By Abolaji Adebayo
R-L: Prof. Badru, Mrs Ogedengbe and a NASoW member
The social workers under the umbrella of Nigeria Association of Social Workers (NASoW), Lagos State chapter have set agenda to tackle social challenges in various societies across the country.
Addressing journalists at a press conference in commemoration of the 2018 International Social Work Day with the theme “Promoting Community and Environmental Sustainability”, organized by the association at Little Saints Orphanage, Palmgroove, Lagos, the Chairperson of the association, Mrs. Adetoun Ogedengbe, said that the purpose of the celebration was for the association to identify the roles of the social workers in promoting community and Environmental sustainability hence, the need for domesticating the global theme with “The Roles of Social Workers in Promoting Community and Environmental Sustainability”.
Ogedengbe noted that it is the responsibility of the social workers to identify the needs and the challenges of a particular society or community before rendering a service to them.
She said that that is the reason the corporate organizations and wealthy individuals have to collaborate with the association when they want to render the community responsibility service (CRS) to their host communities.
She also charged the social workers to always be aware of the responsibilities to the people in the society.
Meanwhile, Ogedengbe hinted that the era of mediocrity would soon be ends with the passage of the Bill backing the operation of the association in Nigeria, which has sailed through some stages at the National Assembly.
She warned that non-professional would not be allowed to practice any longer, adding that any NGO without the certificate of the association would he sanctioned accordingly.
She however appealed to the government and other philanthropists to support the social workers in term of fund and legal backing in order to be able to carry out their responsibility with ease.
The NASoW Vice Chairman, Mr. M. O. Shonubi, presented new code of ethics to the members at the occasion, said that the new codes would be a guide for the operation of every social worker in Lagos henceforth.
Noting that the social workers are excluded in many things concerning social issues, Shonubi appealed that they should be allowed to carry out Social Impacts Assessment of projects done for communities by government or corporate organizations.
Explaining the theme of this year’s Social Work Day “The Roles of Social Workers in Promoting Community and Environmental Sustainability”, the guest lecturer for the occasion, Prof. Fatai Adriana Badru, said that social workers provide social services in a variety of settings including schools, hospitals, courts, correctional centres, communities, prisons, among many others.
According to him, the social workers as multi-skilled professionals serve as bridge among many other professionals to ensure that individuals, families, children, adolescents, adults, and older adults, whether male or female are assisted professionally to mobilize their dormant capacities within or without them and identifying the needed resources to meet the identified needs within specific socio-economic milieu and environment.
He said that it serves as environmental glue and anchor for the society and the social actors to perform the manifest and latent functions thus ensuring stability, order, harmony, bliss and reducing pandemonium, anomie and anarchy to the barest minimum in our environment.
“It should be seen that social workers have multiple roles in promoting community harmony and serve as great professional bridges in ensuring environmental stability and sustainability.
“It is not enough to draw attention to social problems in the community, but more importantly to collaborate with the needed and appropriate agencies, professionals and stakeholders in providing evidence-based remediation that are culturally sensitive including the pragmatic programmes, policies and actions that the community members will identify with, buy in, participate and sustain. The essential roles of social workers in community and environmental stability and sustainability cannot be gainsaid.
“Foremost responsibility of social workers in community development begins with organizing community to deal with various social issues including environmental degradation. Community development approach is all about bringing out the match between societal needs or objectives and resources available to deal with those needs.
“Doing this, the social workers extend and develop cooperative and collaborative attitudes and practices in the community. Community organizers must concentrate on developing skills and passion of the community members and create the political awareness among them, thereby strengthening the innate capacities of the members. This may lead to enhanced individual and community development.
“The roles of the community worker, therefore, may include understanding the nature of community problems, coordinating efforts among community members, formulating realizable goals, public education, conducting research alone or in concert with others such as urban and regional planners, recreation and public administrators, community health physicians, community health nurses and community health pharmacists, among others.”
He said that the worldwide Social Work Day celebration was to celebrate and promote the impacts of Social Workers across the globe.
“It is the special day in the year that social workers, social work organizations and stakeholders worldwide stand together to recount the achievements of the profession, take needed stock and take the suggested and approved theme message into their communities, workplaces and to their governments to raise awareness of the inimitable social work contributions and need for further action by the social work profession.
“It is subtle and formal ways of drawing attention of the public to the essential roles of social workers and advocating for proper placement in the scheme of things.”
Badru noted that the theme of WSWD in the last two years is still relevant as enunciated by the International Federation of Social workers (IFSW) that shelters our Association.
“I observed that IFSW has five regions with 111 member countries and Africa alone has 25 countries that are signatories and that include Nigeria. The current theme was inspired by the 3rd Pillar of the Global Agenda for Social Work which was created in 2010 to integrate the aims and aspirations of social workers across the world,” he concluded.