A Celebration of International Social Work

Tue, 02 Apr 2013 16:08:00 BST

International projects highlighted at social work conference

World Social Work Day logo SOCIAL work experts from around the UK came to the University of Huddersfield to gain insights into a range of global social work projects in countries ranging from Uganda to Cambodia and the Caribbean.

The event, A Celebration of International Social Work, marked World Social Work Day 2013.  It was organised by lecturers Ben Raikes and Andy Brammer with Business Studies placement student Chris Nightingale.  Additional support was provided by Ann Saker, the social work secretary, and on the day by Stacey Duke, a second-year social work student.

Chris Nightingale and Ben Raikes - Pictured left conference organisers Chris Nightingale (left) and Ben Raikes

Professor Adele Jones, who heads the University of Huddersfield’s Centre for Applied Childhood Studies, spoke about worldwide projects which she has led – they have included UNICEF-backed work to combat child abuse in the Eastern Caribbean and the EU-funded COPING Project, which has examined the problems faced by children whose parents are in prison.

‌The conference heard how Professor Jones had become involved in a project called Wells of Hope, which assists children in Uganda whose fathers have been imprisoned, placing the mothers in desperate difficulty.

Ben Raikes is currently involved in assembling a research project that will revolve around the role that grandparents play in caring for prisoners’ children in the UK, Uganda, Trinidad, Romania and Turkey.  He explained that the director of Wells of Hope, Francis Ssuubi, had contacted the University of Huddersfield’s COPING team after reading about its work on the web.

Lihn Dinh, Professor Adele Jones and Limota Goroso Giwa - Pictured left conference speakers organisers (left to right) Lihn Dinh, Professor Adele Jones and Limota Goroso Giwa‌‌‌

The Celebration of International Social Work also included the screening of a video film sent by Matthew Higgs, a University of Huddersfield practice educator, who is currently spending a year in Cambodia, working on a scheme that helps street-children to get into education.

Three University of Huddersfield PhD researchers gave presentations about their work.  They were Limota Goroso Giwa on HIV and AIDS in Nigeria, Maha Alluhaibi on domestic violence and child abuse in Saudi Arabia and Lihn Dinh on suicide in Vietnam.

The keynote speaker at the event, Professor Michael Lavalette of Liverpool Hope University, spoke about the work that he and other social workers had done with oppressed groups around the world and how key people in different countries had contributed to the development of social work as a profession.  He also gave an account of his links with social work teams in Palestine.

Organiser Ben Raikes was delighted by an attendance of 140 people.

“They were mainly social workers from local authorities adjoining Kirklees,” he said, “but there were also people from as far afield London and Southampton.”  They were attracted by the international dimension, he added.

Now there are plans for an expanded event in 2014.

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