Social Work professionals seek FG support to foster growth

L-R: Dr Iyeme Efem, Dr Kemi Ottun-Emaimo, Dr Beta Edu, Dr Kabiru Atta, and Mr Yakubu Oni … after the meeting 

By Nudoiba Ojen

Chartered Institute of Social Work Practitioners of Nigeria (C-ISOWN) has sought Federal Government’s support for the growth of the profession with a view to placing Social Work on equal pedestal with other professions.

The immediate Past President of the institute, Dr Iyeme Efem, said that entrenching professionalism in Social Work would go a long way in fostering effective practice not only in Nigeria but also on the entire African continent.

Efem spoke in Abuja during a courtesy visit of C-ISOWN leaders to the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Beta Edu, canvassed her support for the institute’s capacity building efforts for social workers as well as its commitment to raise the standard of the profession.

Other members of the team were Protem Registrar, Dr (Mrs) Kemi Ottun-Emaimo; Country Project Manager, USAID, Dr Kabir Atta and National Project Director, Dr Yakub Oni.

The former president said, “C-ISOWN hereby appeals to the Honourable Minister to support the Institute in building capacities of social workers and support the professionalisation of the practice to bring them at par with their counterparts in other professions.

“We see this as the panacea to building a strong social work practice in Nigeria and in Africa at large. The credit will certainly go to the Honourable Minister for making this materialise,” Efem said.

He appealed to the minister to encourage and sponsor relevant officers in the ministry to participate in special membership and induction programme for senior officers in service.

This, he said, would aid their proper registration, adding that “the Institute provides the platform for prospective social workers to gain practical field experiences either through internships or direct participation in various activities and projects either offered by the institute or in partnership with government agencies and international organisations”.

Efem said that government support for formidable Social Work practice in Nigeria had become compelling, adding that the move had been the institute’s motivation to work with the Federal Government and the National Assembly.

This, he added, would help to set “standards and modalities for professionalising social work practice and bring it at par with counterparts in the West.”

Recalling that C-ISOWN was established in Nigeria in 2009, to exclusively train social workers and regulate the practice, he disclosed that there was no regulatory framework for its professional operations until last year when the institute was formally established by an Act of the National Assembly.

This, he said, had placed the responsibility of registering, training, licensing and control of Social Work on its shoulders.

He explained that the Act stipulates provisions for regulation of the profession including the provision of regulatory stamp and seal for registered practitioners to be affixed on all professional documents.

Iyeme said that “with the chartered status of C-ISOWN, social workers in Nigeria are now being licensed after completing their training and relevant professional examinations.”

Listing EngenderHealth as one of such organisations, he said the agency had been implementing USAID/Fistula Projects in Nigeria since 2007.

He noted that partnership with government and international agencies “has provided the Project the avenue to introduce various social work skill-building opportunities for Nigeria.”

He stressed that the institute’s enthusiasm to partner both the Project and the Ministry was predicated on its commitment to expand its capacity building agenda for social workers in managing the various aspects of this programming component.

The minister, Dr Edu, praised the institute for its commitment to promoting professional standard for Social Work practice as obtainable in developed nations.

She, however, advised the institute to build effective data base for the profession to enable easy interventions from the ministry, assuring the team of her preparedness to collaborate with the institute for standard practice.

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