Upon its visit to express appreciation to UNICEF through its Deputy Representative in Nigeria, Aboubacry Tall, and the Chief of Child Protection, Ibrahim Sesay, Tuesday at the UN House, Abuja, Abubakar Bichi, the immediate past President of the Association of Medical Social Workers who led the social workers to UNICEF has requested for further support from UNICEF to help set up the Council, its accreditation processes, its data system as well as the records of professionals to give bite to the new Nigerian Council for Social Work (NCSW) Act, 2023.
Bichi highlighted the appreciation of Professional Social Workers in Nigeria to UNICEF for their consistent support towards the promulgation of an act on the establishment of the Nigeria Council for Social Work.
The presentation of an award of steadfastness and dependability was made by the current President of the Association of Medical Social Work of Nigeria, AMSWON Mr. Kayode Ogedengbe to UNICEF, Nigeria, in appreciation of their consistent and enduring support towards the achievement of the promulgation of the Nigerian Council for Social Work (NCSW) Act, 2023.”
A beautiful flex banner that summarizes the motive of the social work professionals’ visit to UNICEF was also presented to adorn the premises of the UN House as a reminder of the role of UNICEF in the promulgation of the Social Work Act.
The Nigerian Council for Social Work (NCSW) Act, 2023 was recently passed by the National Assembly and assented to by the President, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR to regulate the framework, monitor and control social work practice in the country and bring it in tandem with global best practices.
It should be noted that the social work discipline is an applied behavioral profession that promotes human rights, social justice, peace, and conflict resolution while also engendering social change, problem-solving, and sustainable development in human relationships.
Since the new law entails setting up the “Nigeria Council for Social Work” in Nigeria, Abubakar Bichi on behalf of the new crop of professionals requests that UNICEF which deployed a lot of resources and support input along with other Governmental and Non-Governmental Bodies ensure the passage of the National Council for Social Work Establishment Bill, 2022 into the new Act, should ensure that the new professionals get it right, with the registration of professionals, the constitution of the Council and Structure for its running.
For these, the standards of knowledge and skills expected of those seeking to be registered as Social Workers have to be got right. And, this standard and skill have to be reviewed as time and circumstances demand.
With important roles in the life of an individual, family, group, community, and organization who may come to distress, the homeless, persons with disabilities, the aged, the sick, the mentally ill, young persons, and elderly requiring assistance to do things, social workers are found in hospitals, family courts, schools, correctional facilities, old peoples homes, police establishment providing psycho-social support.
In response to the remark and requests of the social work professionals in Nigeria, the Deputy Country Representative of UNICEF in Nigeria stated that the social work professionals were being modest in ascribing a great role to UNICEF in bringing about the passage of the new Act which he said is truly deserving of celebration.
“You built the foundation; you have put on the roof of the house; now, all that’s left is for us to do is to furnish it and live in it together. UNICEF and others like it can only achieve results when we work with people who not only know where they are and where they’re going but are willing to stand and fight for what they believe in. It is only together in a sincere partnership that we can make significant results.”
The Deputy country representative continued and said that “We found you guys at work, and we only stepped in to help move it because it fits into the mandate of UNICEF to support the works you’ve been doing.
He urged the Government to invest more in people; the human capital rather than in infrastructure, so as to create a work force that will maintain the wealth of the nation. The Deputy-Rep urged the social work professionals to continue building and expanding the frontier of the social work force in Nigeria and pledged on behalf of the Country Rep of UNICEF in Nigeria, Ms. Cristian Muduate to continue to support social work in Nigeria.
The Chief of Child Protection of UNICEF, Ibrahim Sesay revealed that UNICEF already has a draft for setting up the Council, the accreditation processes, and the draft for the data system as well as the criteria for enrolment of professionals in place, which he said will be part of the key requirements that will help in kick-starting the council. He revealed that the next step is a call for action.