Community and sustainability in focus at World Social Work Day 2017

Social Work

Earthwise Community Gardens in the City of Subiaco became the perfect setting for a breakfast on Tuesday 21 March to celebrate World Social Work Day, 2017. The venue was chosen by the hosts, the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) Eco-social Work Practice Group, to highlight the theme of the global celebration: Promoting Community and Environmental Sustainability. This theme relates to the third pillar of the Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development. The AASW, Kind Spaces Consultancy and the social work programs at ECU and Curtin University co-sponsored the event.

Nyungah Elders Mr and Mrs Eatts provided a Welcome to Country ceremony and highlighted the significance of Country to Aboriginal people’s spirituality and identity. Mr and Mrs Eatts powerfully discussed the notion that while European settlers talk of living off the land, Aboriginal peoples understand how we need to live on and with the land. Social workers Glenda Kickett and Paddi Creevey as well as ecologist Judy Fisher, spoke about why ecological justice, caring equally for Country and people, is so important and what social workers can do to contribute towards this. Richard Yin from Doctors for the Environmentencouraged social workers in attendance to work with other professions and communities to achieve the goal of community and environmental sustainability.

Group spokesperson, Dr Sue Bailey from Kind Spaces, couldn’t speak highly enough of Earthwise as a venue for the event. “It worked exactly as we hoped it would”, Dr Bailey said. “Community gardens represent the coming together of respect for the land and human dignity; they are places where people grow, prepare and share food together. Something as simple as this can be the beginning of building a society which is ecologically and socially fair and therefore sustainable.”

The AASW Code of Ethics, which informs the curriculum for the Bachelor of Social Work course at ECU, recognises the interdependent relationship between social systems and the natural environment. In their final year, Bachelor of Social Work students practice their group work and community work skills through involvement in projects which aim to improve community and environmental sustainability, with many of them undertaking projects in on campus or neighbourhood community gardens.

If you’re interested in studying Social Work, visit our Bachelor of Social Work webpage. Here you’ll find information about this and related courses, including videos and galleries about our facilities, our students and our lecturers.