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The Nascence of Social Work Education in Somalia: Challenges, Opportunities, and the Way Forward

From clan-based politics in the years leading to independence to clan-shaped legislature and clan-oriented cabinets in the civilian governments following independence, military dictatorship and malfeasance dominated 1970s and 1980s Somalia. Early in 1991, the country became swamped in a clan-based civil war that crumbled state structures and the public services they provided. The ensuing lawlessness increased monumentally, making violence and abuse against women, children, minorities, and the vulnerable among the society very rampant. Social workers, in other words professionally trained people who could steer the provision of the crucially needed social services to the vulnerable ones among the society, most of whom were psychologically traumatized in one way or the other, either did not exist in the country or were barely known about. As the state of neglect became a major concern, UNICEF, the Ministry of Women and Human Rights Development of the Federal Government of Somalia, in conjunction with the Swedish government, created a platform to address the conundrum by contracting six selected universities in Somaliland, Puntland and Mogadishu in 2018 to start training the first batch of Somali social workers in certificate and diploma programs that culminated into a 4-year bachelor’s degree study. From this background, this essay aims to contribute to the existing literature on social work by discussing the introduction of formal social work education in Somalia.

Mohamed A. Eno
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Journal article - open access
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