The 12 Grand Challenges for Social Work (August 1, 2020)

NEVADA: Society is transforming at a rapid pace and social workers must do the same to provide the best support to their clients. Social work professionals are introduced to cases centered on violence, substance abuse, isolation, inequality and more. With experienced, proper training and a positive mindset, social workers across the nation have developed strategies for addressing these issues, but many challenges remain.

The American Academy of Social Work & Welfare developed The Grand Challenges for Social Work initiative that blends science with social work values and principles to create a just and cohesive society by fostering new, transformative ways of addressing these issues. Edwina Uehara, president of the Society for Social Work and Research, believes this scientific approach will lead the way to a better world in social work.

“Science is the foundation for positive social change… We must employ tested methods built on robust data to achieve lasting impact on a scale that makes a profound difference in people’s lives.” “Science is the foundation for positive social change,” she said. “We must employ tested methods built on robust data to achieve lasting impact on a scale that makes a profound difference in people’s lives.”

The Grand Challenges might be thought of as a way of focusing social work’s efforts to create new, innovative approaches to the difficulties faced by society. By using scientific methods, Richard Barth, president of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare, said these Grand Challenges can become issues of the past. “With its deep scientific knowledge base, social work is highly qualified to analyze and intervene to help our society make substantial measurable progress in the next decade on conquering these grand challenges,” he said. Let’s take a closer look at each of the 12 Grand Challenges and consider how social workers might employ empirically informed interventions:

1. Ensure Healthy Development for All Youth

According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 1 in 10 children has a serious mental health issue. Additionally, in 2011, youth depression in the U.S. was at 8.5 percent. By 2014, it heightened to a rate of 11.1 percent. Unfortunately, 80 percent of these children are left with limited or insufficient treatment. With family-focused interventions, social workers can help guide families to prevention programs that can better aid child development and mental health.

2. Close the Health Gap

When families have limited access to health care but are also dealing with discrimination, poverty and living in dangerous environments, the chance of contracting an illness increases drastically. With evidence-based social strategies, social workers can help bridge the healthcare gap and provide effective solutions to families in need.

3. Stop Family Violence

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, an average of 20 people living in the U.S. are physically abused by their partners every 10 minutes. That’s 10 million abuse victims every year. This violence doesn’t only threaten the well-being of its victims but also costs billions in spending for criminal justice. Social, family-focused interventions can help individuals identify abuse early on and prevent it from happening in the future.

4. Advance Long and Productive Lives

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the aging population will grow exponentially between 2012 and 2050. In fact, the population of adults aged 65 and older is expected to grow to 83.7 million, which is almost double its estimated population of 2012 — 43.1 million. As the aging population continues to grow, the risk of more health-related issues and conditions occurring increases. This puts more pressure on health and social services, which makes it critical for social workers to develop interventions for helping the elderly and promoting greater overall health in aging populations.

5. Eradicate Social Isolation

Social isolation can be more harmful than expected, according to Psychology Today, leading to actual physical pain and hormone imbalance. By educating the public with ways to successfully promote social interaction, social workers can help lonely individuals improve overall mental, physical and spiritual health.

6. End Homelessness

According to the National Alliance to End Homeless, there are approximately nearly 549,928 people who are homeless on any given night in the U.S. (January 2016). Homelessness can negatively impact individuals’ health in multiple ways, and the effects can last. By developing new service innovations and technologies and creating new policies to ensure affordable housing, the rate of homeless individuals can drop significantly.

7. Create Social Responses to a Changing Environment

Due to climate change and urban development, the health of the earth and its individuals is devolving. By creating transformative social initiatives that engage communities to take charge, society as a whole can improve.

8. Harness Technology for Social Good

Living in the digital age, technology makes a large impact on many of life’s tasks. By utilizing such technologies in creative ways, such as applications designed for case planning, setting up treatment plans and organizing assessments, social workers can provide proper assistance to individuals and communities in need.

9. Promote Smart Decarceration

According to the Prison Policy Initiative, people go to jail over 11 million times every year. The churn of jailed individuals is skyrocketing at an alarming rate. By developing evidence-based solutions, social workers can promote smart “decarceration” – the act of removing individuals from institutions – and find effective ways to decrease the number of individuals going to prison, while offering sufficient solutions for overall public safety.

10. Reduce Extreme Economic Inequality

Extreme economic inequality impacts the overall health and well-being of less fortunate families in need. By creative innovative ways to address tax and wage differences among the elite and impoverished, the case of extreme economic equality can be reduced. This can help struggling families across the nation.

11. Build Financial Capability for All

Economic hardship reigns in the U.S. Many household’s live paycheck-to-paycheck at best. By adopting new policies that support income generation and decrease economic hardship, social workers more effectively serve struggling families.

12. Achieve Equal Opportunity and Justice

Prejudice is a barrier to access to education and employment opportunities. By confronting racism, stereotypes and other injustices, the opportunities for everyone to advance in society increase.

As society continues to change, so will the social work landscape. That’s why it’s critical for prospective professionals to further their education. By pursuing the Master of Social Work program at the University of Nevada, Reno, you can receive the tools you need to craft your skills in the ever-changing world of social work. With an MSW, you can navigate the Grand Challenges and provide efficient solutions to some of the nation’s most challenging problems.

SSP (Social Services Program) has signed an MOU with the government of Pakistan (July 31, 2020)

ISLAMABAD: SSP (Social Services Program) has signed an MOU with the government of Pakistan through Economic Affairs Division: three more organizations were also cleared and allowed to work under the umbrella of EAD.

After bringing INGOs into the framework of EAD only 37 INGOs are entrusted to work in Pakistan. From now onward government of Pakistan also initiated the screening process of local NGOs as well and luckily we succeeded once more to win the trust of the state institutions. We will never led down the trust of our donors as well as state institutions.

This is the extreme blessings of almighty Allah that amongst thousands of local NGOs, we were selected and now can directly work with the development partners of Pakistan in the field of livelihoods, Education, Health and Nutrition and WASH. It’s a great day and would love to dedicate it to untired efforts of the SSP Core team and field staff.

Students on The Front Line of Social Service: Ahad Khan ( AprIL 27,  2020)

LAHORE: At a time when the scourge of coronavirus poses a great challenge to humanity, a group of students has decided to stand up and be counted. These students of various institutions are part of non-government organisations (NGOs) which have banded together to meet the challenge of reaching out to the deserving people by providing them with ration. As Ramazan has just begun and a segment of society is in need of succour, they say they have undertaken the responsibility of providing ration to the families who otherwise can’t get these due to lockdown.

“Today, when the world is undergoing an awful and gloomy experience of seemingly intractable coronavirus outbreak, most people have no option but to live under a state of partial or full lockdown. Someone has to take responsibility for the cause of the distressed,” says one of the students actively engaged in the project. During these testing times, he says, doctors, paramedics, policemen, media workers and civil society activists are truly playing the role of front line soldiers and the government is giving them commendable support.

Quite a number of NGO workers are volunteering to work shoulder to shoulder with the government and other professionals to help the needy. They are engaged in raising funds, identifying the needy and distributing ration packages. Among these charities are Aas-i-Kausar Foundation (working at the national level for uplifting single women financially), Change Makers of Pakistan (working for highlighting impacts created by local social workers) and We Grow (working for people living in slums in Lahore and Sialkot) – each chipping in with valuable contributions in this regard.

“Thousands of low-income households have been given ration packages and other necessary supplies by these student-driven NGOs and their services are not confined to Lahore,” said Zeeshan Shahid, Aas-i-Kausar Foundation’s deputy director, who has been able to distribute ration for 250 families in southern Punjab areas of Chowk Azam and Kot Addu with the help of donors.

Young fellows using their connections rightly, remain in touch with the deserving people and donors in order to have expeditious availability of the necessary items, said Maryam Afzal Madni who is the chief operating officer of Change Makers of Pakistan. They also highlighted problems many social workers face from time to time. “It is often said that Pakistanis are one of the most generous people in the world when it comes to charity.

What goes unnoticed is the fact that government or officials concerned are sometimes not much supportive or forthcoming and no proper model has been designed for the help of these NGOs. For example, the registration process and regulation of their financial systems create dismal environment for the ambitious and genuinely sincere people aiming to run charities.

This strange reluctance on part of the government institutions discourages people from establishing their charity trusts and NGOs,” said Zeeshan Ahmad who is Finance Secretary of Aas-i-Kausar Foundation in Lahore. “This behaviour further transforms into another form when common people also start distancing themselves from NGOs and prefer to donate privately and a larger part of the donation goes unfiltered, with no effective participation in formal economic activity of the country,” he said.

He stressed that Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is also globally regarded as one of the top contributors to social causes in Pakistan, must now acknowledge the significance of welfare institutions and the lives attached with them. His reliance on volunteers by making Tiger Force during these testing times, he said, was a positive step and he should also pave the way for other institutions to do their bit for the national cause.

ISPR Highlights 'Voice of Social Workers' In New Promo Ahead of Pakistan Day (March 21, 2019)

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan Army's media wing Inter-Services Public Relation (ISPR) on Thursday released a new promo video “Voice of social workers” ahead of Pakistan Day celebrations on March 23. Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who is in Islamabad on a three-day official visit to Pakistan, will be the chief guest at the Pakistan Day Parade.

Major General Asif Ghafoor, military’s chief spokesperson, shared the video on his official Twitter handle with PakistanDayParade and #PakistanZindabad hashtags. The video contained the messages of several prominent social workers including Faisal Edhi, Shezade Roye and Ramzan Chippa. Voice of Social Workers.....Pakistan Zindabad  سماجی کارکنوں کی آواز ۔۔۔پاکستان زندہ باد#PakDayParade2019 #PakistanZindabad 🇵🇰 — DG ISPR (@OfficialDGISPR) March 21, 2019

The activists filled with patriotic spirit in the video chanted the slogans of "Pakistan Zindabad" and urged the nation to get united and portray the positive image of the country. In another video, posted on the micro-blogging network captioned as “Voice of stars”, number of celebrities including Shan Shahid, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Fahad Mustafa raised the long live Pakistan slogans. Voice of Stars.....Pakistan Zindabad ستاروں کی آواز ۔۔۔۔پاکستان زندہ باد#PakDayParade2019 #PakistanZindabad 🇵🇰 — DG ISPR (@OfficialDGISPR) March 19, 2019

ISPR Director General Ghafoor also shared the promo on his Twitter account named as "Voice of media" featuring the messages of prominent journalists and anchorpersons.  Voice of Media.....Pakistan Zindabad  یڈیا کی آواز ۔۔۔۔پاکستان زندہ باد#PakDayParade2019 #PakistanZindabad 🇵🇰 — DG ISPR (@OfficialDGISPR) March 21, 2019

Pakistan Day or Pakistan Resolution Day is a national holiday in Pakistan marking the historic Lahore Resolution passed on 23 March 1940.

Viewpoint: Pakistan's social services are collapsing: Ahmed Rashid (November 15, 2014)

LONDON: BBC News reports on Pakistan suggest the country still has a long way to go in tackling malnutrition, polio, lack of education, and terrorism. Guest columnist Ahmed Rashid says a tepid government response has only exacerbated such problems. The government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is facing a political and economic crisis and a spate of recent reports has highlighted the parlous state of the country's social services.

The government appears oblivious to chronic deficiencies in health, education and governance. If it addresses these issues, it is only to put out statements of denial about cause and effect and to clamp down on critics in the media. A recent conference in Islamabad organised by the UN's World Food Program pointed out that 44% of Pakistan's population is facing malnutrition, 15% of whom suffer from acute malnutrition. As a result, some 11 million children under five will suffer from stunted growth.

Other UN surveys that have been carried out and come to even more dire conclusions have so far not been published. According to some Western diplomats, this is because the government objects to them. There is little recognition of the problem by Islamabad. Much of the cause for severe malnutrition is not the shortage of food, but its high cost which people can no longer afford. Food riots have already occurred in Sindh and Balochistan provinces, and famine was declared last year in the Tharpaker desert area of Sindh, leading to an outpouring of support from civil society but few long-term plans for the region by the government.

Such protests could spread to grain-rich Punjab province. The water crisis across Pakistan is become more acute by the day, with vast areas of Sindh and Balochistan expected to be declared waterless in the next decade, while there is no management of excess water and floods during the monsoon season. The lack of water in Punjab's canal system built by the British Raj is already driving down food production in Punjab.

Polio crisis

Meanwhile Pakistan's campaign to prevent the spread of polio that afflicts young children has been termed ''a disaster'' by the Global Independent Monitoring Board for the eradication of polio. In its latest report issued from Geneva on October 26, the Board says: "Pakistan's polio programme is a disaster. it continues to flounder hopelessly, as its virus flourishes.... Pakistan is now the major stumbling block to global polio eradication." It calls the government's Emergency Operations Centre "a masterpiece of obscurity". "It's frustrating, eradicating polio is not rocket science," Elias Durry of the World Health Organisation says.

Pakistan has had 217 polio cases this year, accounting for 85% of all instances around the world and the highest incidence in 14 years. Moreover, 64 vaccinators have been killed by the Pakistani Taliban who oppose the campaign, also a sign of inadequate protection by security forces. Nurses and support staff who carry out this dangerous work have not been paid for two months. Pakistan now faces the disgrace of having exported the virus to China, Syria, Egypt and Israel according to WHO, through carriers who went to these destinations.

WHO fears that if Pakistan refuses to act, more money will be spent on blockading Pakistan from other countries to prevent the spread of the virus than actually combating it. However, for more than a year the government has refused to acknowledge the scale of the disaster and kept facts hidden from parliament and the media. The Foreign Office has issued disturbing and defensive statements accusing the international community of exaggerating the threat.

Only after the Board's recent report has Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reacted. While addressing the chief ministers of the four provinces on 4 November, he said he would give the Committee on Polio Eradication six months to make Pakistan polio-free. However even that statement was withdrawn a day later.

Rise in violence

Meanwhile 25 million children still do not go to school - the largest number of any country in the world. A new report by Alif Ailaan, a leading education campaign organisation states that only one in four children who do enroll in school make it to grade 10. Half the children drop out by the fifth grade while conditions in schools are deplorable as many lack running water, toilets or even classrooms. Despite large-scale spending on schools by the Punjab government, not much has improved over the past few years.

There has been an alarming rise in the level of violence against all minorities in Pakistan, highlighted on 4 November by the mob killing of a Christian couple and the burning of their bodies on account of alleged blasphemous statements they made, when a more prosaic version of events emerged: they owed their employer money and he was exacting revenge.

Many of the social campaigns such as anti-polio and population control are unsuccessful because they are threatened by terrorists. Yet how can any campaign be mounted against extremism when there appears to be no strategic policy of zero tolerance for terrorism or a central authority. The National Internal Security Policy, announced as a clearing house and central command for the anti-terrorist campaign, has not been heard from since it was announced in February. The lack of a clear political strategy by the government has led to an ever-greater policy and implementation failure on social issues.

Ahmed Rashid is a Pakistani journalist and author based in Lahore. His latest book is Pakistan on the Brink - The Future of America, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"Pakistan Federation of Social Worker's (PFSW)" is a national-level, non-governmental and non-profit social organization of Pakistan. The head office of PFSW is located in the heart of downtown of historical city of Lyallpur, Faisalabad, Punjab Pakistan. The PFSW is responsible for the social welfare of all the social workers of Pakistan including its Federal administrated territories of Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit Baltistan (GB). All the social workers throughout Pakistan are eligible of becoming a member of PFSW without any discrimination of religion, race, color, ethnicity, freedom of speech.

The general objective of the PFSW is to take care and social welfare of the social workers throughout Pakistan. The specific objectives of the PFSW are to:-

1. determine and look after the rights of the social workers engaged in social work with different non-profit and non-governmental social work organizations (NGO) in Pakistan.

2.  raise the human rights awareness among the social welfare workers of Pakistan.

3.   represent the social workers of Pakistan before the local, provincial national government and international levels and to resolve their personal & professional difficulties.

4.   provide personal & professional assistance to the social workers at all Pakistan level.

5.   call national levels social workers meetings when and where needed by the Chairman (PFSW), Board of Governors/Directors.

2020. All Rights Reserved. Layalpur Post Media House, Faisalabad Pakistan.