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NATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON SOCIAL WORK AND SOCIAL SERVICES IN UGANDA

Theme: ‘Social work: The pillar for effective social services delivery’

Social Services delivery in Uganda remains a huge challenge with a high and largely dependent population. Uganda has a young population; with over 56 percent of its population under the age of 18 and about half (48.7 percent) under the age of 15 (UBOS, 2016). The country has one of the highest population growth rates currently rated 5th highest in the world and the second highest in Africa!

Different demographic groups in Uganda experience risks and vulnerabilities associated with age, gender, disability, health, employment/income, poverty as well as environmental and natural disasters, which negatively impact their well-being.  According to the OVC Situation Analysis report (2010), nearly 50% (8.1 million out of 17.5 million) children below the age of 18 are vulnerable, with 1.3 million children considered critically vulnerable. 7.5 million Children experience child poverty and are deprived of essential basic services. Eight million youths aged 15 to 30 years are considered vulnerable.

On 10th September 2018, the Government of Uganda Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development will co-convene the first ever national symposium on Social Work under the theme ‘Social work: The pillar for effective social services delivery’. The social work symposium is a collaborative event with the Global Social Service Workforce Alliance (GSSWA), a global network of social service human resource working towards a world where there is well-planned, well-trained and well-supported social service workforce effectively delivering promising practices that improve the lives of vulnerable populations. The Alliance serves as a convener for an inclusive, representative network of stakeholder groups to create a forum for discourse and collective learning; advances knowledge by deriving, organising and disseminating critical evidence-based research, resources, tools, models and best practices; and advocates for workforce-supportive policy reforms at the global and national levels. There are more than 100 Alliance members within Uganda who are committed to this mission of a stronger social service workforce nationally and globally.

A national task team on symposium planning under the overall leadership of government includes GSSWA in – country Steering Committee members and Alliance Ambassadors, UNICEF, the National Council for Higher Education, the National Association of Social Workers of Uganda, and Childs i Foundation (a nongovernmental organization).

The objectives of this symposium are the following:

  1. To stimulate discussions for clarity on what is social work and its relevance for Uganda’s socio-economic and political transformation.
  2. To share thoughts and ideas on an in-country role for the GSSWA to enhance information exchange and learning for improved social work practice.
  3. To share on-going stakeholder efforts on bridging social work training and practice gaps
  4. To map out a pathway on formation of a government-led national task force to coordinate current and future initiatives on social work strengthening.
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