DEPARTMENT ONF SOCIAL WELFARE AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT( SOCIAL WELFARE UNIT)
The Department of Social Welfare works in partnership with people in their communities to improve upon their wellbeing through development with equity for the vulnerable and the excluded.
The Department of Social Welfare is mandated to take the lead role in integrating the disadvantaged, the vulnerable, persons with disability and the excluded into the mainstream of society
WHO WE ARE
The Department of Social Welfare and Community Development, initially known as social welfare was established in 1945 and divided in its mandate over the years and its mandate has been redefined under various ministries. Presently the head office of the DSW is an integral part of ministry of gender children and social protection. Also with the promulgation of LI 1961, the Department of Community Development and the Department of Social Welfare at the local government have now been merged to become a Department of the Assembly with the new name as the Department of Social Welfare and Community Development. The Department is structured into social welfare units and Community Development unit. Which are decentralized Government statutory agencies with the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly with the mandate to assist the Assembly in the formulation and implementation of Social Welfare and Community Development policies within the framework of national policy.
Statutory obligation of Social Welfare unit. The three main operational areas of the department are as follows:
- CHILD RIGHTS, PROMOTION AND PROMOTION PROTECTION
- JUSTICE ADMINISTRATION
- COMMUNITY CARE
- To Provide Community Based and institutional Rehabilitation services for persons with disabilities.
- To Provide Professional Social Welfare Services with In the Metropolis, and to ensure statutory responsibilities of the unit are carried out.
- To Provide Access To Social Services For The Disadvantaged And Marginalized Groups
- To Develop Social Services programs in Collaboration with Communities.
- To Collaborate With The Health Directorate within the Assembly And Other Agencies To Promote Community Care Strategies And Create Awareness On The Prevention And Control Of HIV/Aids
- To Promote Poverty Alleviation and ensure income security amongst The Vulnerable , Marginalized And disadvantaged Groups
WHAT WE DO (ACTIVITIES)
- Some of the activities evolving from these activities include;
- Identification and monitoring of Early Childhood Development Centers
- Facilitate Community Based Rehabilitation of Persons with disabilities Facilitate in the provision of other Community Care Service which include
*Registration of Persons with Disabilities
* Assistance to the Aged
- Facilitate the Registration of NGOs and supervise their activities within the Metropolis
- Case Work With Families
- Child Custody
- Monitoring of reunified children from residential Homes
- Conduct social enquiry report for juvenile and family courts
- Supervision of juvenile offenders
- Acquisition of care orders for children in need of care and protection
- Family Reconciliation
- Prison Aftercare
- Supervision Of Children’s Home
- Medical Social Work Services
- Poverty Alleviation
- Sensitization of communities on emerging tropical issues
DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
Department of Community Development facilitates Social Mobilization and builds capacity of communities in deprived rural and urban settlements to use available resources to improve their living standards within a well-coordinated decentralized system through Mass Education and Home Science Extension Services.
In line with this, the Department collaborates with partners and stakeholders to fulfill this mandate. The mandated programmes of the Department include: Adult Education, Adult Literacy and Literacy Coordination, Home Science Extension Services, Self-Help Development programme as well as Extension Services to non-social service institutions.
Under the Adult Education programme, community members are mobilized and equipped with needed skills to understand and participate in government policies and programmes meant for their development. Mass Meetings and Study Group activities are employed as adult education strategies.
The Mass Meetings are organized in the form of durbars, campaigns, community engagements, radio/television talk shows and one-day schools among others. Whilst in the Study Group meetings, community members are guided to study relevant topical issues and plan to execute them in a self-sustainable manner. Resource persons are sometimes used in these study group meetings to give technical insight to complex issues. The study groups are much more stable, cohesive and enduring as a community group, with legal backing.
HOME SCIENCE EXTENSION PROGRAMME
The Home Science Extension programme (Women’s Work) has been designed to empower women in the rural and deprived urban settlements to promote family wellbeing and reduce family stress and tensions. The women are empowered to know and practice functional family dynamics, good child rearing, family food/nutrition, hygiene/sanitation, improved family life/skills and incomes, etc. The Department also undertakes Home Science Extension Services Programme through Home Visits, Home Education/demonstrations on Food, Childcare, Family care, clothing/batik, home/institutional training, etc either alone or in collaboration with other partners.
SELF-HELP CONSTRUCTION/DEVELOPMENT PROJECT
The Self-Help /Community Initiated Programmes are initiatives of the communities facilitated by the department to meet the essential or ‘‘Felt Needs’’ of a community. This include software and hardware programmes such as the provision of toilets, schools, clinics, bridges, markets, etc. The Mass Education staff supports the communities with the planning and mobilization needs whiles the technical wing of the Department offer the constructional needs to the community.
The projects are undertaken through free communal labour and mass participation under local leadership, supplemented with individual contributions in money, building materials and in kind. However, materials such as cement, stones, sand and iron rods can also be obtained from outside the community to support the project.
The Department organizes Chiefs, Opinion leaders, community groups and entire members of a community to stimulate and arouse their interest to initiate and actively participate in community project implementation and management for a sustainable development.
The Department collaborates with other partners to support the rural people in their development agenda as part of its Extension Service Programme under the following:
The Department is being supported by UNICEF to implement a Community-based Child Protection Facilitation Manual and Toolkits programme with a user-friendly training manual, which details out in a simple, easy to understand manner, the needed knowledge/information and skills required for extension field workers to successfully undertake their work in the communities. This Child Protection Training Manual has been developed as part of the supporting materials for the Child Protection Communication for Social Change Strategy and is therefore intended to be used to train and equip field staff and community groups who facilitate the Child Protection process in communities for them to engage the different target groups in participatory exercises for the needed social change to enhance the community-based child protection processes and make the homes, schools and the community safer and better places for child survival, child development and child protection.
COMMUNITY-LED TOTAL SANITATION
The Department collaborates with the Environmental Health Department (EHD) to monitor communities on the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) programme and also arouse and stimulate their interest towards achieving Open Defaecation Free (ODF) status.
GENDER MAINSTREAMING INTO CLTS
Introduction of this project in communities and households is to involve women to improve CLTS acceleration. This is a process whereby the communities themselves after being sensitized take up their own actions to ensure the effective and sustainable CLTS process in the community. One critical objective of GMS into CLTS is to encourage women and girls to effectively practice CLTS on their own and also ensure that facilities for that are adequately in place at all times.
HANDWASHING WITH SOAP AND USE OF TIPPY-TAPS
One critical objective of HWWS/HHWTS is to encourage people to effectively adopt the practice voluntarily and also ensure that facilities for the practice are adequately in place and functional at all times. To this end, the Department engage community institutions and groups in sensitization and capacity building to take up actions to ensure the effective and sustainable practice of HWWS/HHWTS at all times in the community.
VILLAGE SAVINGS AND LOANS ASSOCIATIONS (VSLA)
RING supports the Department to facilitate the implementation of VSLA project activities in communities with women groups with the view that, large-scale microfinance Institutions (MFIs) that are licensed to mobilize savings struggle to provide products that suit the small capital requirements and irregular incomes of their poorest clients, many of whom may borrow from informal sources to support their repayment obligations. They face a high risk of indebtedness if investments or income sources fail them and, to reduce their risk exposure, may only save the minimum necessary to access loans. Thus, MFIs are best configured to serve growth-oriented entrepreneurs, whose income is diverse and reliable; who work full-time in their businesses and who need access to large pools of capital to satisfy their demand for loans. People of this type are usually economically secure and for the most part live in densely populated areas, served by active markets that are deeply integrated into the national economy, while Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs), based in the community, are complementary to MFIs, tending to serve the very poor whose income is irregular and less reliable and who may not be full-time business people. Their principal need is for services that help them manage their household cash-flow and provide useful lump sums for life-cycle events – which may or may not include income generation. These people are more likely to be economically vulnerable and, for the most part, they live in rural areas that are served only intermittently by local markets, at the periphery of the national economy.
Capacity needs assessment of the department and other partners’ frontline workers portrays a very weak stature to continue implementing the programme, apart from that, inadequate and inconsistent funding for programmes of the department make very slow progress, especially when funding stops coming from development partners. Experience has shown that effective and adequate logistical support to frontline departments’ and also collaboration among partners contributes a lot to the achievement of community development programmes and projects. This is a strategy for making stakeholders and partners to share a common design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the programmes and projects so that they can contribute and benefit equally. However available data in the region, suggests that these departments are inadequately supported and this has resulted in the Region’s slow economic and social development that impedes the realization of the region’s growth and poverty reduction objectives.