World Social Work Day 2022 ‘Co-building a New Eco-Social World: Leaving No One Behind’

‘We are connected, and we are all one’

Rhonda Byrne

By James McGeoghegan

Considering recent events, it seems imperative Social Work should be discussing the need for a more ecologically sensitive, more interconnected world beyond disease and war. During the pandemic came the realisation how interdependent we all are and how vaccine rollout in the Western world has left poorer nations and continents behind. This has exposed widespread inequality and the need for robust and well-funded public services for the benefit of all. War in Europe reminds us how fragile and precarious life is and how events many hundreds of miles away can impact on us individually and collectively. Social Work operates in the margins and gaps where people are caught, and addresses needs and risks so what is our role in this new World Order?

In the United Kingdom in particular Social Work has been marginalised politically and socially under the auspices of budgetary management and shrill critique of our profession. The moral outrage at ‘failures’ of action by Social Workers has led to a defensive mindset of narrow risk management and highly contained social justice aspirations. Harsh immigration policies and narrow mindsets propagate separateness, and we are also part of that problem. We operate in the shadows where there is increasing desperation and needs and the question of how to change that is difficult to answer.

Poster of World Social Work Day 2022 featuring an earth-patterned leaf underneath the slogan 'co-building a new eco-social world: leaving no one behind'
Poster of World Social Work Day 2022 from The International Federation of Social Workers

Strengths based approaches and person-centred mantras dominate narratives around current practice. Whilst it is understandable to be cynical in an era of ever-increasing costs and cuts perhaps the way forward is to fully embrace these mantras and make them real. To do this is to really embrace an ecological world where we all live in a world contaminated by climate change, war and disease and recognise we are truly all in it together. Meeting Online is still in being in touch and maybe this can act as a means of greater and more timely access to those who do live in the margins. For those who teach social work values and ethics lets ensure these include connectiveness and inclusivity and access to the means to do so for all.

About the author

Jim McGeoghegan

Jim is a Senior Teaching Fellow and has been teaching within the social work team in Warwick since 2015. He has been qualified as a Social Worker since 2008 and is currently registered as a Social Worker with the Social Work England.

He achieved a BA Honours degree at the University of Warwick in 1997 and he also achieved a master’s degree in social work at the University of Warwick in 2008.Whilst employed as a Social Worker at Warwickshire County Council, Jim achieved several Post Qualifying Academic awards in social work from the University of Warwick and Practice Educator awards from Coventry University in 2011 and 2013. He achieved the teaching award APPTE whilst at Warwick University and he has been a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) since April 2019. Jim teaches law and work-based learning modules and leads on the ‘Critical issues in Social work module’ which has been running successfully for five years and has inspired many CLL students to choose social work as a career.

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