African diaspora social workers form new Irish network
2017-10-15 08:05:31 -

By Chinedu Onyejelem


Following reports on the high number of Africans in care in Ireland, some social workers with roots in their home continent have formed a new association.


African Social Workers Ireland aims “to provide a forum for African Social Workers living and working in Ireland,” said its co-ordinator Sola Mobolaji.


“The forum is to support one another by networking, sharing our skills, experience, and knowledge. It would give us the opportunity to come together to discuss all issues that are pertinent to our profession.”


Mobolaji said the association plans “to use our knowledge and skills to address issues faced by other professionals working with African communities, and to support them in the area of cultural competency and service delivery to African communities.


“In addition, we hope to support and provide information to the African communities about issues and challenges while engaging with different services.”


Already some 41 African social workers from a wide range of areas, including child protection, mental health, probation, disability and community social work, have joined the forum. 


At press time, they were set to hold their first public lecture on ‘African social workers as a practice resource in situations of cultural misunderstanding’ by Dr Colletta Dalikeni, a lecturer in social care at DKIT.


“Social work is about change and we as African practitioners are aware of the challenges facing our communities,” said Mobolaji, referencing criticisms of the child and family agency Tusla relating to alleged bias against ethnic families, as reported in Metro Éireann this past March. 


“While different organisations are making significant efforts to ensure positive outcomes for our clients, there is a need for a collective response to support and address these issues. An issue that has been identified that is across the board is the need for cultural awareness and competency.”


Mobolaji called on African social workers across Ireland to join the forum and contribute.

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