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Preparing Future Social Workers for Data-Driven Practice: A Panel Discussion with Universities in Moldova and the US

On May 31, 2023, Data for Impact (D4I) hosted a webinar on preparing future social workers for data-driven practice. This webinar was presented in English and Romanian, with simultaneous interpretation. Use of data is indispensable in today’s social work practice. This reality is reflected in the latest global standards for social work education, which state that schools must prepare students for the ethical use of technology in practice, including big data analysis.

In Moldova, USAID’s D4I project works with the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, the National Social Assistance Agency, and the Territorial Social Assistance Structures to strengthen their use of data for decision making on behalf of children and families in need. Still, in-service trainings in monitoring, evaluation, and data use conducted by donors and civil society organizations have been unable to mitigate the effects of high turnover among existing staff and limited knowledge of data analysis, interpretation, and use among recent social work graduates.

Through a collaboration between these institutions and local universities, D4I has helped facilitate adaptation of curriculum content and instruction to the needs of the Moldovan social assistance sector—and in line with global best practices. Attendees joined virtually to hear from some of the faculty involved in this collaboration and from the wider project consortium, as they shared their experience in preparing future social workers for data-driven practice.

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