Reflections on the occasion of social workers day

Social workers are on the frontline of children's issues

Gomolemo Rasesigo
Children playing while mother is at work
UNICEF Botswana
16 March 2021

Today marks March 16th marks the World Social Worker’s Day and social workers around the world are celebrated and recognized for their essential role in the daily lives of individuals, families and communities. This year’s theme for the day is Ubuntu: ‘I am because we are’ – Strengthening Social Solidarity and Global Connectedness.  As we raise our voices in appreciation for the critical role of the social workers, it is also an opportune time to call for increased recognition and support for the crucial frontline role played by these workers during and prior to COVID-19.

The social service workforce in Botswana like others all over the world are very important for child protection and play a central role in promoting social justice; reducing discrimination and root causes of inequality; challenging harmful behaviours and social norms; preventing and responding to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation; tackling harmful practices such as child marriage and addressing family separations especially among migrants, refugees and internally displaced persons.

They also support poverty reduction initiatives, including social protection and cash transfer programs, and respond to humanitarian crisis situations. Nurturing relationships are central to social service professionals in all aspects of work. The promotion of indigenous knowledge remains critical to informing approaches to delivery of social service interventions.

As we reflect on the challenges of the past year, we also must recognize the unsung heroes who continued carrying out essential services during this time. COVID-19 has had a significant impact on how the social service workforce delivers services and interventions. At a time when individuals and communities, as well as workers themselves, face heightened challenges including lack of resources, the social service workforce has remained at the heart of building connections and linkages and ensuring the continuity of promotive, preventative and responsive services.

We call on all government to invest in this important frontline workforce by developing supportive policies to ensure the strengthening of capacity of the workers to meet immediate and ongoing needs and providing supportive working conditions. By so doing, everyone in the community will benefit.