World Social Work Day is held on the third Tuesday of March each year, and this year it fell on 15th March 2022, which coincided with Social Work England’s Social Work Week (14th – 18th March 2022).
The day was created to recognise and celebrate the achievements of the social work sector and the impact the profession has on societies across the world. The aim of the day is also to raise the profile of social services for the future of society and defend human rights and social justice.
Social workers across the world celebrate World Social Work Day every year, sharing their stories, experiences, and contributions to the sector.
If you’re looking to make a difference to people’s lives, why not consider a role in social work? Check out our blog on everything you need to know about becoming a social worker.
World Social Work Day began in the early 1980s. In 1983, The International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) United Nations Representatives proposed a project to bring social workers from the nearby area to the United Nations Headquarters in New York. This was led by Jack A. Kamaiko, a social work professor at City University of New York’s School of Social Work and was the beginning of what became known as “Social Work Day at the United Nations”.
This idea was adopted by other United Nations representatives across the world who all organised similar events around March or April each year.
However, the idea of the World Social Work Day that we celebrate today came a little later.
In 1997, European IFSW member organisations launched European Social Work Action Day. This sparked a proposal for a global celebration, and IFSW members discussed how to link Social Work Day at the United Nations with European Social Work Action Day. And so, the idea of World Social Work Day was devised…
The concept was approved in 2004 by member organisations of the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), but following this, it wasn’t until 2007 that the first World Social Work Day was celebrated, with the theme “Social Work – Making a World of Difference”.
The day has been an annual celebration ever since. Find out more about the history behind the day by clicking here.
Each year, World Social Work Day is centred on a theme. Past themes have included: “Promoting Social and Economic Equality”, “Promoting the Dignity and Worth of Peoples”, “Promoting Community and Environmental Sustainability”, and “Promoting the Importance of Human Relationships”.
The theme this year focused on “Co-building a New Eco-Social World: Leaving No One Behind”.
The aim is to collaborate to devise a plan of action for new global social work values, creating trustworthy policies and best practices based on these values that inspire confidence and security for everyone. Sustainability is also a big factor – as we know the devastating impacts of climate change and pollution across the world.
The theme this year is linked to the theme of the people’s global summit, taking place online from the 29th of June to the 2nd of July.
The people’s global summit is designed to bring together communities, individuals, and global organisations to facilitate a worldwide conversation regarding the creation of global shared social work values for an eco-social world.
All contributions from the event will go into shaping the “Global Values Declaration” that will be presented to the United Nations High-Level Political Forum in July 2022, with the aim of creating a catalyst for further action across the globe.
Silvana Martinez, the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) President commented: “The Co-building a New Eco-Social World peoples’ summit has brought large and diverse groups together with a common vision and shared starting principles. Collectively we are the largest civil-society organisation comprising the world’s trade unions, health sectors, Faith Invest network, global student bodies, international social work, United Nation’s agencies, social movements, academic networks and many others. The 2022 World Social Work Day will act as a platform for this initiative, to engage all communities so they can have their say in what kind of collective world they want to live in. I urge all social workers to become involved in this global mass movement for change.”
Social workers play a vital role in many events and crises, providing support, care and guidance to individuals and community groups affected.
In this video, the IFSW Secretary-General, Rory Truell discusses this year’s “Co-building a New Eco-Social World: Leaving No One Behind” theme in relation to current events happening across the world, and the importance of working together to achieve peace and harmony in a world that works for everyone.
We are looking forward to the outcomes of the global people’s summit in a couple of months and seeing ideas come to fruition across the globe. Although World Social Work Day is over for another year, those in the sector continue to work tirelessly to support their communities and individuals, and we would like to thank all our colleagues across the world for continuously working to improve the lives of others.
Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash.