By Landing Ceesay
The Gambia Social Workers Association joined the rest of the world to commemorate World Social Workers Day earlier on Tuesday.
Globally, International social work is commemorated on 3rd March, annually; with this year’s global theme “Co-building a New Eco Social World: leaving no one behind”.
Mr. Ba Samba Drammeh, President of the Gambia Social Workers Association said the theme was established to create new global values, policies and practices that develop trust, security and confidence to enable people to have their dignity respected through shared futures and the sustainability of the planet.
“The lack of professionally trained social workers is a major constraint on the development and delivery of social work services in The Gambia. In part, this problem can be attributed to the limited and often inadequate levels of financial support available for welfare programmes. However, while social work professionals and social policy makers work towards increasing funds available; the social work profession itself continues to be perceived by many, including those in other professions as low down on the list of priorities for development,” Mr. Drammeh said.
Drammeh further stated that creation of certificate/ diploma programs at SOS and University of The Gambia would continue to help them to change the phase of social work in The Gambia.
Meanwhile, Fatou Lette-Jallow, Project Coordinator, SOS Children’s Villages Regional Mothers and Adults Training Centre said her institution is the pioneer of social work education in the Gambia.
“Last week, the world celebrated International Women’s Day 2022, and top of the agenda was the need to address climate change issues. This is because climate along with violence and conflict are the top most challenging social issues in the world today. These social issues are often major stressors that aggravate the vulnerability of women and children. UN figures indicate that 80% of people displaced by climate change are women. Their roles of providing food and fuel means flooding and droughts affect them intensely. Therefore commensurate with this year’s Social Work Day global theme, it is essential that social workers are educated with the right knowledge of climate issues and skill in assisting families or individuals to manage the consequences of climate change,” she said.
Mrs. Lette –Jallow stated that in the Gambia, the need for climate change adaptation projects cannot be overemphasized; adding ‘the Gambia is an economy that relies heavily on subsistence agriculture’.
“However, with changing rainfall patterns, there is little chance of growing crops essential for survival. This ultimately leads to increased poverty-stricken families that need support to overcome the health, environmental and economic effects of climate change. As our local theme calls for social inclusion, social workers are key players in humanizing climate change that intricately leads to social inequalities. Social workers must educate and advocate for change in policy approaches using their skills of social justice, crisis counselling and community organization,” she said.
The event, which took place at the President’s Awards Scheme in Bakau was attended by social workers from the Armed forces, police and immigration, among other various institutions.
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