AN international gathering of social workers will meet to discuss the global response to the Coronavirus crisis, in an event co-organised by Liverpool Hope University.
The vital webinar, ‘Social Work Interventions for Social Change in the Time of Covid-19: International Perspectives’, takes place Thursday April 16th, 5pm UK time.
It’s being jointly hosted by Hope’s Professor Michael Lavalette, Head of the School of Social Sciences, in conjunction with the International Federation of Social Workers and the Social Work Action Network (SWAN).
And the event - being live-streamed via Facebook and Zoom - is the second such online conference to take place in as many weeks following the huge success of the first meeting.
Professor Lavalette, who edits the Critical and Radical Social Work Journal, stressed the need for a worldwide, joined-up approach in coping with the social ramifications of the disease pandemic.
He said: “Social workers might not be able to meet in the physical world right now, due to social distancing restrictions.
“But we can meet online - and the initial social work web conference earlier this month was a phenomenal success. The video of the event has been watched more than 15,000 times.
“It was also a truly international conference.
“While the majority of viewers were from the UK, we also had large numbers from Latin America, the US, across Europe and Africa, as well as Australia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong and Singapore.
“And it’s our hope that this unique worldwide perspective will help to coordinate an effective response to this unprecedented pandemic.
“We can share ideas about innovative social work practices while also outlining areas where extra help is urgently needed, particularly from government agencies.”
The aim of this week’s webinar is, according to SWAN, to ‘inspire colleagues across the world to not only address safety for today but to translate fear, grief, and loss into empowerment and social transformation.’
Announcing the new initiative, SWAN added: “Social workers around the globe continue to work through conditions that place themselves at risk but do so as duty to the people they work with.
“As the coronavirus crisis unfolds, what are the challenges to social workers supporting the people they work with? What have governments done to reduce the crisis and why isn't it working?
“Amongst this, social workers continue to find ways of working and fighting the conditions in which the crisis has deepened.”
As well as working with the international community of social workers, Professor Lavalette will also be helping to organise a UK specific conference, in conjunction with the British Association of Social Workers and Unison, on April 23rd.