Social Workers works on the community level - including community development, grass root organizing, political advocacy and so on. Providing services to communities while providing education and training for social work practice in the communities, is at the core focus point. In order to fulfill a commitment to the community concept, students need a well defined concept individual, group and community practice in order to provide the range and quality of services that are required for social work practice in the 21 st century global community paradigm.
In our times, when we are facing escalating crisis of social justice and sustainability on a global scale. It is the responsibility of the social worker to intervene into the society and help to sustain it. Community development begins in every day lives of local people. This is the initial context of sustainable change founded on the process of empowerment and participation.
According to many field work is the most neglected because the kind of seriousness that should have been given to field work is not given, the quality of work that should have maintained is not maintained.
Each one of them is in the centre depending on the context of the understanding of its importance. They are the parts of the whole and not an absolute phenomenon. Keeping this paradigm in view if we try to understand the structure and function of fieldwork practice we shall be able to gauge its importance and we will be able to assess the incalculable damage engendering because of our negligence.
Talking about a model, we can understand in three dimensions.
1. Regional - the mode of studying each society and the innovation applied varies regionally.
2. Time Dimension - The model should be contemporary.
3. Methodology - which is a conscious planning of the process in which people are involved and also modern technology is reached out to others.
Intervention into a community often includes working amidst a hub of cultural, regional and ideological diversities which is also one of the most challenging tasks of a social worker. The most innovative model of intervention in this case would be the inclusive model where the worker and the community works together to achieve the desirable development. This involves an amalgamation of the professional expertise of the worker and the cultural, regional diversities of the community to result in overall sustainability however not at the cost of the cultural beliefs of the community.
The work here is one of increased participation and awareness. The focus lies on dispensation of the responsibility that was initially on social work students to various levels- in terms of involvement and participation. Firstly to the faculty, secondly to the people of Neelagondanahalli gram panchayat and finally to the government through various governmental and non governmental organizations for sustainability.
The target area is the government policies and in order to spread awareness sensitive issues like religion caste etc should be carefully considered and a line of demarcation should be maintained in order to not to hurt the sentiments of the community.
The strategy applied here was that of a consensual approach. The community people were asked to freely talk about their problems and through consensus the most important needs were identified and worked upon like construction of toilets, building of the village temple, cleaning of the pond and building the check dam for the use of cattle on the hill and finally the free eye check up camp for the villagers. Every implementation was as a result of the demand on the part of the community and no decision was made by the social workers. All that was done was to make the people feel for the needs and the causes that the community was facing. Thus a look at the above example very clearly brings out that the best way of intervening into the community is in fact the inclusive approach where the development is more sustainable since after the intervention the community is knowledgeable about the developmental measures, they themselves being a part of it, and therefore also helping in the process of maintaining the development and creating sustainability.
Eg: On one hand as according to the popular concepts of purity and pollution of the caste system much prevalent in villages. Toilets and sweepers arc treated as a source of pollution and same on the other hand people litter the grounds and ponds instead of using toilets etc. So, through intervention they should be made aware of the fact that what is treated as pollution is in fact very necessary for the upkeep of 'purity' in the field of social work, community work is often contrasted with direct practice in which social workers work directly with individuals solving micro, mezzo and macro level problems. This will also provide support and encouragement for communities to provide these supportive services with in the community context.
Through the field placement experiences the students are able to relate their classroom education to practical applications. It is a practice based learning method. It suggests teaching students to understand appreciate and use research based in the community. It also fulfills the requirements for concentration and offers a unique opportunity to add depth and sophistication to the teaching of group work and to better prepare students for the demands of contemporary professional practice, which requires a great amount of expertise.
The combination represents the social work tradition that along with individual change has always aimed to encompass social action, social change and community development. For the students and to the department the ongoing work at Hosahalli is a major milestone in this process. The students have been prepared to recognize and seize the opportunities in this crisis and to use knowledge, research and practice skills to develop and strengthen community based practice and service models and include greater balance between prevention, development and remediation.
Asst Prof, Deptt of Social work, AIMS Bangalore
Sr. Scale Lecturer, Deptt of Social work, BU
2008-10 Batch Students, Ms, Amrita Mukerjec, Ms, Soumidutta -MSW Students from the Department of Social work, Acharya Institute of Management and Sciences.
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