Conference on Social Work

The RESILIENT team participated at the International Conference on Social Work organized by the University of Rwanda from 23rd up to 26th November 2021. The theme of the conference was: “Towards Ubuntu and Sustainable Development: Social Work position in achieving SDGs”. Conference website:
At the conference, the RESILIENT team presented preliminary finds from a review of social work curricula.

Abstract: Re-imagining social work education in East Africa

Social work is an emerging professionalized field in most of Africa. As an academic discipline, social work builds on a broad and interdisciplinary spectrum of theories, whereof most are “Eurocentric”. In line with postcolonial thought, social work’s epistemic complicity with empire cannot be left unacknowledged. For social work theories to be relevant and responsive to local communities, they have to be contextualized, challenged and advanced. We argue that advancement of social work as an academic professional discipline in Africa requires an attentiveness to how theoretical knowledge can be indigenized. Indigenization is a contested term. In our usage, it refers to how social work can be culturally relevant and respond to diverse local contexts. We understand indigenization not as a replacement of dominant (colonial) knowledge systems, but as weaving together different knowledge systems so that learners can come to understand, develop and challenge both. We address the following questions: What does indigenization of social work mean and what does it imply for the education of social work? What is the current situation like at three East African universities with social work programmes, and what are the challenges and opportunities for the emerging professionalization of social work in these contexts? Empirically, the article will build on a review of the curriculum of undergraduate programmes in social work at three East African universities and, for comparison, one Norwegian university. Theoretically, it is informed by literature on indigenization in the legacy of standpoint epistemology.

Janestic Twikirize, Makerere University, Uganda
Eric Awich Ocen, Makerere University, Uganda
Zena Mnasi, Institute of Social Work, Tanzania
Charles Kalinganire, University of Rwanda, Rwanda
Cecilie Revheim, University of Agder, Norway
Ann Christin Nilsen, University of Agder, Norway

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *