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MAKING SOCIAL WORK TRAINING COMMUNITY BASED. Lessons from Kerala, India Palakkappillil J. CRITIQUE OF SOCIAL WORK TRAINING & PRACTICE. ‘Social Work’ is often equated to ‘voluntary work’, ‘social service’ or the kind of interventions made by a politician.

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MAKING SOCIAL WORK TRAINING COMMUNITY BASED

Lessons from Kerala, India

Palakkappillil J.


CRITIQUE OF SOCIAL WORK TRAINING & PRACTICE

  • ‘Social Work’ is often equated to ‘voluntary work’, ‘social service’ or the kind of interventions made by a politician.

  • Social Work Training in India – since 1936

  • More or less American in thinking and inputs

  • Past 70 years of professional Social Work


CRITIQUE OF SOCIAL WORK TRAINING & PRACTICE -2

  • Copying the American Model

  • Training based on a ‘clinical’ and ‘residual’ approach to problem solving

  • The entire approach assumed an urban or urbanising community.

  • The reality of the rural India very minimally addressed.


CRITIQUE OF SOCIAL WORK TRAINING & PRACTICE -3

  • Opportunities for Social Workers in the state welfare schemes – very minimal

  • Very minimum influence on policy formulation

  • A sizeable section migrates to countries like – UK, US, Ireland, Australia and Newzeland.

  • A struggle between ‘activist idealism’ and ‘worker pragmatism’


EXPERIMENTS IN MAKING COMMUNITY THE BASE

  • Premise: Community and its needs should form the basis of training and practice

  • As opposed to learning ‘methods’ out of community contexts


EXPERIMENT 1 – A PPP in Poverty Alleviation Mission

  • Context – Kerala, the most literate state, said to be a ‘development model’

  • State Government’s Poverty Alleviation Mission.

  • Kutumbasree Mission (literally ‘Family Prosperity)

  • An MoU with the Mission for student trainee participation


Kutumbasree Mission

  • Identification of the poor – 9 point index*

  • Organising the poor in their neighbourhoods (NHG)

  • Women of the neighbourhood as the focus of community organisation

  • Training for initiating IGPs through SHGs


The Role of Social Work Trainees

  • Designation: Voluntary Executives of Kutumbasree (VEK)

  • Access to communities and documents in a semi-official capacity

  • Upgradation of units lagging behind

  • Improvement in performance through training

  • Identifying training needs.


The Role of Social Work Trainees -2

  • Sorting out conflicts

  • Liaising with the Local Administration in the implementation of various schemes


Implications for Social Work Training

  • Making training more community based

  • Direct access to community – its needs, and resources

  • Direct access to a government programme

  • Practice of the various methods of Social Work - Work with Individuals, Groups and Communities within a given community

  • Possibilities for auxilliary methods


Implications for Social Work Training -2

  • Familiarisation with policy implications

  • Understanding the need for political action

  • Remarkable improvement in the efficiency of the programme

  • Replicated all over the state.


EXPERIMENT 2

  • Premise: Social Workers are to be change agents.

  • Practice Experience: Social Workers function as system maintenance workers


Involvement in People’s Struggles

  • The New Development Scenario

  • Development induced displacements

  • Dams, High Ways, Speed ways, SEZ


Involvement in People’s Struggles -2

  • Visits to the affected communities

  • Interaction with the leaders of the struggles

  • Providing the people in struggle a space for expression.

  • Expressions of solidarity – joining a sit in, fast, or protest march (voluntary)


Impact on Training

  • Getting to know the seamy side of development

  • Awareness about rights – rights beyond the framework of client rights in services.

  • Possibilities of Social Action for change


EXPERIMENT 3: Livelabs

  • Concept of live labs

  • Field action projects in child protection & child rights; women’s empowerment and development; community based experiments in the care of the aging; natural resources management and conservation


Impact on Training

  • The growth of the school from a teaching centre to a centre of teaching and practice.

  • Possibilities of direct interaction with many practitioners

  • Association with various practice units

  • Involvement in various community based programmes (especially through camps)


Impact on Social Work Training

  • Help in familiarising the trainees with the actual context of practice.

  • Adapting the established methods to community context with a fair amount of success.


Implications for Social Work Practice

  • Immense possibilities of research

  • Need for theory building

  • Need for evolving new methods for a development context

  • Need for greater focus on social policy – a much neglected area by SW profession.


  • THANK YOU

  • MERCI


9 Point Poverty Index : Urban Revised 2000 onwards

  • Dilapidated House / No house

  • Less than 5 cents of Land / No Land

  • No Sanitary Latrine

  • No access to safe drinking water within 150 meters

  • Women headed house hold

  • No regular employed person in the family

  • Socially Disadvantaged Groups SC/ST

  • Mentally retarded / Disabled / Chronically ill member in the family

  • Families without colour TV

A family having at least four of the above factors is classified

as a ‘Family at Risk’ or a ‘Poor Family’


9 Point Poverty Index (Revised - Rural)

  • No Land /Less than 10 cents of Land

  • No house/Dilapidated House

  • No Sanitary Latrine

  • No access to safe drinking water within 300 meters

  • Women headed house hold/ Presence of a widow, divorcee / abandoned lady / unwed mother

  • No regularly employed person in the family

  • Socially Disadvantaged Groups(SC/ST)

  • Presence of Mentally or physically challenged person / Chronically ill member in the family

  • Families with an illiterate adult member

A family having at least four of the above factors is classified

as a ‘Family at Risk’ or a ‘Poor Family’


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