Social Workers Sierra Leone Celebrates Social Work Month  

Emphasizing Diversity in Social Action…


By Abubakarr Harding

Social Workers Sierra Leone held a press conference on March 15th, 2023 at the Ministry of Social Welfare in Freetown, England, to commemorate Social Work Month.

Haji M Kella, the Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, gave the keynote address and proclamation of Social Work Month in Sierra Leone. Kella emphasized that social work is about social justice, ensuring that people receive their rights and have the opportunity to participate and meet their needs. Kella stated that being a social worker is unique because social workers can operate in different fields, such as medicine, law, and education.

Kella highlighted the history of Madam Yoko, the first Paramount Chief to stand against domestic violence and provide shelter and counseling for battered women. Kella asserted that social work started in Sierra Leone but was not written, and therefore, it has not been recognized. Kella explained that events such as the civil war, Ebola, and landslides are examples of situations where social workers helped and provided for the needs of Sierra Leoneans, however, lamenting that those contributions have not been recognized.

Hassan Koroma, the National Coordinator of Social Work Sierra Leone, discussed the importance of social work and the theme for this year’s Social Work Month, “Respecting Diversity through Joint Social Action.” Koroma stated that the organization wants to spotlight social work and improve it for both social workers and their service users. Koroma added that diversity is not embraced in Sierra Leone, especially when it comes to mental health.

“Many people are discriminated against and stigmatized because of their mental illnesses,” he maintained adding that the conference was organized to spread the message that diversity should be celebrated, and people from different backgrounds should work together to help those in need.

UK social worker, Jason Barnes, spoke about the power of social work in building relationships and transforming people’s lives and society. Barnes emphasized the importance of diversity in the UK and how it relates to social work. He explained that diversity is about celebrating and finding value in the differences between people, and social workers need to understand how difference shapes a person’s life experience. Barnes believes that inclusion is crucial because people from all backgrounds should feel valued and included.

Barnes’ upbringing in Northern Ireland, a society scarred by violence and conflict for three decades, informs his practice as a social worker. He believes that embracing diversity can lead to positive changes in society. In Sierra Leone, Barnes said he hopes to learn from people while sharing his experiences with them.


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