Namibia is a democratically governed nation that is classified amongst rich upper middle income countries (Republic of Namibia, 2012:xv). However, this rich nation is ridden with inequalities that exclude the majority of its people from accessing social and economic benefits. Since the social work profession is grounded in upholding human rights and social justice, social workers can significantly contribute to promote social and economic equality.
The goal of the study was to determine social work’s contribution in promoting social and economic equality within the Namibian context.
The study adopted a qualitative research approach, it was exploratory and applied and utilised a collective case study design. The sample for the study was purposively selected and included ten social work participants. Data was collected through semi-structured one-on-one interviews and document analysis.
The findings show that the Government of the Republic of Namibia is attempting to shift “…social services from curative and remedial social work to a developmental approach” (Ministry of Health & Social Services, 2010:1). However, the majority of social service organisations in Namibia are still clinically focused and have not incorporated developmental social work into social workers’ job descriptions. Nonetheless, some social workers within these organisations utilise their own initiative to carry out activities that have a developmental focus.
The study concludes that skills shortage, a lack of opportunities for continual professional development in the developmental social work approach and the poor coordination of social welfare services are serious challenges that hinder social workers to promote social and economic equality in Namibia.
Recommendations include: implementing the provision in the Social Work and Psychology Act 6 of 2004 (Republic of Namibia, 2004a:30) to train, recruit and register social auxiliary workers and expediting the finalisation of the 4th Draft Situational Analysis on Social Development in Namibia (Republic of Namibia, 2014) in order to guide social welfare provision in Namibia.
Developmental social work
Social and economic equality
Social welfare policy
Mini dissertation (MSW)--University of Pretoria, 2015.