Perceptions of frontline social workers on their contributions to the global agenda for social work and social development

Mwoyounazvo, Netsayi (2019-04)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW), and the International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW), recognised how the past and current social issues influence communities at local, national and global levels. This resulted in the development of the Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development. Considering that the initiative is aimed at strengthening social work as a profession, this calls for the need to assess how social workers are contributing to the identified pillars of the Global Agenda. Recognising that not much have been done in Africa at large, it became apparent that there is need to engage with social workers at a local level to acknowledge the significance of the Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development. Therefore, the study intended to gain an understanding on the perceptions of frontline social workers in the South African context on their contributions towards the Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development. This study employed a qualitative research method. A snowball sampling design was used to select participants. The data was qualitatively collected from 17 frontline social workers using in-depth interviews. Data was analysed using thematic analysis. The findings of the empirical investigation show that, although frontline social workers were able to identify some of the practical examples of what they actually do (linking people to resources, working together with other social professionals etc.), most of the participants were not aware of the Global Agenda and its focus at all. Hence, a gap was identified in terms of frontline social workers’ involvement at a macro level of intervention. Participants identified their non-involvement in policy formulation (macro) as an obstacle to service delivery as they only become involved at ground (micro) and organisational (mezzo) levels. Recommendations resulting from the study indicate that it is vital that social workers continue to strengthen their working relationships with individuals and families at a micro level. Moreover, it requires the management of social welfare organisations to engage with intervention processes at a mezzo level, so that the working relationships with the frontline social workers are strengthened, in order to keep each other updated on current initiatives. Finally, there is a great need for frontline social workers to become more involved at a macro level in order to have an influence on policy formulation. This could enable frontline social workers to gain an understanding of macro contexts and to encourage change at the highest level. This will have a positive impact on the lowest level (micro), as social workers experience the real issues encountered by individuals in their daily interventions.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), die International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW), en die International Council in Social Welfare (ICSW) erken die wyse waarop die kwessies van die verlede en die hede gemeenskappe op plaaslike, nasionale en globale vlakke beïnvloed. Hierdie invloed het die ontwikkeling van die Globale Agenda vir Maatskaplike Werk en Maatskaplike Ontwikkeling tot gevolg gehad. Die doel van die Globale Agenda is om die maatskaplike werk professie uit te bou, en dit het gelei tot die behoefte om vas te stel hoe maatskaplike werkers bydra tot die Globale Agenda. Tot op hede is daar nie veel navorsing gedoen in Afrika ten opsigte van die Globale Agenda nie, en het dit duidelik geword dat daar wel ‘n behoefte is om die bydrae van maatskaplike werkers tot die Globale Agenda op plaaslike vlak te ondersoek. Hierdie studie gebruik ‘n kwalitatiewe navorsingsmetode. ‘n Sneeubal steekproefneming is benut om deelnemers te selekteer. Die data is kwalitatief ingesamel van 17 eerste-linie maatskaplike werkers, deur in-diepte onderhoude te voer. Die data is geanaliseer deur ʼn tematiese analise. Die bevindinge van die empiriese ondersoek wys dat, alhoewel die maatskaplike werkers in staat is om van die praktiese voorbeelde van wat hulle eintlik doen (die skakeling van mense en hulpbronne, samewerking met ander maatskaplike professionele persone, ens.) te identifiseer, was die meeste van die deelnemers nie bewus van die Globale Agenda en sy fokus nie. Om hierdie rede, is ‘n gaping geïdentifiseer in terme van die betrokkenheid van die grondvlak maatskaplike werkers by die makrovlak van intervensie. Deelnemers het hul onbetrokkenheid in die formulering van beleid (op makrovlak) as ‘n hindernis geïdentifiseer, aangesien hulle slegs by mikro- en makro intervensies betrokke is. Aanbevelings ten opsigte van die studie dui aan dat dit essensieel is dat maatskaplike werkers voortgaan om hulle werksverhoudinge met individue en gesinne op makrovlak te versterk. Dit word ook van organisasies se bestuur verwag om deel te word van die intervensie-prosesse op mesovlak, sodat die werksverhoudinge met maatskaplike werkers versterk kan word. Laastens is daar ‘n groot behoefte vir grondvlak maatskaplike werkers om meer betrokke te raak op makrovlak ten einde ‘n invloed te hê op beleidsformulering. Hierdie betrokkenheid sal grondvlak maatskaplike werkers in staat stel om ‘n groter begrip vir en ondersteuning aan verandering te bied op die hoogste vlak. Dit sal ‘n positiewe impak hê op die laagste (mikro) vlak van beleidsformulering, aangesien die ervaringe van maatskaplike werkers werklike kwessies van individue insluit wat hulle teëkom in hul daaglikse intervensies.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/105821
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