30 June 2012

Tanzania: Wards to Have Social Welfare Officers

TANZANIA will for the first time have social workers posted to ward and village work stations following official launch of a new Social welfare Assistants Programme at the Kisangara Institute this month.

This new training programme designed to further strengthen the country's social welfare workforce is a result of efforts by the ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the Institute of Social Work and the American International Health Alliance (AIHA).

The Commissioner for Social Welfare at the Ministry of Community Development, Gender and Children, Dunford Makala said the ministry has set a goal of training 6,000 individuals to bridge the gap in the social welfare sector thereby strengthening the country's severely overstretched social welfare workforce.

Mr Makala also used the opportunity to note that the social welfare policy was coming shortly. "We never had a guiding document we are working on the final touches of the policy," he said. He said failure to take social welfare programmes at the grassroot level was a problem and that the programme has initiated to bridge the existing gap.

He said some 22 councils do not even have social welfare officers, but that in the 2012/2013 fiscal year, they expect to employ more 68 social welfare officers countrywide. Significant among their challenges was the shortage of funds.

"There are all sorts of problems that need social welfare attention including drug abuse, street children, child prostitution, child abuse, marital problems, among others," he said in Dar es Salaam on Friday as the government launched a new social welfare assistant certificate programme.

Once placed in villages, he added, social welfare assistants will play a critical role in ensuring vulnerable populations have access to much needed care and support services. Working closely with the department of social welfare, AIHA and its partners started developing the educational programme to train welfare assistants in 2001.

The curriculum and training materials were approved by the National Council for Technical Education (NACTE) this year.He said the programme was developed to bridge the critical gap in social welfare workforce at the ward and community levels.He said the graduands of the programme will, among other duties, work with and supervise the existing voluntary cadre of para social workers.

PEPFAR formed partnership between the ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Institute of Social Work and the Jane Adams College of Social Work, University of Illinois-Chicago.

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