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Leaderful communities: How social workers can co-build a sustainable world

A conference session at the IFSW European Conference in Prague aims to take forward the learning from last year’s global summit to inspire professionals across the globe to co-design and co-build new ways of working together within their communities.

19/05/23

Leaderful communities: How social workers can co-build a sustainable world

Social Work Today will join key social work leaders and professionals in the main conference of the International Federation of Social Workers European Conference in Prague next week.

Speaking alongside Ruth Stark, Independent Social Worker and a former Global President of the International Federation of Social Workers (2014-18), and David Grimm, Student Social Worker and expert through experience, Social Work Today Publisher Kellie Doubtfire will discuss learning from last year’s global summit: ‘Co-Building a New Eco-Social World’.

The presentation will share knowledge from professionals from a number of different fields – including social work and health – who have demonstrated in their practice co-building just and ethical environments.

The session is billed as an interactive session where the presenters say attendees will take away energy for creating, co-designing and co-building within their communities new ways of working together, leaving no-one behind.

The People’s Global Summit, ‘Co-Building a New Eco-Social World: Leaving No One Behind’, was an international four-day summit last year which resulted in the publication of The People’s Charter.

The Charter is a ‘living document’ that is still being amended and adapted to meet the needs of a changing society. It summarises the key principles of the summit, including ways professionals can globally contribute to a world that is ecologically sustainable and socially just, comprising the five key values of Buen Vivir (love and care for people and the planet, responsibilities and holistic rights); respect, dignity, harmony and social justice; diversity, belonging, reciprocity and equity; Ubuntu (togetherness, accountability and community); and solidarity, equality, inclusion and collaboration.

“[The People’s Charter] recognises the strength of change rooted with people locally, in leaderful communities,” Ruth Stark said, adding: “It contains actions we can do together to put these principles into practice.

“We will share knowledge from people who have demonstrated in their practice across, health, social work, education, commerce, conflict zones, social protection and in our communities, how we can together co-build peaceful, just, ethical environments.

Stark said these ‘leaderful communities’ – like the ones in neighbourhoods where people get together and people take different responsibilities in helping the community work for everyone – could be the solution in “co-building our sustainable shared futures”.

“They are far removed from hierarchical layers of leaders who concentrate on regulation and administration. The skills of everyone in the community are recognised and brought together are greater than the sum of the parts.

“Our workshop is an opportunity to explore how we can bring our skills and knowledge to our communities so that no-one is left behind.”

The presentation will briefly cover the history of social work and social justice in the Western world, including the creation of IFSW in Paris in 1928, and ask participants to share the history of social work in their own nations.

The presentation will also cover how change happens in the community and how this can challenge inequality, including partnership working and using the skills of recognising mutual interest in change happening.

Kellie Doubtfire said Social Work Today was pleased to be asked to contribute to the IFSW European conference.

“The task of change that stems from the principles laid down by the People’s Charter is constantly being implemented across the globe.

“We will continue with our support and look forward to hearing from many people throughout the conference about their challenges and the changes they are witnessing and contributing to in their communities.”

David Grimm, Student Social Worker and expert through experience will also talk about the charity Who Cares? Scotland and its long-term partnership retailer John Lewis to provide targeted support to children and young people who have experienced care.

“Our understanding is that their commitment to Care Experienced people is long-term and this will continue to grow and develop for years to come, which is really exciting,” David said.

The IFSW European Conference is taking place in Prague from 21 – 25 May, with the theme ‘Against all Odds: A Social Europe is Possible Where Nobody is Left Behind’. More than 500 social workers and related professionals are expected to attend the conference with sessions available both online and in-person.

Find out more about the conference: https://ifsw2023.org/

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