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Chairperson's Speech

 

1 June, 2016

 

Chairperson of the Georgian Association of Social Workers Address to Member and Colleagues

 

Dear Member and Colleagues,

 

It is honor to be the chairperson of the Georgian Association of Social Workers – an organization to the development of which I have dedicated a huge part of my professional life in collaboration with you! I am privileged to have experience of work with many of you, with other stakeholders. The Association consolidates almost all social workers of our country, therefore it is a vast responsibility for me! 

Within my term I would like to contribute to the development of the association and profession in accordance with the needs and opportunities! Since its establishment, the organization has gained recognition by local and international partners, with your and my predecessors support. These achievement, your activity and  enthusiasm is promising in many respects!

 The main objective of my task is to initiate positive changes in our society, contribute to the development of welfare system transformation based on the human-rights approach. The role of social worker in destroying institutional barriers is huge, however regretfully social work is limited to direct practice in Georgia. This is not enough for the reduction of social problems. It is of paramount importance to support individuals in overcoming their social problems, though it is not enough to eliminate the causes of these problems. 

 We have contributed much in ongoing reforms in the country. The child welfare reform will not achieve such a success without social workers involvement. Neither reform in justice system will be promising without appearance of social workers in the system. However time came when social workers should initiate social policy changes, participate in policy formation, adoption and evaluation. Let’s become change actors and not only policy implementer! 

The years revealed reliable and competent partners ensuring promising future calling for consolidation of resources more effectively. The development brought collaboration with the state and non-state actors, international partners and academia. However, professional development faces challenges. The collaborative format entails loyalty and compromises however not for the expense of professional principles and values. I am certain, that each social worker is well aware who s/he is accountable firstly, regardless the fact is s/he direct practitioner, community worker or works on policy level. To carry out the responsibilities in front of employers is part of performance culture, however not at the expense of victimizing responsibilities in front of the society. If we share this vision, we needs to be more active for the good of our beneficiaries, activate social work service providers network, that has been established by the initiative of the association; also, promote social advocacy, which has been developed within the association and supports beneficiaries  to utilize their rights; we have to strengthen social work research. Despite the fact, that we have implemented several research projects in child welfare and social work domain, more studies have to be conducted by social work research methods, to develop more solid evidences for the formation of effective social policy, fitting the needs and interests of the beneficiaries. 

Social work practice is not balanced neither in terms of professional knowledge nor in various fields or across regions. The methods of work are handful, therefore Social Workers Club will start functioning within the association aiming at supporting our members to become full pledged professionals via informing them about ongoing professional discourse  and events, seeing the profession with the holistic approach within the ongoing social problems.   

I am positive it is possible, as we have good starting position, providing opportunity for building on – acquiring instrument for policy change, more active participation of those whom we serve, more loudly projecting  their voice! This aim requires consolidation od all social actors! 

I am hopeful, because you are behind – professional team, incomparable with its experience and knowledge not only in Georgia but beyond. The profession is famine, though such a strong team of women and network of supporters i have rarely met.  We are hundreds, though people behind us are as many as we serve! Let’s feel this strength, take professional power in our hands and direct it at social welfare! Humble practice is not the best way for professional development of our time! We need to react not only on individual pains but their causes! 

In hope of success,

Nino Shatberashvili

Chairperson of the Georgian Association of Social Workers