Social Workers in Uganda Ask to Regulate Themselves 


If you, as a social worker, found yourself in a world free of regulation, would you want to keep working that way? What is the role of regulation in social work? in troubled Uganda, the National Association of Social Workers (NASWU) is facing down that very question.

According to John Semakula in New Vision. The NASWU recently asked Parliament for legal permission to create a social work council in order to regulate Ugandan social workers. NASWU’s membership “noted that their profession has been negatively impacted on by absence of a council. The members noted that due to the absence of a regulatory body, [a] majority of the people employed as social workers are not professionals in the field that affects their work.”

The NASWU membership, according to Semakula, wants the council to require all qualified social workers in the country to be certified “like lawyers, engineers, and accountants” before those personnel can work in Uganda. They say they are tired of abuses perpetrated by those employed as social workers in bad faith.

“…Dr Roselin Lubanga, a retired lecturer at Makerere University, urged members involved in the review of the curriculum to include an aspect of corruption and social work,” writes Semakula. “She noted that many projects were ending prematurely after managers embezzled funds. The key note speaker, David Mugawe the deputy vice-chancellor in charge of external relations at Uganda Christian Uinversity in Mukono urged Ugandans to mind about children welfare. He noted that children who are abused at early age are likely to become trouble makers at old age.”

It’s interesting to note that in the absence of regulation in the field, those employed in it want to be able to enact those regulations. Law affecting social work, and oversight thereof, is a frequent topic of discussion within the field and on the pages of this blog. Regulations provide the boundaries and, in many cases, stipulate best practices in the field. But they can also be burdensome and even troubling where they interfere with the accomplishment of needed social work goals.

Where do you stand on the topic of regulation in social work? If you could enact regulations affecting your job, what would they be? Are they regulations with which you currently contend that you’d like to see repealed? In what ways is the current legal framework affecting your work lacking? We’d love to hear what you think.

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