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The social work profession promotes social change, problem solving in human relationships and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance well-being. Utilizing theories of human behavior and social systems, social work intervenes at the point where people interact with their environments. Principles of human rights and social justice are fundamental to social work. (IFSW/ IASSW, 2000/ 2001).
As per the above definition we understand social work as a profession based on certain values, norms, ethics and principles. Applying this theoretical knowledge into practical a social worker can help the people for their happiness, development and attainment at social and psychological level. Human beings are the most prominent identity or unit of any society. The aim of social work profession is to bring social changes in the society and make people aware and independent for their development. Social work practice emphasizes social development, equality, human rights, social justice, social change, community development, fulfillment of needs of every individual as well. On the worldwide social work practice has been developing. To understand the issues in International social work, first we will discuss the global and international. Global social work means the practice pertaining to or involving the whole world, whereas international can mean one of the following: between or among two or more nations, of or pertaining to two or more nations or their citizens, pertaining to the relations between nations, or transcending national boundaries or viewpoints. So, international social work is that it involves any aspect of social work in which there is some relationship between two or more countries or nations. We can understand international social work from following aspects:
When a social worker practice social work in any country other than his/her home country,
Working with various international organizations (whether or not a social worker moves to the different country)
When a social worker do collaborations, networking between countries and they exchange their views and ideas for development of social work profession.
International social work is defined as international professional practice and the capacity for international action by the social work profession and its members. International action has four dimensions: internationally related domestic practice and advocacy, professional exchange, international practice, and international policy development and advocacy. (Healy: 2001, p. 7)
Linkages between international and local social work: – There is a strong connection between international and local social work. As we know that both social work practice are for development of human beings. The integrated approach to international social work and even each dimension of all four perspectives cannot exist without local social work. All the global social problems are raised from local only. The global issues like poverty, human trafficking, HIV/AIDS, Gender discrimination, violation of human rights, ageing etc originates from local. These issues not only affect the local even they raised a question around the globe. So we can say that international and local social work are interrelated to each other.
Movements to internationalise social work: – In present scenario social work is emerging as broad and vast profession with in different countries and on global level as well. To understand the movements to internationalise social work we need to understand the integrated ââ‚¬” perspective approach of international social work which is based on four inter related dimensions. It is an integrated approach because every dimension of it is related to each other.
Human Rights Perspective
International Social work
The above integrated approach to international social work depicts that all these approaches are interrelated and compliments each other in some way. The integration of these approaches constitutes international social work. We can say that international social work covers or exists the integration of these perspectives. A single perspective cannot constitute international social work. Here we are discussing the movements in each perspective to evolving international social work.
Global: – The importance of global factors can be found at macro level. As it is global perspective so this factor influences the international social work at global levels. Global perspective is itself significant and vast. In the existence of global perspective focused on six dimensions of global perspective. These are unity, diversity, interdependence, globalization, localization and world citizenship.
Unity: – The unity dimension of global perspective shows that all human beings obtain from the same origins and exhibit the same basic needs. However we all are affected in one sense or another but varying degrees we bear, for example issues in the world which affects human beings at global level i.e. terrorism. So these global issues affect the human beings although we all are from same origins.
Diversity: – The other side of coin is that all human beings are diverse with each other in many ways. Although origin is same but at the global we all have different culture, way of living. Around the globe people are different to each other in their behavior, understanding as we know that each individual is unique. This diversity among human beings can be in terms of political, social and economic system which sometimes results in competition or conflicts among systems which affects the human beings at global level.
Interdependence: – These unity and diversity among human beings enables us all to learn and benefit from each other experiences around the globe. We strive to build a world of benefit to all people across all generation.
Having a global perspective and approach to social work practice enables us to appreciate the universals in human experience. Recognition of commonalities and increased respect for differences helps to dissipate fear and distrust and to promote world peace, international cooperation and global justice. A global perspective offers new ways and multiple dimensions of analysis from a multicultural and pluralistic viewpoint. This dimension shows us that people around the globe are interdependent and interconnected to each other. As we know that events exists in any part of the globe does effects all the human beings in other part of the globe. For example the issues of human rights, conflict changes in political or economic systems affect the whole world.
Globalization: – Globalization is a process which diverse people, economies, cultures and political processes which influences people at international level. Globalization affects the social work in different countries. It is a process of global integration of people which bounds and influences them economically, culturally and politically. In the other aspects of globalization it may be useful to highlight the movements at national and international levels including antiglobalization movements. We cannot discuss international social work without globalization as it affects on both social work practices and social systems. For example the actions of social work are contextualized by the impact of economic, political and cultural globalization.
Localization: – It is quite opposite to globalization, as globalization represents or influences around the globe whereas localization exists the changes at local levels. Globalization and localization clearly interdependent to each other. We can understand these as two sides of the one coin.
World Citizenship: – The above dimensions localization and globalization also conceded through the concept of world citizenship. Global citizenship exists at both the local and global level as well. This concept is closely related with the emergence of global civil society. Although a human being can be a citizen of any nation or territory but we are the entire first and most citizens of the world, entitled to the protection of international community also. As we have already discussed that issues at the global or international affects the human society at the local level also.
Human Rights: – The human rights perspective is a prominent dimension of integrated approach of international social work. As it emphasis the values and rights basis of international social work practice. The human perspective consists of four dimensions, these are: values and principles, human rights, universality and a guide to living and behavior. The first dimension values and principles are based on the importance of human rights, philosophical values and principles as well. It highlights the list of the values and principles on which human rights arte based which is given by United Nations Centre for Human Rights. The second dimension emphasis the human rights at global level. There are declarations by UNCHR for the protection of human rights and for their welfare. A set of human rights which embraces the overall development of an individual also highlights the human rights at every aspect. The third dimension of universality says that human rights are entirely universal. The human rights are fundamental and universal which is recognized internationally. These human rights are necessary for every individual to live their life with dignity and protection. This gives universal values, importance and identification to human rights even internationally. The fourth dimension which is related to perspective of human rights i. e a guide which reflects the norms and values to human beings for their living and behavior in the society. This guide basically tells human beings how to behave and treat with each other in society whether at individually or in groups.
The Ecological Perspective: – This perspective has also four dimensions. Theoretically, the ecological perspective gives emphasis on the protection and safety of natural environment where an individual is living his/her life. This is also based on four dimensions.
Holism and Unity: – This highlights the importance of holistic approach for human development which emphasizes the unity among human beings and nature from both a spiritual and a practical perspective as well.
Diversity: – As we have discussed diversity in global perspective. Here also in ecological perspective unity and holism is balanced by diversity. According to this as human beings are diverse in nature, culture etc. So nature should be benefited with diversity of species and conditions within the web of life.
Equilibrium: – Here this dimension is giving emphasis to maintain a balance between the various species and their differing conditions. This basically shows the connection between human beings and environment that they both are interdependent on each other.
Sustainability: – This dimension is the most prominent in ecological perspective. This highlights the sustainable development of human beings. Sustainable development is extreme as it is gives last satisfaction and fulfillment of human needs and improvement of the quality of human life.
The Social Development Perspective: – We can define social development is a process of planned social change designed to promote the well-being of the population as a whole in the conjunction with the dynamic process of economic development. (Midgley, 1996a). This perspective has four dimensions which are as follows:-
Value- based: – The value based dimension highlights that individual is a key important in any society. It accepts the human development by society at every level. It highlights the approaches and key issues for the social development of human beings with their participation. It gives opportunity to every individual for being a part of social development.
Proactive intervention: – According to this dimension social development adopts a development approach, that it creates a society which is elf reliance, independent and empowered. In this sense it represents the proactive intervention dimension which can give opportunity to human beings to make their life better. This shows that it is people- centered and participatory dimension
Multidimensional: – The social development approach is multi-dimensional. As here social development means a development in holistic and integrated manner. This recognizes the development in life of human being in the social, political, economic, legal, ecological manner. On the other side it is highlighting the presumption in development of social structures, social relations, and social values as per the situations in human life. This shows that social development is talking about the multidimensional dimension around the globe.
Multilevel: – This is very prominent as 0it shows the development of human beings at every level such as local, national, regional or global level. Also the development of every units of society. So we can treat it as multilevel dimension.
As we have discussed earlier in the concept of international social work is that when a social worker moves to another country in order to practice social work. Here transmission of social work happened within the countries through various social workers.
International Law: – At the beginning of 21st century, international law remains subordinate to state power which tends to favour economic, political or military interests whenever they conflict with those of justice. International laws are there to protect human rights and the role of state for the protection of these human rights.
Universalization: – It is a process which emphasizes that core values apply to all human beings irrespective of their identity, cultural background, personal preferences and so on.
Human Rights: – Human rights could be generally defined as those rights which are inherent in our nature and without which we cannot live as human beings. Human beings are equally entitled to our human rights without any discrimination. Universal human rights are often expressed and guaranteed by law, in the form of treaties, customary international law, general principles and international law. International human rights law lays down obligations of governments to act in certain ways or to refrain from certain acts, in order to promote human rights and fundamental freedoms of individual or groups.
Erasmus Intensive Programme: – Before discussing this we will understand the concept of professional imperialism which emphasizes the ways in which social work practices and models of professional education have been taken from the global North to global South.
This programme is funded by Erasmus (EU) for 3 years. In this programme constitutes the collaboration of 5 nation states: UK, Germany, Spain, Finland or Poland. This is open for social work and social policy students to make a student exchange visits and to conduct research projects in their respective states which promotes the concept of international social work.
Conclusion: – In conclusion we can say that international social work is a vast concept which we can understand in various ways. International social work refers to education, practice, research, policy and exchanges concerned with the realities of global processes in human well- being. We cannot ignore international social work as there is need to promote it around the globe, so that in collaboration with various international and national organizations social workers can do social development in society and can attain the sustainable development of human beings. International social work represents a modernity perspective, a common understanding of problems, that people are much the same that we are all citizens of one globe and that problems can be understood across borders. The problems at local affect the global and issues which are from global affects local.
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