World Social Work Day is celebrated across the world every year. This year it took place on 15 March.
This is in recognition of the hard work of Social Workers around the world. The 2022 theme ‘Co-building a New Eco-Social World: Leaving No One Behind’ highlighted an opportunity for the social work profession to engage all social work networks and the community they work within to make contributions to shared values and principles. The theme also presented a vision and action plan to create new global values, policies, and practices that develop trust, security, and confidence for all people and the sustainability of the planet which enable all people to have their dignity and worth respected through shared futures.
The Covid-19 pandemic is a global public health issue; the greatest success in controlling the pandemic has been achieved where there has been a high level of mutual trust between the government, the professionals, and the communities, working towards the same goal.
Therefore, it makes sense to create a partnership to co-design and co-produce a global solution to the Covid-19 pandemic, which in turn can lead to creating global solutions for all kinds of issues resulting in concrete, healthy, socially equitable, and environmentally sustainable solutions for both the short and long term.
Like other professions, social workers have had to battle with the challenges faced by the Covid-19 pandemic and had to find innovative measures in reaching service users; additionally, some countries have had to tackle the refugee crisis and displaced individuals. Social work has taken on a new dimension in Human Rights-based advocacy in responding to issues.
In recent times, Grenada has been faced with its own challenges such as severe flooding and land erosion. There have also been numerous issues of social matters highlighted in social media. Mental health continues to be a grave concern; there are insufficient resources to support persons in crisis in the community.
We have also seen an increase in death by suicide in young men. Possible contributing factors may be the increase in alcohol and drug use among young people, unemployment and unresolved issues resulting from early life traumas.
As social workers, we have an ethical responsibility to raise awareness about these problems. Early intervention will assist in promoting wellbeing and preventing illness, thus reducing the need for hospitalisation and fatality.
GAPSW would therefore like to see the strengthening of services to meet those needs and other requirements of vulnerable individuals and communities. We are pleading with our Government to invest in the development of adequate resources to prevent an escalation of this problem which will definitely have a detrimental impact on society as a whole.
It is no longer feasible to close our eyes and work in our little silos, all vying for small pots of the same money, we have to work in collaboration, across disciplines to create change, a silent revolution that recognises human rights at its core and is inherently respectful of each and every one of us, however different.
What we need is a world which allows politicians, professionals and communities to work beyond national and regional borders, to foster cross-sectoral dialogue and action. We need to address health and economic disparities, nationally, regionally and internationally. This will require the co-design and co-production of effective systems to increase the collective resilience to respond to future challenges. We need to recognise our interdependence as a planet; we need global commitment for concrete action to help advance solutions, for our children and grandchildren to inherit a better world.
This statement is submitted by the Grenada Association of Professional Social Workers (GAPSW), who are recognised members of the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW).