social work as a valued profession and consider enrolling in a social work degree program. Results from the many activities will be used to determine impact and results will be disseminated to all stakeholders involved with the campaign. More information on the campaign will be available at www.socialworkerscare.com.
Presenters then addressed questions from participants, including sharing tips for those wishing to launch similar advocacy efforts or undertake events for World Social Work Day by asking social workers what they need and want from a campaign and garnering government support for the campaign and messaging. The webinar was concluded by encouraging individuals to continue advocacy efforts toward raising the profile of social workers, whether during World Social Work Day 2017 or other times throughout the year. Information on events in various countries is listed on the Alliance’s webpage. Participants were encouraged to continue to share plans for World Social Work Day activities in their countries.