The Ugandan Parliament Principle Research officer who also doubles as the National Association of Social Workers of Uganda (NASWU) immediate former President Mr. Tuhaise Charles, emphasized that it is impossible for Uganda to attain its Vision 2020 and also reach a middle income economy without increase investment in the Social Work profession. He noted that the government has in the past invested a lot of her monies and efforts towards the construction of infrastructure such as roads, security, hospitals and Health centers while investing less in the supporting the Social Work Profession and the Social Service sector with the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development being one of the least funded ministries in government.
He noted that the Social Work profession is the unknown answer for Uganda to ultimately achieve her objectives and visions which he justified with an increase in the rate of Social problems and issues like poverty, corruption, poor performance and deviant behaviors by pupils and students while in school, preventable diseases, suicide cases. These he said can be best addressed by Social Workers who have got special skills and knowledge to help individuals, family and communities so as to maximize their potentials and productivity while the production chain. He also encouraged schools to appreciate and consider recruiting professional Social Workers in Schools as School Social Workers, this he said will contribute a lot towards the improvement of students performance.
These he said during a function organized NASWU in an event known as the #NASWUHomeComing held on the 23rd September 2016 at the NASWU New secretariat offices in Bunga – Soya which were also officially opened and other matters related to the Association and Social Work in Uganda discussed on the same day. It was at that point that he congratulated NASWU upon acquiring new office premises and which he felt like “a long awaited baby that has finally be born” since the current NASWU office premises are more decent in comparison to where it was before. He then encourage members to renew their membership subscription and also encourage others to join the Association as its one of the ways to support the Social Work profession and Association attain its ultimate objective of having a council that regulates Social Work practice in Uganda.
The current NASWU President Mr. Charles Draecabo said the association’s acquisition of office premises is a sign of manifestation of growth of the association from a association with 200 members to now 704 members in a period of three years and thus encouraged members to support this initiative with hope that NASWU shall one day acquire its own property. He added also saying that the new office premises will facilitate the association to serve her members better with dignity and also be able to host professional meetings and workshops. It was also on this point that he informed members that through membership NASWU has been able to fully funded and organize the #NASWUHomeComing and he encouraged them most especially those in influential positions in their organizations to contribute towards the need for furniture and office equipment s such as tables, computers and text books to make the secretariat offices more lively.
He then informed members that NASWU is currently implementing the mentorship program where Social Work students and fresh graduates are being placed in organizations for internships, volunteer opportunities and employment where he thanked organizations such as Child’s I Foundation, EASSI and MGLSD (Child Helpline) for taking up Social work students under the mentorship program and thus encouraged members present and other interested organization to join in support of this program.
He informed members that currently NASWU is developing a pre-placement and refresher training course for Social Work members who intend to benefit from this program. This is meant to distinguish Social Workers who are members to NASWU from other Social Work professionals in practice with an aim of improving the quality of Social Work practice in the country to meet the market employment demand.
In his concluding remarks he encouraged collaboration and joint efforts to mobilise social workers join the Association and boost the association visibility. On a special note, he congratulated NASWU members who were selected to be The Global Social Service Workforce Alliance Ambassadors and these are Mr. Byamukama Michael and Ms. Agnes Wasike upon raising the NASWU flag to the global level. He also he appreciated Associate NASWU members in absencia Mr. Patrick Onyango the Country Director of T.P.O and Ms. Kajura Susan the Country Director of World Education Bantwana for their passion towards supporting the existence of the association.
The Global Social Service Workforce Alliance Ambassadors (Mr. Byamukama Michael and Ms. Wasike Agnes) who are also some of the active members of NASWU in their joint communication also congratulated
NASWU upon acquiring new office premises and noted that the new office premise exposes the association to opportunities it can tap. They noted that their selection as Global Ambassadors was very competitive and they were grateful to their identity as Social Workers and also members of NASWU which gave them more courage to stand for such positions.
They noted that there is “nothing like engineering” in the increasing manifestations of social problems like suicide, poverty, corruption and gun shots and thus justifying the urgent need for Social Workers in the country since they are best positioned and equipped with skills and knowledge to help in such situations.
They pledged their commitment to support the Association objective of establishing a council that regulates Social Work practice in the country and as Global Social Service Workforce Alliance Ambassadors they also pledge to integrate NASWU into their work plans.
The action point and resolution made was to conduct an Elective NASWU Annual General Assembly before the end of the year 2016. Fatia Kiyage pledge support to the secretariat for the success of the AGM.
This activity was organized by NASWU and attracted participants such as Social Work educators from Social Work teaching and training institutions, Social Work students, Practitioners in Civil Society Organizations, Global Social Welfare Alliances Ambassadors and the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development officials who contributed a great deal of ideas in the process of the event.
Report Compiled by
Program Officer NASWU.