Discourses shaping development, foreign aid, and poverty reduction policies in Africa

Implications for social work

Authored by: Mel Gray , Samuel Bernard Ariong

The Handbook of Social Work and Social Development in Africa

Print publication date:  November  2016
Online publication date:  October  2016

Print ISBN: 9781472468512
eBook ISBN: 9781315557359
Adobe ISBN: 9781317029380


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Much has been made of the move from a welfare to a development paradigm in Africa without any serious interrogation of what this means in relation to the development discourse. Though the focus of this book is social work and social development in Africa, really understanding the meaning of a ‘development paradigm’ – and social work’s role in, and contribution to, social development – requires exploration of the discourses shaping development, foreign aid, and poverty reduction in Africa. Social work more often than not uses a value-driven approach undergirded by human rights and social justice. On the basis of these values, its emancipatory claims are seen as self-justifying: social workers are said to champion the rights of vulnerable and oppressed people and to work toward poverty alleviation without serious consideration of how they do this located in government or nongovernment organisations with various goals and missions. In Africa, international financial institutions (IFIs) and international nongovernment organisations (INGOs) exert a strong influence on national development policy and exactly what the relationship is between development, foreign aid, and poverty alleviation has been a matter of ongoing debate.

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