African Journal of Social Work https://www.ajol.info/index.php/ajsw <p>The <em>African Journal of Social Work </em>is an international refereed journal that serves as a forum for exchanging ideas and knowledge and discussing issues relevant to social work practice, education and research in the African region. Producing 2 issues a year, the Journal is published by the National Association of Social Workers (Zimbabwe) and is committed to reflecting culturally relevant and appropriate social work practice in Africa. Social work is seen as a broad-based profession that can vary from individual casework to community development and policy-related concerns.</p> <p>African Journal of Social Work (AJSW) content&nbsp;is licensed under a&nbsp;<a title="Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License</a>.</p> National Association of Social Workers, Zimbabwe en-US African Journal of Social Work 1563-3934 The copyright belongs to: National Association of Social Workers Zimbabwe. Social research for transformative social policy making in Africa: what is to be done? https://www.ajol.info/index.php/ajsw/article/view/212539 <p>Social work research and social policy in Africa are grossly subordinated to political and economic imperatives. Discourse and practice of social work research and social policy on the continent hardly challenge political and economic ideologies that perpetuate oppression, exploitation, injustice and the disadvantaged. Social work research and social policy remain reactionary, residual and palliative in approach. To bring this discussion into perspective, this paper considers findings of a study that was conducted in Botswana, which sought to assess the usefulness of social research and enhance the capacity of policy makers to develop evidence-informed policies. A cross-sectional descriptive research design was adopted using in-depth face to face interviews and a total sample of 30 respondents was interviewed. The findings provide new information on public servants’ policy skills and their attitudes to non-government sources of expert evidence and knowledge, and their perceptions of the relevance of scholarly social research. This paper argues that for social work research to meaningfully address social challenges in Africa, it must be grounded in ‘Ubuntu’, structural approach and reappraise its social policy curriculum to give it radical-transformative dimensions. Both the structural approach to social work research and transformative social policy recognize that political, economic and social objectives are inextricably linked and have strong ideological underpinnings.</p> Diraditsile Kabo Diraditsile Alice Mosetsanagape Ontetse Copyright (c) 2021-08-13 2021-08-13 11 3 105 110 Shona traditional religion and sustainable environmental management: An Afrocentric perspective https://www.ajol.info/index.php/ajsw/article/view/212540 <p>Africans are a very religious people and religion permeates almost all facets of their lives from cradle to the grave. Religion is at the centre of African ontologies, cosmologies and African existence. There is no separation between the spiritual and the material in traditional African life. From a traditional African belief system, the ultimate dominion over the whole world is in the hands of God. Most indigenous African religions including the Shona traditional religion have peculiar beliefs and practices that have a bearing on the environment. For example, in Shona traditional religion, certain natural features like trees, rivers, mountains, animals and birds are considered sacred and should be conserved. Popular in Shona traditional religion are Shona taboos (zviera) that have a bearing on sustainable environmental management together with the Ubuntu African philosophy. Certain places are considered dwelling places for mashavi, masvikiro and ancestral spirits hence such places should be conserved. Despite the central role of African traditional beliefs and practices among the lives of indigenous Africans, they have suffered western hegemony mainly due to the infiltration of Christianity. It is the proposition of this paper that Shona traditional religion has some beliefs and practices that encourage sustainable conservation of the environment. Though such beliefs and practices are at times wrongly referred to as paganism and mythology especially in colonial literature, they have in the past helped in conserving the environment for future generations and they have the capacity to do the same in the future if they are preserved.</p> Vincent Mabvurira George Alex Muchinako Elizabeth Ivy Smit Copyright (c) 2021-08-13 2021-08-13 11 3 111 118 Epilepsy Alliance Africa (EAA)’s pan-African model of epilepsy management, education, awareness, advocacy and capacity building https://www.ajol.info/index.php/ajsw/article/view/212541 <p>There are an estimated 10 million people with epilepsy in Africa, meaning that 0.9% or 1 per 1000 people live with epilepsy on the continent. Of these, only about 25% (2.5 million) are on medical treatment, giving a treatment gap of 75% (7.5 million). Out of those 2,5 million who are on medical treatment, we estimate that only about 25% (625 000) have access to medicines and 5% (125 000) have access to specialist treatment. The major reason behind the huge treatment gap is the knowledge gap, which stands at about 70%, meaning only about 30% view epilepsy as a neurological disorder that can be managed medically or surgically. The medication gap and specialist access gap are huge because of financial resources required to buy medicines, consult doctors including specialists and transport. The care of people with epilepsy implies not only the correct diagnosis and treatment, but also the management of its main sociocultural consequences such as misconception of the disease, the persistence of stigma and access to resources. Further, it implies effective management of comorbid conditions such as physical, social, psychopathological, psychiatric, behavioral, and emotional disorders and all the problems which have a profound impact on quality of life. It also implies putting in place effective policies at national and continental level and building stronger organizations, again at both national and continental level. and effective policies. For that, the Epilepsy Alliance Africa (EAA) was created in 2019 in order to accelerate awareness and education; coordinate advocacy; and to strengthen the capacity of organizations in Africa. The EAA has pan-African objectives driven by the need to recognise African knowledges and solutions as the basis for a sustainable solution to the problem of epilepsy. In this article, we provide the background of the EAA, describe its ongoing contribution, discuss the challenges and proffer suggestions to make the alliance model more effective. At the end, roles of social, community and development workers are outlined.</p> Sarah Nekesa Najib Kissani Zineb Jouichat Anouar Kallel Yahya Naji Chantal Kanyabutembo Samuel Chigamba Taurai Kadzviti Copyright (c) 2021-08-13 2021-08-13 11 3 119 125 The bleaching syndrome as melanin vehicle of stillbirths: a dark skin pathology vis-à-vis African and African descent women https://www.ajol.info/index.php/ajsw/article/view/212542 <p>African and African descended women who bleach their skin incur risks to their health, leading to the disruption of organ performance and potentially stillbirths. Corporate executives dedicated to the bleach cream business are confident that the obsession by African and African descended women with light skin will remain profitable. Those who succumb to the bleaching syndrome require the application of bleaching creams to compromise the melanin in their skin. Whether they are commercially manufactured or home-made concoctions, bleaching creams contain pathological toxins. Resolution of the problem will necessitate an alternative to Eurocentric ideals as pertains to women of Africa and African descent, African people in general and all dark-skinned, non-African populations worldwide who suffer the consequences of denigration due to their dark skin. The objective of this paper is to challenge the Eurocentric beauty standards and to examine the dangers of skin bleaching.</p> Ronald E. Hall Copyright (c) 2021-08-13 2021-08-13 11 3 126 131 The feminisation of gender-based violence at an institution of higher learning in South Africa https://www.ajol.info/index.php/ajsw/article/view/212543 <p>Gender-based violence (GBV) has become a devastating phenomenon in society with institutions of high learning founding themselves wanting as this challenge seems to manifest itself in various strands. Its manifestation shows skewed gender dynamics, a condition which points to its feminisation. The aim of this study was to explore the feminisation of GBV in institutions of higher learning. The study used the qualitative research method that was descriptive and explanatory, with a case study as the specific research design. The purposive sampling technique and thematic analysis were employed. Study results showed that perceiving women as weak, cultural background and toxic masculinity, as well as blame shifting, are amongst the factors that contribute to the feminisation of GBV. The study recommends that there is a need for a collective and inclusive fight against GBV and men should be actively involved. Custodians of culture should also play an important role, and women must be socially and economically empowered. The study concludes that institutions of higher learning are a mirror of the society and what transpires within them reflects the wider society hence, the feminisation of GBV in institutions of higher learning must not be taken lightly in the fight against GBV.</p> Nkosiyazi Kanomavara Kanjiri Thanduxolo Nomngcoyiya Copyright (c) 2021-08-13 2021-08-13 11 3 132 138 Influence of corona virus disease (COVID-19) on spiritual well-being and insecurity among Nigerian citizens https://www.ajol.info/index.php/ajsw/article/view/212545 <p>The study investigated the influence of the coronavirus diseases (COVID-19) on spiritual-wellbeing and security among Nigerian citizens. A descriptive research design was adopted. Two hundred and forty-five (245) respondents were conveniently sampled. A self-developed (likert design) and validated questionnaire with reliability coefficient of .52 and .68 was used as data collection instrument. Data was collected with the help of six research assistants. Frequency count and simple percentages were used for the analysis of demographic characteristics while descriptive statistical analysis served as the statistical tool for data analysis. The results revealed that COVID-19 had great influence on spiritual well-being (Weighted mean = 2.92) and insecurity (Weighted mean = 3.09) among Nigerian citizens. The study concluded that COVID-19 significantly influenced the spiritual life of the Nigerian populace. It was also concluded that there was a breakdown of law and order as a result of the prolonged lockdown. COVID-19 caused tremendous human suffering and challenged the most basic foundation of societal well-being. It has affected human personal security. Joint efforts of religious bodies, civil society, the police or military, civil defense organisations and vigilante groups would serve a common purpose of bringing an end to insecurity crisis in Nigeria. Social work’s role is to ensure that all people to have access to competent social protection systems. Social work provides social protection as a tradition of alleviating the impacts of insecurity, poor health, economics and social vulnerability and can help preserve basic standard of living for all. There is need for social workers to be involved with religious groups and institutions to ensure the social, emotional and spiritual wll being of people.</p> I.M. Ojedokun Copyright (c) 2021-08-13 2021-08-13 11 3 139 144 International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) African Social Work Conversation Forum: Sharing social work practice stories and interventions in Africa https://www.ajol.info/index.php/ajsw/article/view/212549 <p>African social workers’ voices and practice stories have largely remained undocumented and untold. The many good works and things that social workers are doing in enhancing lives of citizens, communities and society remains largely unknown and unrecognised. To address the silence, increase visibility of social workers on the African continent and amplify African social workers’ voices, International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) Africa Region introduced African Social Work Conversation Forum, a web-based discussion platform. This short paper reports progress, challenges and future prospects of the African Social Work Conversation Forum. In addition, the documentation is part of the amplification of African voices of social workers on issues affecting Africa as well as the globe on matters related to social work practice. We argue that the African Social Work Conversation Forum is an extension of the indigenisation of social work agenda on the continent.</p> Noel Garikai Muridzo Joachim Cuthbert Mumba Fometu Anstance Fometu Copyright (c) 2021-08-13 2021-08-13 11 3 145 148 Social work in Nepal: challenges and options https://www.ajol.info/index.php/ajsw/article/view/212550 <p>Nepalese social work is still young but slowly developing. Presently, it has many challenges, including relying on western methods and approaches because there is not any existing Nepalese model of social work. Other challenges include lack of adequate training, lack of regulation and guidelines, interference from the government, organisations or donors and lack of integrity and accountability on the part of some ‘social workers’. Not all people working as social workers in the country have training or qualifications in social work. To protect service users, families and communities, the factors that are hindering professionalism should be solved. Accelerating social work training should be one of the solutions, together with professional licensing and regulation. It would be important if social workers advocate for better social work education and practice approaches – this should help identify the basic elements to develop a Nepalese model of social work. Rather than using the western perspectives and concepts, it is necessary to come up with local approaches and practices of social work. Academics, practitioners, government even service users can work inclusively in developing the Nepalese model of social work. If the government recognizes social workers, public financing in the social work sector could improve Getting the profession recognized, publishing adequate literature and making the association of social work strong should be the vision for the social worker in future. This article focuses on the situation of social work in Nepal with particular emphasis on challenges and options.</p> Megh Raj Dangal Diwakar Khanal Ayushma Pyakurel Copyright (c) 2021-08-13 2021-08-13 11 3 149 154 Caregiver experiences and the perceived role of social workers in caring for people with disabilities in South Africa https://www.ajol.info/index.php/ajsw/article/view/212551 <p>Worldwide, research into experiences of caregivers are gradually increasing and their central role in the care of people with disabilities is being acknowledged. Caregivers of persons with disabilities experience a range of problems associated with the caregiving role and requisite support is sparce. Social workers play a crucial role in assisting them navigate the tasks of caregiving. Informed by the Ubuntu lens as an indigenous social work approach, the aim of this qualitative study was to explore the caregiving experiences and the perceived role of social workers in helping them care for the disabled. Semi structured interviews with ten caregivers from a special day care centre in the Eastern Cape, South Africa were conducted. Study findings indicated that caregivers experienced the role as burdensome due to lack of some forms of support such as social, emotional, financial, communal whilst also having an array of unfulfilled training needs.&nbsp; Caregivers of the disabled perceived social workers as instrumental is relieving them of the burden of care and in the provision of adequate support. The implications for social work practice such as establishment and running of support groups in working with the disabled and their caregivers are also depicted as suggested by the findings.</p> Ntandoyenkosi Maphosa Vonia Chiwanza Copyright (c) 2021-08-13 2021-08-13 11 3 155 163