The role of social work in the socio-economic development of Rwanda : a comparative sociological analysis of South Africa and Rwanda

Kalinganire, Charles (2002-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Nowadays, members of the global community from various arenas are committed to promoting social development and removing the obstacles of all kinds of social ills that have been undermining the quality of people's lives, such as: poverty, social conflicts, HIV/AIDS, injustice and violence. Is this feasible? If yes, how can we proceed to the full realisation of human development? This study made a close examination of the case of Rwanda, and compared it with that of South Africa, with which Rwanda shares various historical and psychosocial realities such as colonisation, and the need for reconciliation and reinforcement of communal solidarity in order to proceed with and hasten the development process. The orientation of the study is centred on the hypothetical question: "Why and how can social work be used as a means of addressing social problems and promoting social development in Rwanda?" The study, basically of a qualitative nature, constitutes both library and field-based research. Accordingly, the literature and the empirical investigation were used as key methods to realise the goals and objectives stated. In the empirical study, a triangulation of data gathering techniques, namely interviews, focus group discussions and direct observations, was given the primary emphasis. By this means, enriched information from both South Africa and Rwanda permitted various insights into crucial socio-economic challenges, social development agents, the preferred approaches for social development and the working conditions of social workers. The latter conditions were usually described as being very difficult and trying. Overall, the research findings show that: + There is a serious need for social development both in South Africa and Rwanda in order to respond to the legacies of their pasts - especially to the upheavals of apartheid and the genocide respectively (i.e. poverty, mistrust, social disintegration) - as well as to a range of other social ills such as HIV/AIDS, violence and unforeseen factors; + The developmental approach, well espoused by the South African government which chose to incorporate it in national policies, particularly in the White Paper for Social Welfare (1997), is the most suited to foster the attainment of social development; • Social work, using community work as the preferred method, is amongst the key professions at the forefront of the operationalisation of social development and hence, of the promotion of improved social welfare conditions; • Empowerment, particularly of vulnerable people, is a key to social change; • Social work, while moving towards a developmental approach - as developmental social work - needs to consolidate its position by contributing effectively to development instead of continuing to focus on individual cases Itherapies. • Introduction of social work training at the National University of Rwanda (NUR) is a positive omen for the stimulation of social development in the country; • There is a particular need to update the social work curriculum in Rwanda. Lastly, specific recommendations are given. The main recommendation is that efforts to conduct a comprehensive war against social problems be unified. In terms of social work, it is important that social work professionals be given more consideration and more stimulation. Conducive working conditions must be also created for them, especially at local level. Social workers, in tum, have to stand their ground, and work in good partnership with other professionals and social development agents for the good of all people, with special focus on the disadvantaged. For Rwanda in particular, it is recommended that a national welfare policy be set up urgently to strengthen social work education at university, and that, in the process, reference be made to experienced countries such as South Africa. In this regard, educators must ensure that new graduates will effectively become catalysts for social development. This requires a good fit of theory and practice during the training process. Above all, it is advisable for Rwanda to promote community work practice through the community development model.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Sosiale ontwikkeling is 'n hedendaagse prioriteit by lede van die globale gemeenskap uit verskeie gebiede. Hulle streef daarna om die struikelblokke van verskeie sosiale wantoestande wat mense se lewensgehalte ondergrawe - bv. armoede, sosiale konflik, MIVNIGS, ongeregtigheid en geweld - te verwyder. Is so-iets haalbaar? Indien ja, hoe kan ons voortbeweeg na die volle verwesenlikking van menslike ontwikkeling? Rwanda en Suid-Afrika het albei te kampe met historiese en sosiaal-psigiese realiteite soos kolonialisme, 'n behoefte aan sosiale versoening en aan die versterking van gemeenskapsolidariteit ten einde sosiale ontwikkeling te bevorder en versnel. Hierdie studie sentreer om die vraag: "waarom en hoe kan sosiale probleme in Rwanda aangepak en sosiale ontwikkeling bevorder word deur middel van maatskaplike werk?" Hierdie basies kwalitatiewe studie is op beide bronnestudie en veldwerk gegrond. Gevolglik was die gebruik van beskikbare literatuur en empiriese navorsing die sleutelmetodes om bg. doelwitte te bereik. Wat betref die empiriese studie is 'n drievoudige tegniek gebruik, nl. onderhoude, fokusgroep-besprekings en direkte waarnemmg. Verrykte inligting uit beide Suid-Afrika en Rwanda het dit dus moontlik gemaak om verskeie insigte m.b.t. kemvraagstukke betreffende sosio-ekonomiese uitdagings, sosiale ontwikkelingsagente, gewenste benaderings tot sosiale ontwikkeling en die werksomstandighede van maatskaplike werkers - wat gewoonlik as erg moeilik en uitputtend beskryf word - te bereik. Oor die algemeen bewys die navorsingsresultate die volgende: • Beide Suid-Afrika en Rwanda ondervind 'n ernstige behoefte aan sosiale ontwikkeling om op die erfenis van hul verlede te reageer (veral die omwentelings van apartheid en volksmoord, respektiewelik) - d.w.s. armoede, wantroue en sosiale verbrokkeling, en daarby nog MIVNIGS, geweld en ander onvoorsiene faktore. • Die ontwikkelingsentriese benadering word duidelik geïllustreer deur die Suid- Afrikaanse regering, wat 'n nasionale beleid vanuit hierdie oogpunt aangepak het - soos veral spreek uit die Witskrif vir Sosiale Ontwikkeling ["White Paper for Social Development"] (1997). Hierdie is die mees gepaste benadering tot sosiale ontwikkeling. • Maatskaplike werk (veral d.m.v. gemeenskapsinisiatiewe) is een van die sleutelberoepe m.b.t. die operasionalisering van sosiale ontwikkeling en die gevolglike verbetering van sosiale welsynstoestande; • Bemagtiging, veral van kwesbare persone, is die sleutel tot sosiale transformasie; • Maatskaplike werk behoort, terwyl dit na 'n ontwikkelingsentriese benadering (d.m.v. maatskaplike ontwikkelingswerk) beweeg, breedweg tot sosiale ontwikkeling by te dra, eerder as om op individuele gevalle ofterapieë te fokus; • Die instelling van opleiding in maatskaplike werk by die Nasionale Universiteit van Rwanda (NUR) is 'n goeie teken wat dui op sosiale ontwikkeling van hierdie land; • Daar is veral 'n behoefte daaraan om die Rwandese kurrikulum vir maatskaplike werk te moderniseer. Laastens word spesifieke aanbevelings gemaak. Dit word veral aanbeveel dat verskillende pogings om sosiale wantoestande aan te pak, saamgesnoer moet word. In terme van maatskaplike werk is dit belangrik dat professionele maatskaplike werkers meer aandag en aanmoediging behoort te kry. Daar moet ook aandag gegee word aan hul werksomstandighede, veralop plaaslike vlak. Op hul beurt moet maatskaplike werkers hulleself laat geld, in samewerking met ander beroepslui en bydraers tot sosiale ontwikkeling - tot voordeel van alle burgers, en met 'n fokus op sosiaal-benadeelde persone. Vir Rwanda in die besonder word aanbeveel dat 'n nasionale welsynsbeleid dringend in werking gestel word om universiteitsopleiding in maatskaplike werk te verstewig, na die voorbeeld van lande soos Suid-Afrika wat ondervinding van so 'n proses het. In hierdie verband moet opvoeders verseker dat nuwe graduandi effektiewe katalisators van sosiale ontwikkeling sal wees. Om dit te bewerkstellig word goeie passing tussen teorie en praktyk benodig. Dit is veral raadsaam dat maatskaplike werk in die praktyk deur die gemeenskapsontwikkelingsmodel gerugsteun sal word.

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