Engagement in international practice and policy development

Imelda Dodds

in Social work and global health inequalities

Published by Policy Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9781847421951
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303541 | DOI:
Engagement in international practice and policy development

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The International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) provides a global framework for formulating, supporting, and disseminating professional standards on social-work ethics and human rights. It can articulate desirable economic- and social-policy directions that are faithful to social work's commitment to redress social and health inequalities. In this chapter, the author reflects on the capacity of social work to contribute to national and international practice and policy development, arising from her time as president of IFSW between 2000 and 2006. First, she outlines the roles that IFSW plays and the structures through which it represents social work in global institutions. Second, the author details some of her first-hand experiences of the globalising trends and forces influencing health inequalities. Finally, she presents a specific example of IFSW contributing to action on health inequalities, action that incorporated the construction of an alliance between residents of a slum in Kenya, some of whom were also social workers; national and international social-work organisations; and UNHABITAT (United Nations Human Settlements Programme).

Keywords: IFSW; social work; ethics; human rights; health inequalities; Kenya; social workers; UNHABITAT

Chapter.  3115 words. 

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