Background to SWAZ
Social work is one of the oldest professions in Zambia, having been introduced during the British Colonial Administration in the 1940’s. Several attempts in the past to form a professional association failed for various reasons. A successful attempt was made in 2005, with the election of an interim executive committee to spearhead the formation of the Social Workers’ Association of Zambia (SWAZ).
The Association was registered in Zambia in 2006 under the Societies Cap 119 of the Laws of Zambia and affiliated to the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW). In December, 2009, a full executive committee was elected with the task of articulating and implementing an action program to review the constitution as well as kick start advocacy for legislation that meant to promote social work education and practice in Zambia.
Social work is an internationally recognized practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people, especially those who are poor. Central to social work are the principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility, and respect for diversities (IFSW and IASSW, 2014).One of the important attributes of a professional discipline is the code of ethics. These consist of a set of core values and corresponding ethical principles and standards that guide the people that subscribe to a particular profession. As a professional body of social workers in Zambia, the Social Workers’ Association of Zambia (SWAZ) has articulated a set of core values, ethical principles, and ethical standards to guide social work practice in Zambia. The code of ethics for the social work profession in Zambia reflect the best practices at the international level and are compatible to Zambia’s good cultural values and practices.
The Importance of Social Work in Zambia
The purpose of social work is to promote, restore and enhance social functioning of individuals, groups, communities and organisations. Also to advocate for policies that promote the well-being of all people, especially those living in poverty and who are vulnerable. Social work professionals have made significant contributions to national development in their varied roles as individual and family counsellors, community development practitioners, planners, researchers, social administrators, social policy analysts, Juvenile inspectors, probation officers as well as policy advocates.
The social work profession is well positioned to make an effective contribution to strengthen the social welfare as well as social protection system as critical steps to poverty reduction and the promotion of socio-economic equalities in Zambia. With the global care reform agenda and the recent profiling of child protection issues, the relevance of social work profession is gaining more prominence.
SWAZ is potentially positioned to playing a critical role in advocating for the recognition of social work as a profession as well as promoting and protecting the interest of its members whilst ensuring quality services for its clientele. SWAZ offers a broad range of services and benefits to its members and clients whilst at the same time ensuring adherence to professional code of ethics for social work practitioners. The association seeks to standardise fees for services offered by those in private practice offering micro level social work servicesas well as advocating for the protection of its members in the workplace. By joining the Association, our members are committing to the values set out within our Code of Ethics and enjoy an unrivalled range of services and benefits.