Economic literacy and the war on poverty : a social work challenge

Engelbrecht, Lambert K. (2008-04)

Please cite as follows:

Engelbrecht, L. 2008. Economic literacy and the war on poverty: a social work challenge?. International Journal of Social Welfare, 17(2):166-173, doi:10.1111/j.1468-2397.2007.00544.x.

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This article reports on an exploratory descriptive study that examined ten social workers’ perceptions of their war on poverty and the challenges in constructing a conceptual framework for the development of a Social Community Education for Economic Literacy Development (SCEELD) programme. It was found that the social workers were knowledgeable about the uneconomic activities of their clients and that their ideas about what needed to be done about this related very much to their attitudes towards poverty. Significantly, the social workers did not think that job creation was their primary responsibility nor had, in their experience, job creation programmes been successful. Rather, the economic literacy they taught related to housekeeping imperatives, such as economical food preparation and managing income and concrete resources no matter how meagre. Overall, the social workers did not perceive the agency culture or the context of developmental welfare practice as conducive to the implementation of programmes aimed at economic development, and none talked about the relationship between economic and social development.

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