MEDIA RELEASE / Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers
Tuesday 15 April
500,000 social workers unite for World Social Work Day!
The Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers (ANZASW) joins today with the 83 other associations around the world that belong to the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) to celebrate World Social Work Day – 15 April 2008. “This event was recognised at the ANZASW’s Congress in Christchurch earlier this month, where it was also noted that 2008 marks the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” says Rose Henderson, ANZASW President.
“As we take the opportunity on this day to put social work into an international context, it is becoming more and more apparent that professional associations for Social Workers can make a world of difference through co-operation and mutual support. Regardless of internal country definitions of which populations are most vulnerable and in need of help, each of us has a leading role to play in supporting human rights and we need to step up to that responsibility to promote the welfare of individuals, families and communities”.
“In recent years the profile of social work has been growing as part of a renewed global interest in human rights and social justice, which are essential to community well-being and economic stability,” says Rose Henderson.
“It is notable that the United Nations holds a parallel social work day every year in recognition of the frontline role that social workers have in the battle to implement human rights. In his statement for the day IFSW President David N. Jones said that all social work is now international and that governments are increasingly looking to social work for answers to social crises, ranging from mass migration and ethnic or religious conflict to other impacts of globalization”.
“The range of activity undertaken by associations of Social Workers is inspiring. In Latin America the focus is on access to social services as a human right, and our colleagues in Canada have chosen to make the issue of women and poverty a national priority”. “The important message for social work in New Zealand, as reflected in our newly released Code of Ethics, is that human rights and social justice are as central to the profession of social work in this country as anywhere else.
We look forward to highlighting this message when we celebrate our own Social Workers Day here on 24 September 2008, and at the ANZASW Conference in Wellington in 2009,” says Rose Henderson. Since its establishment the IFSW has grown to represent social work associations in 84 countries with a total membership of more than 500 000 social workers. This year’s theme for World Social Work Day –
“Making a World of Difference” – continues a promotion IFSW launched on its 50th anniversary in 2006. The special gathering of 900 Social Workers and students at the United Nations this year included 98-year-old Kathleen Kendall, the first Social Worker employed by the UN. Fiona Robertson, from New Zealand, attended this gathering in New York in her capacity as IFSW Treasurer. See also www.anzasw.org.nz