African Journal of Social Work

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The value of social sustainability policies to poverty reduction in Zimbabwe: a social work perspective

Cornelius Dudzai


Since the colonial era, poverty has been central to national socio-economic development priorities for Zimbabwe. However, these development priorities could not be sustained largely due to lack of socially sustainable programmes. Such programmes are a social process through which communities are able to meet the diverse needs of existing and future generations by being responsive to their environments and contributing to a high quality of life. While social sustainability is centred on liveability, it is characterised by safe, inclusive, democratic, well-planned and equitable communities. In this light, it is contended that among other issues, poverty in Zimbabwe is a function of lack of social sustainability. As such, social work as a profession that seeks to promote social justice should prioritise social sustainability so as to alleviate the country’s structural ills. This paper demonstrated that the apparent dearth of social sustainability in Zimbabwe is related to poverty and the ways through which social work practice can promote social sustainability were explained. Utilising documentary review, the author demonstrated the extent to which the social sustainability concept could be applied to social work in order to promote pro-poor social development. The paper utilised Zimbabwe’s indigenisation policy as a social sustainability policy.

Keywords: social work; social sustainability; poverty; Zimbabwe

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