1st Edition

The Handbook of Social Work and Social Development in Africa

Edited By Mel Gray Copyright 2017
    446 Pages 24 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    446 Pages 24 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    All recent books on international social work mention Africa only briefly and few engage with the broader field of development studies. This book focuses solely on the unique African context engaging with issues relating to social work and development more broadly thus enabling a deeper examination and more complex and nuanced picture to emerge. Unlike most academic works, this book highlights multiple practitioner voices, with authors or co-authors that have recently been or are currently practising social workers. As an edited book, it draws from both academic research as well as lived practice experience, supported by strong theoretical positioning and guidance in introductory chapters, drawing on African literature, wherever possible. Looking at case-studies from Lesotho, Botswana, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Namibia, Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Rwanda, Zambia and Tanzania and covering established areas of practice such as child protection; working with older people; working with people with disabilities; mental health; and mainstream services targeting women as well as emerging areas of developmental social work practice, such as humanitarian assistance in post-conflict situations; work with immigrants and refugees; and the training of community-based workers, this book takes a future-oriented perspective that aims to move beyond well-worn critiques to envision constructive and sustainable futures for social work and social development in Africa from a critical perspective.

    Lists of figures

    List of tables

    List of contributors



    List of acronyms

    Introduction: Setting the Parameters

    1. Discourses shaping development, foreign aid, and poverty reduction policies in Africa: Implications for social work (Mel Gray and Samuel Ben Ariong)

    2. Has social work come of age? Revisiting authentisation 25 years on (Ibrahim Ragab)

    Part 1: Established Areas of Practice

    3. Social work practice in Lesotho’s Ministry of Social Development (Jotham Dhemba and Masealimo Marumo)

    4. Social work practice within state social provision in Ghana (Rose Korang-Okrah, Alice Boateng, Augustina Naami, and Akosua Obuo Addo)

    5. Social protection and social work practice in Zambia (Fred Moonga)

    6. Social work practice with children in Botswana: Issues, challenges, and future prospects (Pelonomi Letshwiti-Macheng and Rodreck Mupedziswa)

    7. Social work practice in child and family welfare in Ghana (Anastasia Kpei Mawudoku and Kwabena Frimpong-Manso)

    8. The role of social work in the protection of vulnerable children: Lessons from Zimbabwe (Mildred Mushunje)

    9. Decolonising childcare practice in rural Zimbabwe: Embracing local cultures (Edmos Mtetwa and Munyaradzi Muchacha)

    10. Social work practice with older people: Perspectives from East Africa (Helmut Spitzer and Zena M. Mabeyo)

    11. Social work engagement in the community-based care of older people in Namibia (Janetta Ananias, Leigh-Ann Black, and Herman Strydom)

    12. Community-based rehabilitation (CBR) in Uganda: A role for social work? (Charlotte Persson)

    13. The role of social workers in the social management of epilepsy in Africa (Jacob Mugumbate, Harmiena Riphagenn, and Rosemary Gathara)

    14. Improving mental healthcare in Ghana: The role of social work practice (Mavis Dako-Gyeke and Humphrey Kofie)

    15. Social work practice in Ethiopian civil society organisations for people living with HIV and AIDS (Wassie Kebede and Ashenafi Hagos)

    16. Providing a Lifeline for female survivors of human trafficking in Ghana (David Okech and Alexis Danikuu)

    17. Social justice and the moral question: Foregrounding the paradox of teenage motherhood and education in Uganda (Annah Kamusiime and Doris M. Kakuru)

    18. Same-sex relationships among women in Botswana: Developmental challenges for society and social work (Gloria Jacques)

    Part 2: Developmental Social Work- Emerging Areas of Practice

    19. Poverty alleviation, development, and social work practice in West Africa: A focus on Senegal (Jessica H. Jönsson)

    20. Social protection and social work in Uganda (Paul Bukuluki, Ronard Mukuye, John-Bosco Mubiru, and Jane Namuddu)

    21. Decolonising social work practice in Nigeria: From indigenisation to development (Ernest Osas Ugiagbe)

    22. Violence against children in Malawi and social work (B. Ross, Karen Rotabi, and N. Maksud)

    23. Vyama in Kenya: An Afrocentric strengths-based approach to community development (Gidraph G. Wairire and John Muiruri)

    24. Community development in South Africa: Collective action for social change (Lambert Engelbrecht and Mornay Pretorius)

    25. Social work practice in Rwanda: The challenge of adapting Western models to fit local contexts (Charles Kalinganire, So`Nia Gilkey, and Laura J. Haas)

    26. Post-conflict humanitarian assistance in Northern Uganda: The social work role (Victoria Flavia Namuggala and David Kinyumu Katende)

    27. Social work practice with war-related humanitarian refugees through the Refugee Law Project in Uganda (Peninah Kansiime and Sharlotte Tusasiirwe)

    28. Strengthening Tanzania’s social welfare workforce to provide ongoing support services to vulnerable children and families (Leah Omari, Nathan Linsk, and Sally Mason)

    29. Social work practice in the NGO sector in Uganda and Kenya: Opportunities and challenges (Janestic M. Twikirize)

    30. Addressing gender inequality among girls and women: Role of social work in the Girl Power Programme in Zambia (Michelo Chilwalo, Joseph Mumba Zulu and Lazarus Mwale)



    Mel Gray is Professor and Chair of Social Work at the University of Newcastle, Australia, and previously the University KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa, where she was born. She edited the first book on Developmental Social Work in South Africa (David Philip 1998) and has long had an interest in the responsive of Western social work to non-Western contexts. She also published Social Work: A beginner’s text (1996), an introduction to the profession for social work students in South Africa.

    'What a treasure! Mel Gray brings the hidden gems of African social work and social development to light. Thirty chapters cover the challenges and strengths of working with vulnerable groups across Africa. This is an essential resource for anyone interested in developmental social work—in Africa and around the world.' – Alice K. Butterfield, University of Illinois at Chicago, U.S.A