by Linda Straker
Grenada became the first country in the OECS to become a member of International Federation of Social Workers, when the Federation held its Latin American and Caribbean Regional conference in Puerto Rico from 30–31 October 2015.
Alva Lawrence, President of the Grenada Association of Professional Social Workers, attended the meeting on behalf of the local organisation which was launched in 2007. The members are certified social workers and institutions offering professional social work services.
“By joining this Federation, our membership will now have the opportunity to take advantage of the opportunities and training it will provide, and other issues centered around social work,” said Lawrence, who explained that there is a need for social workers and workers at institutions providing social care to be continuously trained.
“Our membership in the Federation will bring a lot of benefits to the members here, and this will no doubt put us in a better position,” said Lawrence as she explained that there are many challenges facing the Grenada membership. “Upfront, I can tell you that right now one of our biggest challenges is local recognition for the profession, because it’s one of the those professions where so much is done and very little recognition is given to the professionals,” she said.
“There is also a lack of resources; Poor social work practice; Lack of proper implementation of legislation, policies and procedures, and a need for a better structured social work system,” she added.
The International Federation of Social Workers is a global organisation striving for social justice, human rights and social development through the promotion of social work, best practice models ,and the facilitation of international cooperation.
The Federation supports its 116 member organisations across 90 countries, by providing a global voice for the profession. It has been granted Special Consultative Status by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). In addition, IFSW is working with the World Health Organization (WHO), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
Besides Grenada, the only other CARICOM country within the Latin American and Caribbean region which has IFSW membership is Haiti.