8 African Countries Make Progress Toward Stronger Social Service Workforces

Eight countries across sub-Saharan Africa have significantly strengthened their social service workforces in the past five years, according to a report released today by the Global Social Service Workforce Alliance.

Social service workers create protective environments for healthy development and well-being among vulnerable populations by alleviating poverty; reducing discrimination; facilitating access to essential services such as HIV/AIDS services; promoting social justice; and preventing and responding to violence, abuse, exploitation, neglect, and family separation.

Yet in many countries, social service workers have been largely under-utilized and under-resourced in advancing health and social development goals.

The report surveys the progress each of the countries—Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe—has made supporting and professionalizing its social service workforce since 2010.

Highlights include:

  • The social service workforce has diversified and expanded in all eight countries.
  • In 2016, fewer countries reported low knowledge and skills of workers as a top challenge.
  • All countries reported increased opportunities for education and training.
  • All countries noted stronger supervision for social service workers.
  • Multiple countries launched national social protection policies.

Today, more than 300 participants of the 3rd Annual Global Social Service Workforce Alliance Symposium are coming together to review findings and prioritize future investments. IntraHealth International serves as the host of the alliance.

View the full report and executive summary here.

The symposium is supported by GHR Foundation and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) with funding from the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The Global Social Service Workforce Alliance’s mission is to promote the knowledge and evidence, resources and tools, and political will and action needed to address key social service workforce challenges, especially within low- to middle-income countries. The alliance acts as a convener to share good practices, advance knowledge, and advocate for workforce improvements to lead to better outcomes for children and families. Today there are 900 members of the alliance in over 80 countries.