Uganda

  • Profile
    • Population: 45 million people
  • Social Work Education Institutions (SWEIs) (21) 
    • Makerere University, Department of Social Work and Social Administration, Kampala
    • Kampala International University
    • Uganda Christian University, Bishop Barham University College
    • Management Training and Advisory Centre, Kampala
    • Kabale University, Kabale 
    • Kumi University, Kumi
    • Makerere Institute for Social Development, Kampala
    • University of Kisubi, Entebbe
    • Kampala University, Ggaba
  • Organisations and associations of social work
    • National Association of Social Workers of Uganda (NASWU)
  • History of social services and social work
    • Stage of indigenous social services, social welfare and social security: services, welfare and social security were provided by the family, community and monarchies. As Twikirize said “Prior to the formal introduction of the profession, social work functions in Uganda were carried out by family and kinship systems. Individual needs and problems were addressed through the extended family and kinship system that was very strong in the pre-colonial era …The (traditional) chiefs and rulers had the responsibility to organise people and small communities to carry out services of a public nature regardless of kinship or tribe…These systems, in a way, constituted a form of social security. Problems such as family conflicts, orphanhood and child protection were handled within the extended family as well as the community. Children were considered not just to belong to the individual families but a community’s responsibility. Clan and communal sanctions helped to deal with problems that emerged in society. If a couple had marital conflicts, they did not have to go to formal institutions but instead would report to family and clan elders to help resolve the conflicts (p. 136).
    • Stage of colonial state social services and social work: state social services started when urban areas created by the colonists started experiencing social problems in the 1950s. The urban population swelled as a result of rural-urban migration. During this period, the majority of the population used indigenous approaches while state services were limited to white people and a few blacks. There were also services provided by colonial missionaries, some of them having arrived before colonial administrators . Describing this stage Twikirize (2014, p. 137) said “European Christian missionaries and subsequently the colonial administrators introduced services such as education, health and social welfare. The establishment of probation services, children’s homes and adoption services marked the beginning of formal social services. With this also came the concept of individual welfare.” During this stage, training of workers providing social services and welfare was done but “The education and practice essentially served the needs of the colonial government, and the education curriculum and practice roles focusing mainly on individual welfare and correctional services such as the management of juvenile delinquents and addressing the needs of the orphans and the homeless were reflective of the nature of social work in the colonising country (Twikirize, 2014, p. 137).
    • Stage of expanded state social services: with the achievement of independence from United Kingdom in 1962, the new African government expanded social services to the majority black people but indigenous services provided by the family and community remained functional. The Makerere University started social work training in 1969. Training institutions offering a diploma or degree qualification in Social work and Social Administration increased during this stage.
    • Stage of decolonised and developmental services: this stage can be said to be developing. The focus is on offering social work services that resonate with the indigenous approaches provided by the family and community.

Further reading: Janestic M. Twikirize, J. M. (2014) Social Work Education and Practice in Uganda: A Historical Perspective Professional Social Work East p. 136-148 in Africa Towards Social Development, Poverty Reduction and Gender Equality. Edited by Helmut Spitzer Janestic M. Twikirize and Gidraph G. Wairire. Kampala, Fountain.


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