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Social Work Series Editor: Richard Hugman

Sarah Todd Julie L. Drolet   Editors

Community Practice and Social Development in Social Work

Social Work Series Editor Richard Hugman School of Social Sciences University of New South Wales Sydney, NSW, Australia

The MRW in Social Work enables social work practitioners, policy makers, and academics across the world to access in-depth, authoritative literature and cuttingedge research into professional practice, ethics, practice-based research methods, and policy in the field. Grounding practice and policy in systematic theories and principles, it covers all specialties in the field including children and families, older adults, people with disabilities, mental health, domestic and gendered violence, intercultural practice, sexuality, international social work, and community development. Drawing on a strong scientific basis, it offers reviews and analyses of key social issues, policy frameworks, and practice methods, including counseling, casework, family therapy, group work, community work, community development, social development, and social policy practice. More information about this series at http://www.springer.com/series/15559

Sarah Todd • Julie L. Drolet Editors

Community Practice and Social Development in Social Work With 7 Figures and 2 Tables

Editors Sarah Todd School of Social Work Carleton University Ottawa, ON, Canada

Julie L. Drolet Faculty of Social Work University of Calgary Edmonton, AB, Canada

ISBN 978-981-13-6968-1 ISBN 978-981-13-6969-8 (eBook) ISBN 978-981-13-6970-4 (print and electronic bundle) https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-6969-8 © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are reserved by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors, and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. This Springer imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. The registered company address is: 152 Beach Road, #21-01/04 Gateway East, Singapore 189721, Singapore

Series Preface

Professional social work now exists in over 90 countries. From its early origins in the later part of the nineteenth century, it has sought to develop a strong scientific basis, grounding practice and policy in systematic theories and principles. Today, as social work grows in all parts of the world, its body of knowledge about social issues, practices to address these, and relevant policy frameworks is expanding rapidly. Consequently, keeping up-to-date on such knowledge is increasingly challenging for practitioners, policy makers, and academics in the field. This series makes researchbased knowledge available for everyone who has an interest in maintaining their grasp of the discipline by bringing together leading social work scholars, practitioners, and policy makers to examine contemporary evidence on various aspects of the field. In this way, it provides an authoritative range of voices from which everyone in the profession may gain a deeper understanding grounded in evidence. As it has expanded, social work has developed many areas of specialty, each of which now has its own body of knowledge that constitutes a subfield of the profession as a whole. The Major Research Works in Social Work series addresses the need for up-to-date, authoritative, extensive reviews and analyses of knowledge in a range of areas of social work. Edited by significant contributors in each aspect of specialty, these volumes offer in-depth discussion of the specific practices and issues of policy and the organization of relevant services. By taking this approach, it is possible to ensure appropriate coverage of the range of specialties and also at the same time to provide sufficient depth of analysis and discussion of key ideas. As a profession, social work can be understood in a number of ways. First, there are fields of practice. These include children and families, older adults, mental health, people with disabilities, domestic and gendered violence, intercultural practice, sexuality, and international social work. Second, methods of practice also define areas of knowledge in social work. These include counseling, casework and case management, family therapy, group work, community work and community development, social development, and social policy practice. Third, there are overarching issues that contribute to social work knowledge and theory, including professional ethics, practice-based research methods, and policy studies. These are examples indicative of the range, rather than forming a definitive list, and point to the way in which a series may enable both breadth and depth to be addressed. At the same time they point to the extensive coverage that is relevant to the broad social work field. v

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Series Preface

Although much of the tradition of social work research and analysis came originally from those countries that experienced early industrialization (the “global North”), given the worldwide growth of social work the editorial approach for this series also aims to be global in its focus. Volume editors and contributors are drawn purposefully from around the world and they in turn are expected to take a worldwide view of ensuring that the current evidence and analysis is presented. This series was developed by selecting major themes across fields of practice, methods of practice, and overarching issues. Future titles will be added to the initial five areas, community practice, mental health, family and gendered conflict and violence, children and families, and social work theory and ethics reflecting the breadth of the social work profession. At the same time, because Springer Major Research Works are “living” publications, able to be updated, the continuing development of the profession will be reflected in analysis and discussion that grows with the field through publication of revised chapters as further evidence and analysis becomes available. As Editor-in-Chief, I acknowledge the commitment and insights of the editors to each specific volume. Their expertise and hard work enable this series to pursue its overall goal. In this volume Sarah Todd and Julie Drolet have brought together leading researchers, educators, and practitioners in community practice and social development to create an insightful and challenging view of this dimension of social work. I also thank our Publishing Editor at Springer Nature, Mokshika Gaur, for her vision, enthusiasm, and support, as well as other colleagues at Springer Nature who have assisted the process of creating these volumes. Professor of Social Work University of New South Wales, Australia Series Editor, Springer Nature Major Research Works Social Work Series

Richard Hugman Ph.D.

Volume Preface

This volume, focusing on community practices and social development, is part of a much larger Springer’s Major Research Works series on social work. This series brings together the best in the field of research and evidence-based analysis of the state of the art and science in social work. It provides an opportunity for those of us in the discipline to showcase the multiple ways our research has real-world implications for individuals, families, communities, the design of social policy, and delivery of social programs. It is intended to provide in-depth discussion on these implications and how they shape social work practices in localized settings from around the globe. There is no singular social work way of knowing or intervening in the world. Social work knowledge and action is highly situated, connected by ever-evolving processes of caring for the dignity of individuals, respecting human connections, and understanding that these elements shape and are shaped by broader policies and overarching social, political, and economic relations. The vast and varied knowledge and practices that constitute social work are the discipline’s and profession’s strength, even when they appear as vulnerabilities at a historical moment that valorizes the easily categorized and contained. The richness and diversity of social work’s project to further social, economic, environmental, and political justice is exactly what is required for the complexity of the task at hand. It is the discipline’s ability to draw on interdisciplinary ways of knowing and to rework them for the context in which people live, which opens up the possibilities for resistance to the varied structures of inequality that persist. In this volume, our focus is on community practices and social development as a key set of practices within the much broader discipline of social work. They are practices that are central to the core of the profession itself. At its core, social work is committed to promoting social and economic equality, strengthening the dignity and worth of people and their human relationships, and working towards environmental sustainability. These commitments are foregrounded in social development and community practices. It is their complexity, a balance of the personal, interpersonal, and the political, that distinguishes social work as a scholarly discipline and a professional practice. Social development and community practices are central frameworks and tools through which the core values of social work are operationalized in the world. vii

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Volume Preface

As the editors of this volume we bring a passionate belief in the potential of community-based interventions for supporting human well-being alongside broader struggles for social justice. Within this collection, community is not static, but takes the form most relevant to the people and places in which the authors live and work. It is also a contested space, where relations of indigeneity, gender, sex, culture, ethnicity, sexuality, race, disability, and age are deeply structural and personal, experienced through a web of power imbalances. So, the commitment to community-based change must always be attentive to the local and regional power imbalances that our work has equal potential to disrupt or maintain. It is our critical awareness and reflective practice that increases the possibility of disruption and transformation. And it is this reflection that is evident in the contributions to this volume. This collection is the result of contributions from scholars around the world who take up community practice and social development from a range of standpoints and, at times, considering practices on the ground, at other times, more focused on the ways we make sense of this work from a distance. As a whole, they provide a textured understanding of the complex ways in which community-based interventions provide opportunities to shift communities and societies towards greater interpersonal and structural justice. In so doing, the contributions provide insight into how the profession of social work operationalizes its commitment to social, economic, and environmental justice and the roles that social workers take on in different settings of transformation. The authors address many of the most pressing issues of our time: disasters, environmental sustainability, migration, maternal health, and decolonization. They explore what social workers are doing and what they might continue to do to join with people at local levels to ensure greater justice. The authors articulate their ideas for change in a manner that is culturally translatable. They put these ideas in this volume not only to share possibilities for implementation but also for the ideas themselves to be changed and made relevant to other contexts. This volume is not meant to be a comprehensive review of all community practices and social development around the world. There is more work left untold in this collection than there is research highlighted. However, the range and scope of perspectives in this volume, the ways in which chapters lead the reader from continent to continent, often exploring related social transformations from different perspectives, is its distinguishing feature. Each chapter illustrates a local example of how community practices are used to negotiate a specific transformation and put this in the context of how we have come to understand social development as well aligned with social work priorities of attending to people in their environments with an understanding of how those environments are largely determined by extra-local relations of power and inequality. The practices explored in this volume attend to communities and the broad social and political relations that shape people’s lives. In doing so, the collection sketches a social work agenda that is translatable to the local of needs of people facing the enduring challenges of our time. As a whole, they map the possibility for how social

Volume Preface

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work can walk with people experiencing challenging transformations and how we do so in a manner that helps us imagine and realize a new, more just world. Ottawa, ON, Canada Edmonton, AB, Canada May 2020

Sarah Todd Julie L. Drolet

Contents

Part I 1

Introduction and Defining the Field . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sarah Todd and Julie L. Drolet

3

Part II

Community Practices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

17

2

Engaging Youth in Research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Uzo Anucha, Sinthu Srikanthan, and Rebecca Houwer

19

3

Asset-Based and Place-Based Community Development . . . . . . . . Linda Kreitzer, Anne Harvey, and Jesse Orjasaeter

41

4

Community Practice in a Context of Precarious Immigration Status . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jill Hanley, Jaime Lenet, and Sigalit Gal

61

Wise Indigenous Community Development Principles and Practices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Shelly Johnson, Ron Rice, and Jennifer Chuckry

81

Community Traditional Birth Attendants and Cultural Birthing Practices in Nigeria . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Augusta Y. Olaore, Nkiruka Rita Ezeokoli, and Vickie B. Ogunlade

107

5

6

Part III

Social Development Theory and Practice . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

7

Social Protection and Social Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . James Midgley

8

From Development to Poverty Alleviation and the Not-So-Sustainable Sustainable Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mel Gray

9

Social Work and Environmental Advocacy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Margaret Alston

127 129

149 171 xi

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Contents

10

Community Development in Greening the Cities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lena Dominelli

189

11

Disaster Response Through Community Practice Robin L. Ersing

.............

203

12

Anti-oppressive Community Work Practice and the Decolonization Debate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dorothee Hölscher and Sarah Chiumbu

223

Part IV

International Comparative Perspectives

..............

243

13

Revisiting Social Work with Older People in Chinese Contexts from a Community Development Lens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 245 Daniel W. L. Lai and Yongxin Ruan

14

Community Development Approaches, Activities, and Issues . . . . Manohar Pawar

263

15

Community Practice and Social Development in Botswana . . . . . . Rodreck Mupedziswa and Kefentse Kubanga

281

16

Critical Community Engagement Across Borders: Canada and Nicaragua . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mirna E. Carranza, María Isolda Jiménez Peralta, Luz Angelina López Herrera, and Martha Miuriel Suárez Soza

17

Social Change and Social Work in Mongolia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bayartsetseg Terbish and Margot Rawsthorne

301

323

Part V Politics and Policy in Community Practice and Social Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

343

18

Community Development, Policy Change, and Austerity in Ireland Catherine Forde

345

19

Community Practice and Social Development in a Global World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Deborah Lynch

20

Environmental Injustices Faced by Resettled Refugees . . . . . . . . . Meredith C. F. Powers and Christian Zik Nsonwu

21

“Seeing Everyone Do More Than Society Would Expect Them”: Social Development, Austerity, and Unstable Resources in South African Community Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Donna Baines and Innocentia Kgaphola

22

Building Disaster-Resilient Communities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bala Raju Nikku

363 385

401 421

Contents

23

Social Protection and Social Development in Swaziland Clement N. Dlamini

Part VI 24

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........

Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

435

455

Community Practice and Social Development Themes and Implications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Julie L. Drolet and Sarah Todd

457

Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

473

About the Series Editor

Prof. Richard Hugman was a social work practitioner in the UK for approximately 10 years, during which time he also completed his Ph.D. at Lancaster University. He has since held academic positions at Lancaster University (UK), Edith Cowan University, and Curtin University (both Western Australia) and is now Professor of Social Work at University of New South Wales, Australia. Richard has published widely in the field, including nine monographs covering various aspects of professional social work, such as Power in Caring Professions (Macmillan, 1991), New Approaches in Ethics for the Caring Professions (Palgrave, 2005), Social Development in Social Work (Routledge, 2016), and most recently Virtue Ethics in Social Work: Towards Virtuous Practice (with Manohar Pawar, Bill Anscombe, Amelia Wheeler and Andrew Alexandra) (Routledge, 2020). Richard has been editor of British Journal of Social Work (1992–1995) and Australian Journal of Social Issues (1995–2000) as well as four edited books. Since 2004 he has been a consultant to UNICEF Vietnam and was ethics commissioner of the International Federation of Social Workers (2008– 2014). Richard continues to be engaged in various aspects of social development practice.

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About the Editors

Sarah Todd is professor and director at the Carleton School of Social Work in Ottawa, Ontario. Her research is in the area of community practice and social work education, and her most recent publication is an edited collection, Canadian Perspectives on Community Development. Prof. Sarah is currently leading a research project on uncertainty in social work practice and is a 3M teaching fellow. She teaches in the area of social work practice and critical theory.

Julie L. Drolet is professor in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary in Canada. Her research focuses on climate change adaptation and disaster recovery, immigrant settlement and integration, community resilience, social protection, and social work field education. Prof. Julie is Project Director of a major partnership titled Transforming the Field Education Landscape. In 2019, she joined the Royal Society of Canada as a new member of the College of Scholars, Artists, and Scientists. Prof. Julie is a registered social worker with the Alberta College of Social Workers (ACSW). She teaches in the field of international social work, social work research, and field education.

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Contributors

Margaret Alston University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW, Australia Uzo Anucha York University, Toronto, ON, Canada Donna Baines School of Social Work, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada Mirna E. Carranza School of Social Work, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada Sarah Chiumbu University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa Jennifer Chuckry Surrounded By Cedar Child and Family Services, Victoria, BC, Canada Clement N. Dlamini Department of Sociology and Social Work, University of Eswatini (UNESWA), Kwaluseni, Eswatini Lena Dominelli Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland Julie L. Drolet Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary, Edmonton, AB, Canada Robin L. Ersing School of Public Affairs, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA Nkiruka Rita Ezeokoli Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Nigeria Catherine Forde School of Applied Social Studies, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland Sigalit Gal McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada Mel Gray University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW, Australia Jill Hanley School of Social Work, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada Anne Harvey Urban Form and Corporate Strategic Development, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada xix

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Contributors

Luz Angelina López Herrera Facultad Regional Multidisciplinaria Estelí [Regional Multidisciplinary Faculty-Estelí] (FAREM-Managua), Esteli, Nicaragua Dorothee Hölscher School of Human Services and Social Work, Griffith University, Logan, QLD, Australia Department of Social Work, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa Rebecca Houwer York University, Toronto, ON, Canada Shelly Johnson Indigenizing Higher Education, Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, BC, Canada Innocentia Kgaphola University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa Linda Kreitzer Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Kefentse Kubanga Department of Social Work, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana Daniel W. L. Lai Department of Applied Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China Jaime Lenet McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada Deborah Lynch School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Brisbane, QLD, Australia James Midgley University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA Rodreck Mupedziswa Department of Social Work, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana Bala Raju Nikku School of Social Work and Human Service, Faculty of Education and Social Work, Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, BC, Canada Christian Zik Nsonwu London, UK Vickie B. Ogunlade Spelman College, Atlanta, USA Augusta Y. Olaore Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Nigeria Jesse Orjasaeter Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Manohar Pawar School of Humanities, International Consortium for Social Development, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia María Isolda Jiménez Peralta Facultad Regional Multidisciplinaria Estelí [Regional Multidisciplinary Faculty-Estelí] (FAREM-Managua), Esteli, Nicaragua Luz Angelina López Herrera has retired.

Contributors

xxi

Meredith C. F. Powers Social Work Department, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC, USA Margot Rawsthorne School of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia Ron Rice Victoria Native Friendship Centre, Victoria, BC, Canada Yongxin Ruan Department of Applied Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China Martha Miuriel Suárez Soza Facultad Regional Multidisciplinaria Estelí [Regional Multidisciplinary Faculty-Estelí] (FAREM-Managua), Esteli, Nicaragua Sinthu Srikanthan York University, Toronto, ON, Canada Bayartsetseg Terbish Department of Sociology and Social Work, National University of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia Sarah Todd School of Social Work, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Part I Introduction and Defining the Field

1

Introduction The Role of Community Practices and Social Development in the Field of Social Work Sarah Todd and Julie L. Drolet

Contents Introduction: Defining the Field of Social Work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Outline of the Chapters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Community Practices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Social Development Theory and Practice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . International Comparative Practices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Politics and Policy in Community Practice and Social Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Conclusion: A Conversation on Social Transformation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

4 7 8 9 11 12 14 15

Abstract

This introduction defines community practices and social development within the field of social work, articulating how macro practices fit within the scholarly discipline and professional practice of social work. It describes the central role macro level practices have in creating possibilities for social transformation thereby situating the contributions to the collection in conversation with each other. This begins with an overview of those chapters in the first section of the volume, exploring a wide range of community practices. This conversation is further elaborated by those contributions in the second section of the volume that situate community practices within social development theory and practice. Once this foundation is created, the introduction introduces those chapters that focus on

S. Todd (*) School of Social Work, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada e-mail: [email protected] J. L. Drolet Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary, Edmonton, AB, Canada e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 S. Todd, J. L. Drolet (eds.), Community Practice and Social Development in Social Work, Social Work, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-6969-8_23

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S. Todd and J. L. Drolet

international comparative practices and finally those contributions that explore the politics and policy in community practice and social development. Throughout the introduction, the contributions from varied theoretical and regional contexts reframe human well-being in a manner that foregrounds the social through collective practices that balance the dignity of individuals, the importance of the interpersonal and the fundamental role that social, political, and economic relations have in shaping the field. Keywords

Social work · Community practices · Social development · Community · Transformation

Introduction: Defining the Field of Social Work This volume explores the art and science of community practice and social development in the field of social work. As a profession that is centrally concerned with the repair and transformation of inequality to enhance people’s well-being, social work in its many variations has had, and continues to sustain, a commitment to social development and community practices (Forde and Lynch 2015; Nikku and Pulla 2014). The goal of social development is to establish processes of “planned social change designed to promote the well-being of the population’s whole in conjunction with a dynamic process of economic development” (Midgley 1995, p. 25), which aligns with structural approaches to social work and their focus on challenging relations of inequality (Mullaly 2002; Lundy 2004). At the same time, social development also engages with the limits of these approaches, particularly the concern that social work that focuses on structures tends to do so at the level of the political, which can obscure the reality that improvements in economics and politics do not always result in material improvements in people’s lives (Hugman 2016). By pushing macro-focused social work to attend to the social networks and interpersonal connections that shape people’s lives, social development frameworks challenge the many ways in which social work in the Global North has centered micro approaches that often fail to respond to the material realities that shape individual well-being. In this way, the social development approach to social welfare provides a bridge between direct practice and structural approaches to social work, serving as a reminder that people’s struggles are mediated through the social connections of their lives (Hugman 2016). People’s well-being is a constellation of psychology, social context, material realities, and the economic and political relations that underpin these. It has been evident for some time that social work could be enhanced by nuanced and interconnected frameworks to support the profession in improving well-being. Social development frameworks captures that complexity by holding together the equal importance of the economic and social at both micro and macro levels.

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Introduction

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The literature defining social development is vast and diverse. Social development frameworks are interdisciplinary in nature and continue to evolve as disciplines grapple with global shifts and disciplinary challenges (Elliot 1993; Heinonen and Drolet 2012; Midgley 1995, 2014). Aiming for a cohesive definition of social development, Midgley (2014) articulates several key elements: it invokes a notion of process; it is progressive in terms of involving steady improvement of social conditions; it is a multifaceted process that attends to “economic, social, political, cultural, environmental, gender and other dimensions which are integrated and harmonized” (p. 14); it is interventionist in the sense of being driven by people through programs, policies, and plans; it produces social investments; and it is universalist rather than residual, focusing on the well-being of all people, not solely the “needy.” While the multifaceted nature of social development evades easy definition, this is precisely what makes the framework so useful for social work. In this collection, authors explore how social work engages with social development and community practices, and the connections and variations of community practices from across the Globe. While social development and community development have a great deal of overlap in these contexts, they are distinct from one another, with social development offering an overarching framework for understanding and focusing social justice work in which community practices are one set of tools that are used to achieve the goals of social development (Hugman 2016). This framework as operationalized through, for example, The Agenda for Social Work and Social Development offers opportunities for social work to make regional and national linkages that can ensure that the profession has a global impact (Jones and Truell 2012). Those promoting social development as necessary for social work argue that “social gains need to accompany material growth and must have equal priority” (Hugman 2016, p. 5) and that the profession must be able to “work with economic, political and technological areas of social life, while bringing to such issues the knowledge, skills and values that are distinctive to all types of social work” (Hugman 2016, p. 2). This collection illustrates the many ways in which social development and community practice occur in social work research and practice, and how this work impacts communities. The common elements of the contributions to this collection highlight our profession’s efforts to attend to the notion of community as a network of interpersonal relations that mediate our individual challenges and the structural relations that so deeply determine the shape of our lives. No matter where the contributors focus their gaze at the local level, their work remains focused on how the profession can decrease community vulnerability to natural and human-made threats to security. These efforts have significant resonance across the globe. The social development that is explored in this text evolves out of decades of work to ensure that social work maintains a core focus on the needs of people living in poverty, while developing strategies for working collectively and collaboratively to support communities to create the change they see as necessary to improving the conditions of their lives. It is grounded in a human rights approach to empowerment, equality, equity, participation, environmental sustainability, and accountability (Heinonen and Drolet 2012). As social work is increasingly a global profession, more and more of our

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work focuses on supporting those who grapple with transitions and tensions between multiple regional realities. This requires that the profession does not reduce this work to solely an issue of cross-cultural practice. In that vein, this collection makes visible how our profession’s community-based interventions attend to specific historical, economic, environmental, racial, and political realities and are sensitive to how broad social forces reshape the local. Despite significant interconnection, the relationship between social work and social development has not always been easy. While the profession is committed to social justice and, more recently, Indigenization, in the Global North social work has been centrally organized around white, middle class ideas of what a helping profession should look like (Occhiuto and Rowlands 2019; Todd 2005, 2011). Within this overdetermined frame, there is significant tension between how much of the work is focused on individual interventions and where it is valuable to incorporate and center more grassroots approaches to social problems. In some regions in the Global North such as Canada and Australia and in countries of the Global South, social work has always been constituted, to some degree or another, through both collective and individualistic approaches to repair (Mendes 2008). However, even in these spaces in the Global North, the collective approaches tend to inhabit the perimeters of professional associations and regulatory bodies. In other regions such as the UK, mainstream social work understands itself as focusing on the individual with other professions carrying out community development (Webb 2017). In the Global North, alternative ways of knowing and conceptualizing social work, while ever present, have tended to stay at the margins, creating on-going debates about the nature of the profession and its priorities and future directions (Elliot 1993; Lundy 2004; Mullaly 2002; Wehbi and Parada 2017). In some countries such as Canada, the push for evidence-based practice has meant a further centering of individualized approaches and shifting the conversation regarding the effectiveness of our work closer to what can be easily observed and measured within the timeframes of mid-sized research projects. It is within this kind of discussion that collections such as this, outlining the state of the field in a global context over longer periods of transition, are important for the continuing visibility of socially focused interventions and what they offer towards the profession’s goal to improve well-being. Community practices are important mechanisms of achieving social development (Midgley 2014) and have a central role in the history and present day practices of social work (Forde and Lynch 2015). In the Global North, the profession of social work has been significantly shaped by the histories of the settlement house movement in which middle class people (and particularly white women) reimagined “helping” in terms of working to enhance the capacity of communities while also agitating to change the social and economic policies that inhibited community wellbeing (Stebner 1997). Contemporary community practice in social work within the Global North also draws heavily upon radical nonprofessional struggles for social change, ranging from the civil rights and anti-racism activism (Bartoli 2013; BhattiSinclair 2011; Finn 2016) to Indigenous activism (Lee 2011; Sinclair et al. 2009) and the work of social activists such as Saul Alinksy (1971). While the revolutionary aspects of these social movements have been difficult to incorporate into the

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profession, their values and strategies have significantly shaped how the profession in the Global North perceives itself and, at times, have also shaped its practices. Social development has not always been at the center of the profession in the Global North, but there is a contemporary turn to community (Kelly and Caputo 2011; Preston and Aslett 2017) that, while not without some dangers, offers promising opportunities for Global conceptions of the profession. What social development offers is a framework for shaping how we can navigate the turn to improve well-being rather than solely creating efficiencies for the neoliberal state. In much of the Global South where state structures have often struggled to meet people’s needs, community practices are central to any project for achieving well-being. This now offers possibilities for the Global North where the contemporary neoliberal state has retreated from many of its responsibilities to its citizens: community-based practices or the third sector has come to fill that space (Kelly and Caputo 2011). Community practices provide a set of tools to address social conditions that, for better or worse, have little reliance on professionals or governments, instead encouraging a degree of self-reliance at the local level (Kretzman and McNight 1993). In this way, community practices can achieve multiple and often contradictory political ends, which is why the call to situate these within a framework of social development is of such importance, offering central goals towards which community practices can aim. Neoliberalism and specifically austerity measures present particular challenges for community practices, which are evident throughout this collection (see, for example, Dominelli, Forde, and Baines in this collection). The turn back towards community in the West may help to align social work more closely with its community roots, but the neoliberal investment in community is fraught and poses a threat to the human rights frameworks that underlay the expansion of the welfare state. This is one of the spaces in which the social development framework as a means to contextualize and situate the community practices used in social work is so helpful. The turn to community in the Global North and increasingly around the Globe has both opened and narrowed the opportunity for social work practices to facilitate social development goals. While the refocus on the social has brought marginal elements of the profession back into the mainstream, community practices hold both social justice possibilities and surveillance, regulation and a reorientation of communities towards state withdrawal from the responsibility of meeting citizen’s needs (Kelly and Caputo 2011; Sukarieh and Tannock 2016; Todd 2011). A social development framework is one means through which the profession can unsettle this trend so as to cohere our community work into a framework that more cohesively imagines how interventions in the social are able to decrease vulnerability and increase security for all communities.

Outline of the Chapters This collection is organized under four themes weaving together social development, social work, and community practice: community practices, social development theory and practice, international comparative practices, and politics and policy in

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community practice and social development. They work together to provide a picture of the challenges and possibilities that are happening around the world as social work engages with social development and operationalizes it through community practice. As a collection, the chapters map the ways in which the profession is navigating and disrupting the neoliberal environment by striving towards social development goals, even when these ways are sometimes on the fringes of our profession and our societies.

Community Practices The first section of the collection focuses specifically on community practices, with authors working to deepen our understanding of the range of community practices that can be used to achieve social development goals. The first chapter, by Uzo Anucha, Sinthu Srikanthan, and Rebecca Houwer explores the possibilities for community-engaged research as a means for engaging and creating change with urban youth. The authors’ argue that while CER has many benefits, there are still significant barriers to the meaningful engagement of youth in research, including the location of research in the academy and the ways in which adults control research agendas and often do not provide youth with the adequate support, flexibility, and freedom to sustain their involvement. Like in the later contribution from Shelly Johnson that explores Indigenous leadership in education as a means to strengthen communities who have faced systemic violence, Anucha and Sinthu work to expand and deepen our understanding of the breadth of community practices we can use to meet social development goals. Linda Kreitzer, Anne Harvey, and Jesse Orjasaeter’s chapter takes a close look at the Abundant Community project in Edmonton, Canada. They discuss the impact of asset-based community development when integrated with place-based practices on enhancing social cohesion in neighborhoods experiencing high levels of poverty, racism, and transition. The authors explore this project as means through which social workers can use community practices to decrease the social isolation found in many urban communities that are also struggling with the effects of poverty. Like many chapters within this collection, the authors describe their projects as an alternative to mainstream social work interventions and show how an approach to mobilizing and strengthening urban communities can also have an impact on individual well-being and mental health. Jill Hanley and Jaime Lenet focus on the contemporary Western government obsession with border enforcement and migration management. This context reshapes community practice with vulnerable communities of people who live with the constant threat of criminalization and deportation. The authors argue that rather than suggesting these communities are too difficult or vulnerable to organize, they draw on their own research to argue for specific strategies that are helpful in supporting these communities to enhance their power and minimize immigration risks.

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Shelly Johnson’s chapter explores the success of Indigenous communities in Canada who are leading a community-based approach to fostering positive Indigenous families’ engagement in mainstream education systems (that have a very strained relationship with Indigenous peoples in Canada). ▶ Chapter 5, “Wise Indigenous Community Development Principles and Practices,” highlights the key ways in which community practices can be used to support a range of social development goals including education for Indigenous peoples and the chapter outlines five Indigenous organizing principles that have guided the project to support Indigenous communities in healing from Canada’s genocidal educational policies and practices and to create a new positive educational story. In the final chapter of this section, Augusta Olaore and Rita Ezeokoli ask us to broaden our traditional notions of community practice to look at the roles of traditional birthing attendants in Nigeria. The authors explore the challenge that evolves from women having both a deep trust in traditional healers and limited access to Western medicine. Many women tend to use traditional healers even though there is greater risk to themselves and their babies. There is, however, a lot to value in the relational and spiritual practices of the traditional healers. Olaore and Ezeokoli’s chapter explores the ways in which community-based interventions can help mediate between Western-based models of health and those that are locally valued so as to improve women’s health as an entry point for enhancing community capacity and gender equality. Olaore and Ezeokoli see a key role for social workers in helping to maintain respect for Indigenous ways of knowing about pregnancy and birthing so as to build respectful collaborations between those who provide Western-based health services and traditional birthing assistants in Nigeria.

Social Development Theory and Practice The contributions in this section articulate the breadth of social development and examine the community practices being deployed around the world to invigorate the social development framework. The section begins with James Midgley’s reflection on the importance of increasing integration of social protection goals within social development work. Midgley’s chapter explores the ways in which this integration could be further enhanced by improving social protection’s administrative efficiency, financing, coverage, and integration with national development goals. This chapter provides important conceptual rethinking that speaks to the challenges that Clement Dlamini, in a later chapter, articulates in terms of social protection and social development in Eswatini particularly in the context to how the country has navigated the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Dlamini argues that the current measures to address the pandemic and resulting number of child-led families could be significantly strengthened by approaching the issue using a people-centered approach. For Dlamini, a people-centered approach to development relies heavily on the community’s understanding of the problem and their vision and capacity to address these challenges in a sustainable manner. The discussion on social protection is then followed by three chapters each taking a unique approach to how social work needs to recognize environmental

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sustainability as central to people’s well-being. Mel Gray argues for the integration of environmental sustainability in the social development framework because of its centrality to the work of alleviating poverty, and puts this in conversation with the profession of social work whose commitment to social justice often trumps a commitment to environmental sustainability. Gray’s chapter provides a map from the evolving UNs Millennial Development Goals that were focused on alleviating poverty to the Sustainable Development Goals that have a growing emphasis on sustainability. Gray challenges the profession to find more ways to talk about the range of work that we do, and to attend to the growing voices within social work that articulate how to integrate a vision of environmental sustainability into professional frameworks. Gray builds upon our increasing understanding of the interdependence between human behavior and the environment, and challenges the profession to engage more deeply with the ideas of regeneration, renewal, and thriving as means to moving forward with this agenda. Margaret Alston’s chapter builds upon Gray’s conceptual mapping to argue for a full integration of environmental advocacy with social work, given the impact that environmental disasters have on people and the places that they live. Alston explores how social work’s tension-filled relationship with the neoliberal state is one of the chief barriers to this integration and discusses how the profession might move forward on this work. Noting that social workers do agree upon the need for environmental protection, biodiversity, and social sustainability in the face of climate change, she argues that this might be an effective foundation from which to challenge ourselves to align the profession more effectively with the environmental advocacy and hold governments to account. In the next chapter, Lena Dominelli explores an alternative approach to conceptualizing and working towards environmental sustainability with her investigation of green community development for greening cities. Her chapter interrogates some of the costs of megacities and urbanization, then looks at various small-scale projects that disrupt these spaces and work towards greening our cities. Dominelli describes these concrete examples as everyday strategies that social workers can use to offset the negative impacts of megacities and cultivate a stronger connection to our interdependence with nature even in highly urbanized settings. The final chapter in this section, by Robin Ersing, explores the role of macro social work in disaster work, focusing on the role that social workers have played in disasters in the United States. Ersing focuses on the role that macro social workers can play in assisting communities to identify their assets and effectively mobilize these in disaster situations. Ersing’s work, grounded in climate change disasters faced in the United States is interesting to read in conversation with Nikku Bala’s contribution later in the collection, focusing on similar challenges faced by Nepali communities specifically and South Asia in general. Ersing’s articulation of whole community responses to disasters is an interesting contrast to Bala’s articulation of communitarian approaches, both of which have unique articulations relevant to the geographic region, but also global commonalities of how communities can navigate environmental crises.

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Dorothee Hölscher and Sarah Chiumbu’s chapter takes the conceptual exploration in a new direction by bringing together anti-oppressive practice (AOP) and decolonial analysis to challenge the Global North bias that underpins AOP. Hölscher and Chiumbu argue that a decolonial analysis has the potential to enlarge and enrich the epistemology and practice of AOP. In order to highlight this, the authors explore distinct forms of oppression in the Global South that are rooted in coloniality, with particular attention to the situation facing social work students in South Africa. The authors explore how the colonial history of South Africa informs the current neoliberal state that has significantly underfunded social development, leaving the profession of social work struggling to meet people’s needs. This is the backdrop against which there is also a dramatic increase in the number of social work students, particularly those from the communities that social work is intended to serve, but these same students also experience high levels of unemployment. Hölscher and Chiumbu describe the AOP analysis and community practices deployed by social work students in South Africa to challenge the situation in which they find themselves. In so doing, they complicate many of the clear lines between interveners and those whose lives are intervened upon, disrupting the Global North concepts that underpin AOP.

International Comparative Practices Section three uses an international comparative approach to explore ways in which social work integrated with social development is taking shape around the world. It begins with Daniel Lai and Yongxin Ruan’s chapter exploring social work with older people in Chinese contexts. They argue that particularly at this global moment of increasing numbers of older persons, community development approaches helpfully move us away from remedial responses to aging and instead focuses on opportunities and aspirations. These approaches to working with Chinese seniors also have the added value of considering how various social contexts shape the realities of Chinese older people, which leads us to exploring options for aging in place and creating age-friendly communities. The next chapter in this section is Manohar Pawar’s overview of the global issues in international community practice. Pawar explores the changing nature of communities and agents who are involved in community activities. He reviews key challenges in community development including the need to increase participation, challenge top-down processes, program dependency and lack of program coordination. Pawar argues that a strength-based approach is one key strategy for overcoming these challenges and ensuring the sustainability of community practice. This discussion provides a helpful framework for the next two chapters that explore the challenges of top-down processes and the possibilities that are created with collaborative community-based models of social work practice, education, and research. Rodreck Mupedziswa and Kefentse Kubanga look at the ways in which social work in Botswana, while largely aligned with the more micro focus of social work in

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the Global North, is still marginally engaged in innovative community work. The authors map the routes through which social work and community practice became separated and argue for a reintegration, starting with providing social work students comprehensive training in community practice to enhance social development. They highlight the importance of incorporating social development in social work education, as echoed by many social work educators across the Globe who see that environmental and human disasters demand professionals who have the capacity for facilitating collective approaches to diminish vulnerability and enhance security (George 1999; Rock 2013). In the next chapter, Mirna Carranza, María Isolda Jiménez Peralta, Luz Angelina López Herrera, and Martha Miuriel Suárez Soza focus on a cross-border research partnership between scholars and social workers in Nicaragua and Canada. The partnership systematically gathered and analyzed the experiences of gender-based violence and commercial sexual exploitation of children in Nicaragua. The project was unique in its attempt to cultivate localized knowledge and community solutions. The project they describe used a mutual exchange of knowledge and experience to disrupt the dominant ways in which North-South research partnerships are structured. Through such practices, the research team put the experiences of Indigenous and women of African descent at the center of how effective social work practice was conceptualized. The outcomes of the project included the development of a certificate in social work in Nicaragua, a gender stream in the pre-existing BSW program at the main university in Nicaragua, and regional forums and funding to do additional work on sex trafficking. In the next chapter, Margot Rawsthorne and Cicimaa Terbish explore the role of social work and community change in Mongolia, particularly with respect to dramatic changes in the urbanization of the population. This chapter explores the ways in which legal structures and governmental policies put in place to deal with the significant migration of nomadic persons to urban areas have determined what the emerging profession of social work looks like in Mongolia. Specifically, the authors argue that social work seems to reflect a top-down state-driven approach to communities. Social workers in urban contexts have within their scope of practice community work, but this tends to be problem-based rather than asset-based work and is carried out after the more central administrative aspects of their jobs. Rawsthorne and Terbish argue that social workers in Mongolia could play a significant role in introducing more grassroots collective approaches to well-being, but that such opportunities are in very early stages as the profession is relatively new and still finding its way.

Politics and Policy in Community Practice and Social Development In the final section of this book, authors explore the contemporary political and policy context of community practice and social development. The section begins with two chapters exploring the impact of austerity policies in two different regions

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of the globe. Catherine Forde looks into how austerity policies have reshaped community practice in Ireland. Specifically, Forde explores how the fact that community practice has been, for the most part, state driven in Ireland has made it particularly susceptible to shifting state priorities. In particular she observes a similar dynamic as described earlier in this Introduction – that as the state turns towards communities in order to meet the needs of citizens, the community sector has transformed from an independent sphere with the potential to organize and agitate to largely a provider of services. This shift in community practice from social development to service provision coincides with increasing inequality in Ireland as an effect of austerity policies. Forde suggests that it may be the rebuilding of infrastructure to support equality that is the next role for community development in Ireland. In the next chapter, Donna Baines and Innocentia Kgaphola explore the impact of austerity regimes within the South African context. They begin by looking at the extraordinary community work that has happened to achieve social development in the postapartheid era. Then they highlight the slowing of this work under neoliberal state practices including austerity and its gendered impact on workplaces and communities. The authors draw on results from an international comparative study on the impacts of austerity on the nonprofit sector. The results of this study point to a number of areas of concern, the first being state corruption. Despite these challenges, the authors still suggests that the social development approach of South Africa has had continued success, though it is uneven and gendered, with women continuing to remain quite vulnerable. In his chapter, Bala Raji Nikku interrogates the potential of Nepalese social work to use person-centered development strategies to enhance community resilience in South Asia generally and Nepal specifically. Nikku is particularly concerned with how the profession can increase community resilience to disasters drawing on the profession’s expertise in person-centered approaches. He understands that a significant amount of effort needs to focus on shifting social work curriculum in order to make this possible, but argues that communitarian approaches have significant potential for increasing sustainability and resilience in order to provide more effective support to disaster prone communities. Nikku also articulates the benefits that could be attained if governments, universities, local, global, and national social work organizations invest in building networks of partners to nurture communitarian values. Nikku’s chapter is followed by Meredith Powers and Christian Nsonwu’s work which aims to understand the role that community development and housing play to moderate the environmental injustices faced by resettled refugees in North America. Powers and Nsonwu focus on the ways in which resettled refugees are forced to navigate a severe lack of affordable housing, and bring to the fore the ways in which environmental injustice is experienced in both the built environment (i.e., bed bugs) and the natural environment (i.e., lack of greenspace). The authors explore the need for community and policy-based interventions to help resolve the situation.

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The section finishes with Deborah Lynch’s look at globalization and the challenges it presents to social work in terms of ensuring an ongoing interaction between the global and the local. She argues for a local community practice that is informed by global and transnational advocacy to support citizens to empower themselves in the economic, political, and social spheres of their lives. Lynch sees as central to social work practices of engaging with communities to create narrative that counter the discursive regimes of globalization. She argues that this happens most centrally through an invigoration of democracy to create a globalization from below that is participatory and concerned with social justice, human rights, and ecological sustainability. She argues for social development to be embedded in a social work that is world-minded, where social equity is imagined as an ethical issue for social work beyond national boundaries. The conclusion provides an overall summary of the collection’s chapters and offers reflections on the scope and depth of social development and community practices within the profession of social work. The authors use the rich scholarly work in this volume to articulate future directions for the field and suggest possibilities for further research and scholarship.

Conclusion: A Conversation on Social Transformation The chapters in this collection engage with broad conversations in the social work literature regarding the need to reframe well-being in ways that foreground the social. These conversations attempt to disrupt the neoliberal frame that influences much of social work today, instead using a range of theoretical alternatives that reorient the profession from an individualized focus of well-being to one that attends to the material and social, not as a political approach, but as a human one. These conversations foreground a range of overlapping theories and frameworks including anti-colonial theory; environmental; anti-oppressive practice; and the social development framework that is the focus of this collection. These approaches to social work have the effect of sustaining each other when they are put in conversation. Social development frameworks can serve to link critical analysis with the interventions in the well-being of communities and societies around the world. What binds these frameworks together is a commitment to question social structures, relationships, and policies, while also imagining more humane and collectivist strategies to address human suffering. The authors in this collection challenge the social work profession, which is itself conflicted with its own relationship with the neoliberal state, to take up these ideas so it too can evolve and change. There are already cogent models for how a social development framework can be applied to a range of fields of social work practice including mental health, child welfare, gerontological social work, social assistance, addictions, corrections, and homelessness (see Midgley and Conley 2010). At a time when these fields are experiencing

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significant critique from groups that were kept on the margins or actively harmed by the profession (Blackstock 2016; Pon et al. 2017), social development offers a framework of reconciliation for the profession to work collaboratively with those groups who have reason to distrust the profession. Social development and community practice both within and without the profession also provide the possibility for ongoing conversations that challenge the profession to interrogate itself. This gives us an effective vision and strategies to engage with vulnerable communities in new and respectful ways.

References Alinksy S (1971) Rules for radicals. Vintage Books, New York Bartoli A (2013) Anti-racism in social work practice. Critical Publishing Ltd., St. Albans Bhatti-Sinclair K (2011) Anti-racist practice in social work. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke Blackstock C (2016) Does social work have the guts for social justice and reconciliation? In: Spencer E, Massing D, Gough J (eds) Social work ethics: progressive, practical, and relational approaches. Oxford University Press, Toronto, pp 115–128 Elliot D (1993) Social work and social development: towards an integrative model for social work practice. Int Soc Work 36:21–36 Finn J (2016) Just practices: a social justice approach to social work, 3rd edn. Oxford University Press, New York Forde C, Lynch D (2015) Social work and community development. Palgrave, London George J (1999) Conceptual muddle, practical dilemma: human rights, social development and social work education. Int Soc Work 42:15–26 Heinonen T, Drolet J (2012) International social development: social work experiences and perspectives. Fernwood Publishing, Halifax Hugman R (2016) Social development in social work: practices and principles. Routledge, New York Jones D, Truell R (2012) The global agenda for social development: a place to link together and be effective in a globalized world. Int Soc Work 55:454–472 Kelly K, Caputo T (2011) Community: a contemporary analysis of policies, programs and practices. University of Toronto Press, Toronto Kretzman J, McNight J (1993) Building communities for the inside out. ACTA Publications, Chicago Lee B (2011) Pragmatics of community organization, 4th edn. CommonAct, Don Mills Lundy C (2004) Social work and social justice: a structural approach to practice. Broadview Press, Peterborough Mendes P (2008) Integrating social work and community-development practice in Victoria, Australia. Asia Pac J Soc Work Dev 18:14–25 Midgley J (1995) Social development: the developmental perspective in social welfare. Sage, London Midgley J (2014) Social development: theory and practice. Sage, London Midgley J, Conley A (2010) Social work and social development: theories and skills for developmental social workers. Oxford University Press, New York Mullaly B (2002) Challenging oppression: a critical social work approach. Oxford University Press, Don Mills Nikku BR, Pulla V (2014) Global agenda for social work and social development: choices of the social work educators from Asia. Int Soc Work 57:373–385

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Occhiuto K, Rowlands L (2019) Innocent expertise: subjectivity and opportunities for subversion within community practice. J Progress Hum Serv 30. https://doi.org/10.1080/ 10428232.2018.1502998 Pon G, Phillips D, Clarke J, Abdillahi I (2017) Who’s protecting whom? Child welfare and policing Black families. In: Baines D (ed) Doing anti-oppressive practice: social justice social work, 3rd edn. Fernwood Press, Halifax Preston S, Aslett J (2017) Youth engagement in governmental and community organizations: contradictions and recommendations. In: Wehbi S, Parada H (eds) Re-imagining anti-oppression social work practice. Canadian Scholars Press, Toronto Rock L (2013) The role of social work education in advancing social development in the Englishspeaking Caribbean. Soc Work Educ 32:734–747 Sinclair R, Hart M, Bruyere G (2009) Wcihitowin: aboriginal social work in Canada. Fernwood Press, Halifax Stebner E (1997) The women of Hull house: a study in spirituality, vocation and friendship. Suny, New York Sukarieh M, Tannock S (2016) The positivity imperative: a critical look at the ‘new’ youth development movement. J Youth Stud 14:675–691 Todd S (2005) Unfinished fictions: becoming and unbecoming feminist community organizers. In: Hicks S, Fook J, Pozzuto R (eds) Social work: a critical turn. Thompson Educational Press, Toronto, pp 137–152 Todd S (2011) “That power and privilege thing”: securing whiteness in community work. J Progress Hum Serv 22:117–134 Webb S (2017) Professional identity and social work. Routledge, London Wehbi S, Parada H (2017) Reimagining anti-oppression social work practice. Canadian Scholar’s Press, Toronto

Part II Community Practices

Engaging Youth in Research Lessons from Community-Engaged Research with Urban Youth Uzo Anucha, Sinthu Srikanthan, and Rebecca Houwer

Contents Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Youth Engagement in Research: Facilitating Positive Youth Development Through Research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Benefits and Outcomes of Engaged Research for the Research Process, Youth, and Communities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Challenges of Youth Engaging Community-Engaged Research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A Community-Engaged Research Case Study: The Assets Coming Together for Youth Project . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Youth Research Internship Story #1: Silva – Finding My Inner Side . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Youth Research Internship Story #2: Eliza: Weaving a Story of Trials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Youth Research Internship Story #3: Jennifer: Rounding Off . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Youth Research Internship Story #4: Sue: Research Inside Out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Practice Reflections: The Centrality of Relationship Building in Community-Engaged Research with Youth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cross-References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Abstract

This chapter critically examines the role of community-engaged research (CER) for addressing equity and access for vulnerable communities, with attention to youth engagement in research. CER aims to transform the relationship between research and communities. While traditional research approaches relate to communities as merely the “objects of knowledge” and “sources of data,” CER strives to engage communities as active partners and collaborators in the knowledge production process by emphasizing the values of collaboration, participation, and action – values that are well aligned with that of social work. Emerging literature U. Anucha (*) · S. Srikanthan · R. Houwer York University, Toronto, ON, Canada e-mail: [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected] © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 S. Todd, J. L. Drolet (eds.), Community Practice and Social Development in Social Work, Social Work, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-6969-8_1

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also suggests that engaging youth in research presents as a significant opportunity for enhancing youth well-being – by providing opportunities for youth to develop technical skills, social networks, leadership, civic engagement, empowerment, youth involvement in research and, specifically, CER can support positive youth development. Drawing from a review of the literature on youth engagement/ engaging youth in research as well as our reflections from a 6-year CER project, Assets Coming Together for Youth, this chapter explores the following questions: What is it like for youth with diverse identities to participate in research? What do youth see as positive outcomes of engaging in research? What tensions arise in involving youth in research? What can we learn from youth to inform knowledge production processes that are more equitable and meaningful? We reflect on the challenges and possibilities of youth, university researchers, and community stakeholders learning together through research on how university and community resources can support the development of youth assets. Keywords

Community-engaged research · Participatory action research · Youth engagement · Positive youth development · Community-based research

Introduction Knowledge about young people that does not involve young people is incomplete (Jones 2004)

According to the International Federation of Social Workers [ITF] (2014), social work is a profession united by a mission that “promotes social change” and “the empowerment and liberation of people.” Globally, social work practice is guided by values for social justice, human rights, collective responsibility, and respect for diversity. In Canada, the Canadian Association of Social Workers [CASW] (2014) “promotes the profession of social work in Canada and advances social justice.” As echoed by the mission statements of both international and national social work bodies, social workers around the world have professional and ethical mandates to transform private troubles into public issues (CASW 2014; ITF 2014). In a world that is characterized by increasing instability, social workers are practicing in contexts where individual interventions have limited effects as entire communities are impacted by widespread poverty and inequality (Reisch 2016). It is in this context that we as social workers are compelled by our professional and personal commitments to realize social change through community-level solutions to globally contextualized problems. Community-engaged research (CER), a contemporary movement within the academy that, through research, seeks to reinvigorate civic engagement, relationship building, and social justice (Fitzgerald et al. 2016; Stanton 2008), is increasingly recognized as a tool that can be used by social workers to leverage social change

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(Schwartz 2010). CER aims to transform traditional research relationships between universities and communities. While traditional approaches to research relate to communities as merely the “objects of knowledge” or “sources of data,” CER engages with communities as active partners and collaborators in the knowledge production process by emphasizing collaboration, participation, and action. Through iterative processes of relationship building, action, and reflection, CER extends the scope of social work practice from working with individuals and families to addressing the broader political and economic dimensions of the social issues that impact people on a day-to-day basis (Christens and Speer 2015; Greene and Chambers 2011; Martin and Pyles 2013; Schwartz 2010). With the premise of collaboration between academic and community partners, CER is inclusive of a range of research frameworks, including community-based participatory research (CBPR) and participatory action research (PAR) (Delavega et al. 2017; Strega and Brown 2015). From the beliefs and assumptions made of knowledge, to the questions that drive inquiry, to the methods and protocols through which data is ethically collected, housed, analyzed, and disseminated, CER is unified by values and practices that foster reciprocal and equitable relationships between university and community partners (Stanton 2008). Relatedly, with a growing appreciation for the importance of youth participation and voice in the decisions that impact their day-to-day lives (Arunkumar et al. 2018; Jardine and James 2012), interest about the benefits that engaged research offers to youth and communities has also increased (Hawke et al. 2018). With global shifts in youth policies, practices, and research toward positive youth development (PYD), a strengths-based and asset-building approach for youth development (Lerner et al. 2005), there is great potential of CER to shift the idea of youth as just consumers and objects of knowledge to youth as producers of knowledge (Mosher et al. 2014; Nichols et al. 2013). Importantly, CER projects informed by PYD has the potential to support youth well-being by providing opportunities for youth, including those who face marginalization, to develop skills, leadership, civic engagement, and empowerment (Ardoin et al. 2014; Flicker 2008; Ozer 2017; Ozer et al. 2010; Ozer and Wright 2012; Powers and Tiffany 2006; Tintiangco-Cubales et al. 2016). This chapter reflects on the process of youth, university researchers, and community stakeholders learning together about the ways in which university and community resources can be utilized to support the development of youth assets. We explore the following questions: What is it like for youth with diverse identities to participate in research? What do youth see as positive outcomes of engaging in research? What tensions arise in involving youth in research? What can we learn from youth to inform knowledge production processes that are more equitable and meaningful? We discuss these questions by drawing from the literature on youth engagement/engaging youth in research on what youth see as positive outcomes and benefits in participating in research. In doing so, we ground this review in our experiences with a 6-year CER project, Assets Coming Together (ACT) for Youth. Using the Jane-Finch community, a neighborhood located in northwestern Toronto, as a case study, ACT for Youth brought together community stakeholders and academic scholars to develop a comprehensive youth strategy that articulates how

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urban communities can energize community assets that support positive youth development (ACT for Youth 2013). We share the insights of the project’s youth research interns on what they identify as the “Most Significant Change” (Dart and Davies 2003) outcomes of their participation in this community-university research alliance. Youth-adult collaborations in the contexts of long-term community-university action research projects, like the ACT for Youth Project, have not received as much attention in examinations of the pedagogical potential of youth-led participatory action research. Cahill (2007) correctly point out that participatory methods “can reproduce rather than challenge unequal power relations” (p. 299) and therefore advocates for “self-reflexive accounts of practice evaluating what works and what does not advance the field of youth participatory research” (ibid.).

Youth Engagement in Research: Facilitating Positive Youth Development Through Research Critical youth and community-engaged scholars as well as youth participatory action research practitioners recognize that it is precisely because of the “failures of established research practices, which have almost totally excluded youth from positions other than research subjects” (Delgado cited in Stypka 2007 p. 100) and that new forms of youth-involved research must “take seriously young people’s capacity and agency” (Cahill 2007 p. 299). As McIntyre (2006) argues, marginalized youth are often “‘rendered invisible’ and denied the opportunity to develop a sense of personal and political efficacy within their own schools and communities” (p. 630). They are often framed as either the “victims” or the agents of their marginalization (Durand and Lykes 2006). By addressing equity and access for youth from vulnerable communities, CER can be transformative for youth and their communities. Further, from a youth development perspective, engaging youth, a group that has traditionally been excluded from research, presents a significant opportunity for enhancing youth well-being. CER projects where youth research can act on the social issues that impact their lives provide youth with unique opportunities for youth development and social change (Iwasaki et al. 2014) and is therefore a “community approach to youth development” (Schensul and Berg 2004 p. 4). Young people, who are transitioning into adulthood in an increasingly insecure and competitive environment, are “ideal candidates” for engagement in research (Jacquez et al. 2013 p. 177). As young people transition from adolescence to early adulthood, many face challenges that threaten to undermine their potential. In today’s rapidly changing and increasingly competitive environment, these challenges can create lasting barriers that prevent them from having healthy and rewarding lives (Delgado 2002). Since the late 1980s, there has been a global shift in youth work practice, policy, and research from a deficits and pathological framework of “youth as problems” to an asset-based approach of positive youth development (PYD) that focuses attention on identifying and promoting competencies, strengths, and characteristics required by youth for healthy development (Lerner et al. 2005).

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As opposed to deficit-reduction and prevention-based approaches that problematize youth, PYD is a strengths-based framework that views all youth as being part of solutions and as resources to be nurtured through capacity building, community development, and youth participation (Perkins et al. 2003). Youth engagement in CER provides a significant opportunity to facilitate PYD through the development of assets, such as technical knowledge and skills, expanded social networks, and leadership and civic engagement opportunities, among youth researchers. Additionally, youth engagement can advance CER goals of promoting equity and inclusion in the research process (Ardoin et al. 2014; Berg et al. 2009; Flicker 2008; Ozer 2017; Ozer et al. 2010; Ozer and Douglas 2012; Ozer and Wright 2012). Despite the opportunities to facilitate youth development through research, engaging youth in CER is subject to challenges, including a pervasive deficits-based view of youth and institutional-centric research process that can lead to mere tokenism in research rather than genuine engagement and involvement of youth (Arunkumar et al. 2018). In the following subsections, we review the literature to highlight the benefits, outcomes, and tensions of youth engagement in CER. In reviewing the literature, we consider that many projects that engage youth are situated beyond the “ivory towers” in community programs and activist organizations that use PAR to pursue a number of agendas, including the improvement of service provision, youth empowerment, and social change.

Benefits and Outcomes of Engaged Research for the Research Process, Youth, and Communities Research approaches that engage youth as partners and assets in the knowledge production process, such as youth participatory action research (YPAR), youth-led evaluation, and empowerment evaluation, also provide youth and communities a platform to speak about their current realities and futures, which is critical for youth who, due to social marginalization, have limited opportunities to do so (Ardoin et al. 2014; Powers and Tiffany 2006). The following are examples from the literature of how CER projects that meaningfully and systematically involve youth offer specific benefits and outcomes to the research process as well as to youth and their larger communities (Schensul and Berg 2004). We note examples of CER projects that engage youth with diverse identities.

Platform for Youth and Communities to Speak to the Issues That Matter Meaningfully involving youth, especially those who face marginalization in society, in CER can make the experiences and perspectives of such groups visible, thereby enhancing research processes by promoting equity and inclusion. For example, describing a YPAR project on youth homelessness, Gomez and Ryan (2016) report that engaging homeless youth as peer researchers improved both the project’s access to youth participants as well as the depth and quality of data collection. The authors acknowledged that by involving youth who experienced homelessness in the research, youth participants felt more comfortable to share their experiences as

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they were interviewed by peers. The authors also report that by engaging peer researchers, the voices of youth in data dissemination made for more compelling arguments for social change to policy makers. This study suggests that meaningful involving youth in research can make them visible in the research process as well as to the broader community (Gomez and Ryan 2016).

Promoting Skill Acquisition Among Youth Researchers One outcome of CER projects that involve youth that is consistently highlighted in the literature is skill acquisition by youth co-researchers. For instance, in their review of four community-based projects that engaged youth, Powers and Tiffany (2006) identified that youth co-researchers developed technical research knowledge and skills by participating in engaged scholarship. In addition to learning about the overall research process and principles of research ethics, youth co-researchers in the reviewed projects developed concrete skills such as developing research designs; creating youth-friendly data collection tools and instruments; recruiting participants and obtaining informed consent; implementing a range of research methodologies; collecting data by facilitating interviews, focus groups, and surveys; analyzing and interpreting data; and public speaking, advocacy, and dissemination skills (Powers and Tiffany 2006). Similarly, Ardoin et al. (2014) document how two projects that engaged youth in community need assessments for youth programming facilitated youth researchers’ development of skills that were transferrable to future academic and professional opportunities such as facilitating interviews, analyzing and interpreting data, professional communication, and public speaking. Youth researchers applied these skills they learned from research immediately, which increased their confidence in their roles as advocates within their communities (Ardoin et al. 2014). The development of concrete skills and assets directly speaks to how engaging youth in CER can facilitate PYD outcomes by promoting competencies that will support youth in healthy development (Lerner et al. 2005). Expanding Social Capital Through Diverse Leadership and Civic Engagement Opportunities for Youth CER also provides youth researchers with multiple opportunities for leadership and civic engagement that facilitate youth development outcomes. Powers and Tiffany (2006) describe how offering multiple modes of participation at various levels of intensity, a diverse range of youth, can experience opportunities for leadership. Leadership opportunities for youth in CER projects can range from intensive, paid research internships, consultant roles, and opportunities to participate in peer recruitment and data collection. Ozer and Wright (2012) also describe how youth engagement in a PAR project on making secondary schools more developmentally appropriate resulted in increasing youths’ voices in school administration. In this YPAR project, youth who faced marginalization within their schools had opportunities to influence school policies and practices. In leading YPAR projects, students had an expanded role in their schools as both leaders and experts. More recently, Tintiangco-Cubales et al. (2016) describe how YPAR projects on various social

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issues identified by Filipino immigrant youth, such as substance use, violence in the community, and youth mental health, resulted in the engagement of other youth in social action as youth disseminated their findings through methods that reached their peers. Specifically, the authors document how youth disseminated research findings through social media campaigns, school assemblies, and theater. Tintiangco-Cubales et al. (2016) also found that youth engagement supported knowledge dissemination to youth by youth, thereby multiplying the opportunities for civic engagement. Taken together, Powers and Tiffany (2006), Ozer and Wright (2012), and Tintiangco-Cubales et al. (2016) highlight how CER provides youth with opportunities for leadership and civic engagement that is inclusive of a range of youth with differing life experiences. Furthermore, these studies suggest that by being involved in research, youth develop personal and professional relationships with other youth and adults. In doing so, youth increase their social and professional networks, which can ultimately increase future opportunities as well as expand their conception of what is possible (Ozer and Wright 2012; Powers and Tiffany 2006).

Validating Youth Knowledge and Lived Experiences Working with youth as co-researchers as opposed to just participants, subjects, objects, or respondents centers the research process on youth knowledge and places importance on their lived experiences and validates youth knowledge (Reich et al. 2017). For instance, Flicker (2008) describes how youth engagement in a CBPR project on HIV-positive youth provided opportunities for youth researchers to give voice to the social issues and contexts they experienced. In this project, youth researchers felt heard and useful in their engagement with research – this outcome speaks to a sense of empowerment among youth researchers as they expressed feeling disempowered and marginalized in society as a result of their social identities as HIV-positive youth. In obtaining research skills, youth researchers in the projects described by Ardoin et al. (2014) developed an increased sense of connection to their communities. The researchers emphasized that by participating in research, youth developed technical research skills that enabled them to advocate for their communities, which saw tangible change through increased funding for youth programs. Tintiangco-Cubales et al. (2016) similarly reported that youth engagement in research supported PYD outcomes of an increased sense of self-worth and community belonging among Filipino immigrant youth researchers. The authors note that the collective nature of youth engagement in research strengthened social bonds among youth within the community. Ozer and Wright (2012) also documented that, by participating in PAR projects, youth co-researchers experienced increased confidence in making change in their communities. Notably, the authors describe that youth engagement in PAR was particularly beneficial for students who had limited academic success as involvement with their engagement with research also increased their engagement in school. Together, these studies demonstrate that, in addition to PYD outcomes of skills development, leadership, and civic engagement, youth engagement in research facilitates a sense of empowerment, community belonging, and critical consciousness.

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Such outcomes are especially important for the development of marginalized youth, such as urban youth from low-income and/or immigrant, refugee, and racialized communities, as discrimination and inequitable access to resources threaten well-being and shape limited access to developmental opportunities (Berg et al. 2009; Iwasaki et al. 2014). Engagement in research therefore has benefits for these youth, who, due to systemic barriers, may otherwise have limited access to developmental opportunities. In addition to facilitating the development of assets, youth engagement in CER provides opportunities for those from marginalized communities to experience empowerment, community, and the development of a critical consciousness, that is, an understanding of how one’s circumstances are connected to broader power imbalances in society (Iwasaki et al. 2014; Ozer and Douglas 2012). Youth engagement in CER is therefore intrinsically tied to the mission of social work that is concerned with empowerment and social change.

Challenges of Youth Engaging Community-Engaged Research Although youth involvement in CER offers benefits to research, communities, and youth, such engagement is not without its challenges (Reich et al. 2017). Despite growing recognition of youth voice and participation, barriers to the meaningful involvement of youth in research, such as deficits-based view of youth and institutional-centric processes, lead to tokenism of youth in research (Jacquez et al. 2013; Gomez and Ryan 2016; Nichols et al. 2013; Ozer et al. 2010; Reich et al. 2017). In addition to being located within the realm of the academy, research is also traditionally regarded as an activity that is dominated and led by adults. The literature identifies that an implicit deficits-based discourse of youth shapes how adults involved in research may question youth researchers’ abilities to participate in research. For instance, while youth voice in research and policy is increasingly recognized as a strength by stakeholders, Gomez and Ryan (2016) note that those who are accustomed to traditional research paradigms may question the reliability and rigor of research projects that are led by youth. The authors discuss how audiences may question and scrutinize the competence of youth as researchers so CER projects that involve youth as research partners may have the additional tasks of teaching stakeholders, such as policy makers, academics, and other researchers, about the value of youth engagement in research (Gomez and Ryan 2016). Thus, a deficits-based discourse informs how youth-engaged research is appraised and received. Routine research processes, such as obtaining signed verbal consent, often from parents and adult guardians for youth under the age of 16, may be informed by legalistic and institutional understandings of consent, which may undermine youth engagement and relationship building (Jardine and James 2012). Nichols et al. (2013) discuss how research funding requirements impose established research goals and adult-centric research interests and timelines – for CER projects seeking youth engagement projects such as the ACT for Youth project. Such predetermined

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research goals, interests, and timelines limit the capacity for youth engagement and leadership in developing research questions, designs, and methods. Arunkumar et al. (2018) discuss how these institutional processes of research may lead to a dynamic where adult researchers simply integrate youth into conventional research processes without consideration for youth. In a similar vein, Reich et al. (2017) discuss how projects that lack the infrastructure required to support youth may result in tokenistic and superficial involvement of youth in research. Such conditions may undermine the meaningful involvement of youth. Often, research projects that engage youth are short-term and leave limited benefits for youth and their communities (Arunkumar et al. 2018). Writing from an Indigenous perspective, Reich et al. (2017) emphasize the importance of adult allies providing research training to youth as well as developing long-term, meaningful, and accountable relationships with youth researchers (Reich et al. 2017).

A Community-Engaged Research Case Study: The Assets Coming Together for Youth Project We ground our review of the literature on youth engagement/engaging youth in research in lessons from the ACT for Youth project, a CER project that took place from 2009 to 2014. ACT for Youth brought together a multi-sectoral alliance of community stakeholders and an interdisciplinary network of academic scholars to undertake a program of applied research, capacity building, knowledge transfer, and evaluation with/about/for youth in “marginalized” urban communities using, as a case study, the Jane-Finch community (ACT for Youth 2013). Located in northwestern Toronto, the Jane-Finch community is a neighborhood characterized by a high youth population, many of whom are from low-income and immigrant, refugee, and racialized backgrounds (Ahmadi 2017). Compared to the rest of the City of Toronto, the Jane-Finch community has a higher rate of immigrants and newcomers, youth and children, sole parents, low-income families, and unemployment. Youth in the Jane-Finch community, like youth in other urban cities that experience marginalization, have been the focus of negative public discourse that brands the community and its resident as “problems.” Extensive negative media (and internet) coverage of the Jane-Finch community has resulted in its association with youth-on-youth violence, poverty, and lack of opportunity. Paradoxically, coexisting with this negative framing of Jane-Finch is a high degree of passion, identification, and loyalty that is felt by people who live and work in the community, intermixed with a sense of sadness and outrage at the challenges and tragedy the community experiences. ACT for Youth committed, at inception, to extensively recruit, hire, and train youth from the Jane-Finch community as peer interviewers and involve them in knowledge mobilization and communication activities and build their capacity to take leadership roles in addressing important issues in their communities and lives. As a project that sought to enhance youth and community well-being and promote youth-driven social change, ACT for Youth was a significant opportunity for CER as a form of social

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work, despite tensions and unique dynamics as a community-university research partnership that was based in a university with an overarching hierarchical structure of knowledge production (Mosher et al. 2014; Nichols et al. 2013). From the beginning, ACT for Youth committed to building the capacities of JaneFinch youth and ensuring that youth were involved at all levels of the project. For example, in the funding proposal, ACT for Youth committed to “extensively recruit, hire and train youth as peer interviewers and involve them in knowledge mobilization and communication activities. We will build the capacity of youth to take leadership roles in addressing important issues in their communities and lives.” One of the ways that ACT for Youth fulfilled this commitment to Jane-Finch youth was through the creation of a Youth Research Internship Program, which provided paid research experience to youth who live in the Jane-Finch community. The internship was an opportunity for youth to gain experience in community-based research. The internship included research workshops on a variety of research topics, including the theory and practice of community-based research, program evaluation, research ethics, and qualitative as well as quantitative research methods. The original selection criteria for the youth interns included age (not younger than 15 and not older than 27 by the first day of the project) and current residence in the Jane-Finch community. A multifaceted outreach strategy including word of mouth, website announcement, and a series of recruitment presentations at neighborhood high schools and community centers. Successful youth intern applicants would receive up to $2500 stipend for 200 hours of participation, which included attending research training seminars, recruiting participants, methodological design, data collection, and dissemination. Interviews with the youth interns were conducted as part of an evaluative cycle of action and reflection. The evaluation protocol received ethics clearance from the York University’s Human Research Participants Review Committee and adhered to all the standards and regulations in this protocol including informed consent, no implied coercion for participation, anonymity, and confidentiality. Using an adapted version of the “Most Significant Change” (MSC) technique, the interviews attempted to “hear into speech” (Durand and Lykes 2006 p. 248) youth research internship stories. The purpose of the interviews was neither to generate a list of “best practices” for involving youth in research nor to develop a typology of beneficial outcomes but, rather, to try to understand what the youth identified as “significant” during their time as research interns with ACT for Youth. The interviews with the interns aimed to facilitate reflection to improve the ACT for Youth’s ability to meaningfully involve youth in research and to generate knowledge and change based on the youth interns’ experiences (Dart and Davies p. 140). We use the term “story” in the sense of Dart and Davies (2003 p. 141) as a narrative account told in response to a specific question (e.g., “what was the most significant change that you experienced over the course or your research internship?”). The interviews were recorded, transcribed, and member-checked by the youth interns. What follows are four short stories based on these interviews that relate the personal experiences of these interns. The names are pseudonyms chosen by the interns. Similarly, they chose the titles of their stories.

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Youth Research Internship Story #1: Silva – Finding My Inner Side Silvia was raised in the local community where she attended elementary and high school. She is a bilingual child of a single mother who emigrated from South America. Silvia’s internship earnings subsidized the family’s income. At the time of the interview, Silvia had just completed her final year of high school; however, she decided to return to high school to improve her grades and chances of admission to a post-secondary institution. Silvia was in grade 12 when the internship started. She was raised in the JaneFinch community, attending elementary and high school, locally. Silvia spent time volunteering with several community agencies. Silvia’s youth intern experience was marked by ups and downs. Her initial excitement, which was shared emphatically by her family about being selected for the position, faded and turned to frustration during the first half of the internship. Despite wanting to apply herself and make the most of the opportunity, Silvia was confused about the purpose of the research and her particular role. Lacking prior research experience, she felt lost and overwhelmed during the research workshops and felt she simply could not relate to the assigned readings. Things turned for the better when it was time to recruit youth participants for interviews. Silvia always enjoyed public speaking and social interaction and was disappointed when the recruitment and focus groups finished because she felt she had just started excelling and wanted to do more. Silvia spoke of her participation and interaction with other youth interns as an “eye-opener.” In hearing people’s stories from the community and getting to know her youth intern peers, Silvia was struck by how many problems and personal situations people were going through of which she was unaware. She says, “the people I work with I love; even though they live in the same area, everybody has a history, their own problems – a lot of them, you would never imagine they are going through, right?” Overall, Silvia felt she had matured and “made contacts” by getting to know both people from her community and other youth intern peers beyond a superficial level. Reflecting on her internship experience, Silvia defined the most significant change as self-discovery, a change in her inner self, which led to a reshuffling of her priorities and plans for the future. Silvia’s initial motivation and attitude toward the internship was that she would “just do it because it’s a job,” but Silvia soon realized that she should do it because “it’s cool” that she would gain “more than just a pay cheque.” Silvia understood that experience in a social work setting would “totally open up doors.” She learned how research is conducted and how social workers orient themselves to the concerns of a community. Silvia also spoke insightfully about how she had previously set limitations on herself, boxing herself in. Now, Silvia feels that she is slowly breaking through that box: I guess before, I was stuck. . .I didn’t really think I can do it, right? I didn’t really have high expectations of myself. . .but after a while, after talking to some people, I kind of believe in myself now, because I know that if I put all my might into something, I will do it.

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Silvia felt that just getting the position and being around older people, such as graduate students and professors, gave her the push she needed and changed her “mentality.” Previously, Silvia said that she would gloss over reading material. After the internship, she began approaching reading with a different attitude – she said to herself, “maybe I can get something out of it.” When asked how that box had created itself, Silvia explained that being a child of a single mother in a low-income household contributed to this set limitation. Silvia learned at a young age that her mother would not be able to provide for her all that she wanted outside of the basic necessities. Therefore, if Silvia wanted to buy something, she either had to wait to buy it or earn money for herself. Her decision was to start working at a young age so that she could buy things that she wanted and, in doing so, ease the financial burden on her mother. At the time of the interview, Silvia had just finished her last year of high school and was ready to start college. However, Silvia decided to go back to high school for one more year to upgrade her courses and attend university. She attributed this change in plans to her experience in the internship. Silvia now spends less time hanging out with friends and wishes that the internship was a full-time job. She says, “You can hang around any time. I’d rather be working, making not only money but making something with myself, you know, something with myself for my future.”

Youth Research Internship Story #2: Eliza: Weaving a Story of Trials At age 16, Eliza was the youngest youth research intern. She was a grade 10 student at a school outside of her local community, where she transferred due to bullying. The child of Nigerian immigrants, Eliza, and her family lived in public housing. Eliza conducted a discourse analysis of non-mainstream media representations of her community. She also helped with participant recruitment, knowledge mobilization, and participated in ACT for Youth’s Youth-Led Subcommittee. Eliza was a grade 10 student who lived in the Jane-Finch community; however, she decided to attend a high school outside of the neighborhood because of bullying. She was the youngest of the first cohort of youth interns on the ACT for Youth project and shares that she learned about the youth internship opportunity on her 16th birthday. Eliza jokingly asked for a job to the person who ran the community agency where she volunteered and was surprised when this person, who Eliza looks up to like an older sister, actually handed her an application from the ACT for Youth project to fill out. Eliza spent her entire January working on that application, urged on by her mother’s nagging: “Did you finish that application? This is a big moment, if you get this!” Eliza managed to submit the application just before the deadline. She was discouraged after not hearing back for 2 weeks, but when she got the call to book an interview for the internship on a random Sunday evening, Eliza’s skepticism turned to happiness – or as she described it, hysteria. Unfortunately, Eliza’s hysteria was also accompanied by feelings of inferiority, unworthiness, and a paranoid feeling that this opportunity was just a big joke being played on her. These doubts would

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plague her, and at one point early in the internship, Eliza had to take time off from both school and the internship to be able to continue. When asked whether she has changed over the course of the internship, Eliza says “I can’t see an area in my life that hasn’t changed.” She begins by saying that “being around academics has done wondrous things for my cognitive skills.” Eliza said that she is now better able to dissect arguments, analyze, and penetrate deeper into issues. She continues, “an argument is open for dissection – you can figure out the root of the argument, why’s the argument happening, and why there is a conflict between me and so-and-so.” Gaining an awareness of these skills has given Eliza a sense of self. . .and “some sort of power.” Eliza linked her empowerment to working at York University: “being able to work alongside an institution as big as this would give anyone a sense of empowerment . . . especially knowing where I live, you don’t often get opportunities like this.” Given her upbringing in a neighborhood where she was bullied by youth who she termed “hoodlums” and suffering through paranoia and feelings of inferiority, this internship served as redemption for Eliza: the fact that I am able to rise above all that had been said about me, and be able to actually do something more fit with my life, instead of letting those words suppress me and pull me down further.

Eliza spoke of the physical office space used for the project as a “paradise or an oasis – a temporary reprieve where I get away from the stresses or things that afflict you.” Despite Eliza’s feeling of positive change related to the internship, as well as her earlier declaration of everything about her having changed, she said that she also sometimes felt that things have not changed for the better and that she failed at recruitment. She said that she had moments of realization that her mental health issues will always be a problem with which she will have to learn to live with and that progress has been of the “one step forward, two steps back” variety. Eliza seemed to have increased her self-awareness and discovered a resiliency of which she was previously unaware: I find that despite all that’s happened, despite how unfortunate that time was (when she had to take a leave of absence from the internship and school) . . . I find the end of that to be positive, because, instead of shaking in fear about what people can think about me, I decided to come back to work, and that was . . . a really, really amazing time for me.

Youth Research Internship Story #3: Jennifer: Rounding Off Jennifer was a grade 12 student at a local high school. She was an active volunteer in a variety of community organizations. Her multi-generational family emigrated from Southeast Asia and have lived in the Jane-Finch community for 4 years. As a youth intern, Jennifer worked on a Photo Voice Project, event organization,

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knowledge mobilization, and participant recruitment. She described herself as naïve and said she would like to explore the world! Jennifer was in grade 12 when she started the internship, squarely focused on her upcoming transition to university in September. She had been living in the JaneFinch community for about 3 years while attending high school in the area; however, a large part of Jennifer’s social circle was situated outside of the Jane-Finch area. Despite her very busy extracurricular schedule, which included volunteering at the local library and many after-school clubs where she participated on the fundraising and planning committees, Jennifer had been told by friends and even her mother that she was “book smart but lacked in life skills.” Jennifer learned of the youth internship opportunity through the Youth at Yorkwood’s Program and was attracted to the potential of earning $2500 while acquiring research skills. Although Jennifer thought the idea of the internship was “very cool,” she almost did not apply because she thought it would be a very competitive application process and feared not being chosen: I was really, really, really afraid. I had high expectations. . .I just thought that York University is a step-up, or 5–6 steps up from where I was at. . .research intern at York sounds so different compared to New York Fries or CNE, right?

Jennifer also was anxious that she lacked experience compared to others living in Jane-Finch because her mother does not allow her to hang out much. After a few months of the internship experience, Jennifer valued meeting a lot of interesting people and learning “that people in university are not that different from people in high school, just more mature . . . When you are in high school, you think ‘Oh God, people in university are so different’. . . like a different species.” Jennifer felt her internship experience made her “open her eyes” and ready to go to university. Before the internship, Jennifer never thought that she would be engaging in casual conversations with university graduates, professors, and administrators. She also mentioned broadening her realm of possibilities by hearing the stories of older graduate research assistants. Jennifer said of their stories, “their experiences are so interesting . . . it makes me feel like possibilities are kind of endless. I wanna try new things like travel the world, take a year off . . . it just seems so cool.” When she was asked the reason why she was not aware of those possibilities, Jennifer responds, “I don’t know anyone older than me.” What Jennifer meant is that the only older people she knew were parents or relatives. Jennifer was the eldest of the siblings in her family and the first in her family to go to university. Consequently, Jennifer has never had the chance to speak openly with people about the nonacademic aspects of the university experience. About teachers, Jennifer says, “it’s weird talking to them (on a personal level) . . . I will just talk to them about (getting accepted into) university.” Jennifer’s social and professional network expanded beyond the people she met at university. When asked what aspect of the internship she liked most, Jennifer responded, “the regular workdays . . . days with no meetings, when I can come in,

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complete a task, and I get to interact with people.” Jennifer felt a sense of accomplishment when she completed a task. She also learned a lot from casual interaction with the interns, research assistants, and PhD students. Related to expanding her social network, Jennifer said that she met a lot of people through the Photo Voice Project and, at Westview, a local high school who she would not have met “in real life.” Jennifer was able to have conversation beyond “hi and bye” with youth she previously considered “gangsters.” Speaking of “gangsters,” she says, “they are very chill compare to me. . .so I don’t know what to talk to them about. . .with my friends, I’m usually talking about school, but they are just so relaxed and don’t worry about consequences.” Jennifer seemed to have gained insight by the comparison she drew between herself and the “gangsters” and also felt more prepared to make friendships university. Jennifer felt empowered because she was part of a diverse York University research group. She found it difficult to pinpoint the changes in herself in a short period of time (4 to 5 months) and felt guilty about admitting that what was most valuable about the internship were the “social aspects.” Yet, Jennifer realized that she will head to university a bit more mature, with better “life skills, and overall a more balanced, well-rounded person.”

Youth Research Internship Story #4: Sue: Research Inside Out Sue graduated from a local high school and attended 1 year of trade college before withdrawing due to financial concerns. Sue grew up in the community but moved away for several years during high school. During her internship, Sue worked with the Education and Employment Opportunities working group. She organized and conducted focus groups and interviews. She presented research findings at local conference and has recently returned to university. Sue grew up in Jane-Finch but spent some time attending high school in Markham. She was well-informed and critical of past research that has taken place in the JaneFinch area. Sue became aware of the opportunity to be a youth intern with ACT for Youth project through the York-TD Engagement Centre. The project promised to be more comprehensive than past research – not just a “quick thing” and was committed to the participation of Jane-Finch youth as research interns. As a result, Sue was very excited about the project, especially about the potential of a project that is long-term (5 years) with strong financial backing – a $1million research grant. At the time of the interview, Sue was in her early 20s and in a transition period, coming off a break from school and figuring out her career plan. Sue’s level of awareness of the internship experiences and her ability to synthesize them succinctly were striking. The first positive aspect Sue noted about the internship was the opportunity for networking – “just meeting [the project’s principal investigator], coming to the social work building, discovering new spaces and exposure to York University.” “If you’re not exposed to an environment,” she says, “it seems so far away, but if you are exposed, if you are in that environment, then you can see that it’s attainable and you

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can start making steps towards it.” Sue expands, “working with research assistants . . . kinda closer to my age, made me reflect and see where I want to be because it’s kinda, like, a stone’s throw away.” Sue felt more motivated to pursue postsecondary education due to her interactions with the research assistants. Part of Sue’s reflections included a candid admission that her previous choice to attend medical administration at college was “a copout” (a skill set to fall back on) for fear of not being wellequipped to handle university and not having good enough marks. Elaborating on the environmental aspects of the internship, Sue mentioned how this internship was less structured and more self-directed than what one experiences in high school or college. it depends what you wanna soak up . . . you can create your own learning opportunities . . . you can take initiatives and think of new ideas, think of different questions, different ways to phrase them, just analyze your own work . . . In school, they already provide structure for you, so you just have to sit, kind of just. . .

When the main interview question was posed to Sue, “what was the most significant change you’ve experienced in yourself as a result of this internship?,” she answered, “Pick and choose your battles . . . not everything is a fight ... sometimes, it’s just a learning experience.” Previously, Sue always felt the need to speak up, to resist, or to say something in order to make the other person see things from her perspective. But while notetaking at research interviews with youth in the community regarding their employment situations, Sue had what she described as a sort of awakening. Sue realized that one does not have to always say what one is thinking. Conducting an interview, she says, teaches you to be quiet, in other words, to listen – “you might be thinking of your own opinion, but you can’t indoctrinate the (other) person with them.” When asked if that skill was transferable to other areas of life, Sue emphatically affirmed, “it teaches you to be diplomatic . . . sometimes you just have to be an observer and just a learner . . . because people who are in a higher position don’t wanna feel like you’re trying to fight them all the time.” Later in the interview, Sue exercised her newly honed critical skills and gave valuable feedback on aspects of the project that could be improved. Her main criticism focused on the rationale and purpose of the project not being clear enough for community stakeholders. Despite being involved with the internship for several months, Sue still did not feel well-versed enough to explain to the community what has been learned from past research done in the Jane-Finch area and how the present research builds on such prior work. In years past, as a participant in research studies, Sue often felt as she was signing over her life when signing a consent form. Now, she better understands the process and has gained an “insider’s perspective” on research. With a talent for coining phrases, Sue said that she did not realize how “administrative” research was going to be – recruitment, screening, consent, demographics, booking appointments –it was a big process! Sue said that she still had a distrust for big institutions, but she said this laughingly and not with bitter animosity.

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Practice Reflections: The Centrality of Relationship Building in Community-Engaged Research with Youth One of the most empowering impacts of youth engagement in research includes the development of relationships that may not otherwise be possible for certain groups of youth. For marginalized youth, youth engagement in research provides opportunities for youth to develop relationships with peers, mentors, and adult allies (Flicker 2008; Ozer and Wright 2012; Powers and Tiffany 2006; Tintiangco-Cubales et al. 2016). Opportunities for relationship building, such as adult-youth pairings in the research process and the development of youth-friendly environments, can provide the context for relationship development (Hawke et al. 2018). Echoing Ozer and Wright (2012) as well as Powers and Tiffany (2006), dominant theme in the four stories by ACT for Youth research interns, was the impact of access to new social relationships particularly with academics and graduate students. For the youth research interns, access to caring adult relationships in the context of a research-oriented community of practice had the effect of reframing the way they thought about their futures and what was possible. As Sue noted, such relationships are critical for youth development: Just meeting [the principal investigator] and coming to the School of Social Work . . . I’ve got more exposure, and networking with researchers, discovering different careers that people are doing, and working with the research assistants who are closer to my age . . . I can kind of reflect and see myself where I want to be, because it’s like a stone’s throw away.

Similarly, Jennifer contended that, through her interaction with graduate students, she felt “like possibilities are kind of endless.” Through the internship Jennifer felt more comfortable interacting with people at university. She says that she used to think, “people in university are so different. But after being here [she realizes] that they’re not like a new or different species.” As the oldest child of immigrants with no experience interacting with the university system, Jennifer said “never thought that I would be talking to PhD students on a conversation level.” Eliza also says that the internship gave her the opportunity to “hang around so many different people that [she] never thought she would have contact with.” The story is repeated by Silvia, who says that “just getting to know people, like professors, and other participants, has given me so much experience . . . I matured a lot. People are giving me a little push, it’s good to see people like that.” The youth interviews clearly reinforce Camino’s (2005) observation that “youth welcome adult participation through coaching, guidance, modeling of behaviors, and sharing tasks” (p.77). The PYD literature is replete with empirical studies which demonstrate that “perceived caring and connectedness to others are critical to health and well-being of youth and that positive support systems across many settings serve as significant protective factors” (Imm et al. 2006 p. 141). Many in the field advocate for the value of thoughtful youth-adult partnerships as opposed to solely youth-led initiatives that may have the effect of reinforcing “age segregation.” Kirshner (2006) argues that it is developmentally positive for youth to have “opportunities to work

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collaboratively or collegially with adults” (p. 39–40). Camino and Zeldin (2006) assert that “isolation between youth and adults is detrimental and important to address because of both theory and research indicating that caring and supportive relationship with nonfamilial adults contribute to the well-being and healthy development of young people” (p.178). Eliza, Sue, Jennifer, and Silvia’s narratives of change through their experiences in ACT for Youth’s youth research internship give “voice” to a newfound capacity to access privileged research-related spaces, social networks, and engaged learning and research processes. One of the dominant metaphors repeated by the youth is that of “opening their eyes”; the previously invisible normative structures of the university come into perspective. Marginalized youth typically do not easily access institutions of higher learning in a capacity that does not frame their participation as “data” (Sanchez 2009). In traditional research, youth “voices” lack “currency unless they are “managed,” coded, analyzed, and quoted by the professionally trained” (Sanchez 2009 p. 93). Universities are often (rightly) perceived by marginalized youth as sites of multiple exclusions. Adults who engage youth in collaborative research must provide them with adequate support, flexibility, and freedom. Adult partners must be as invested as youth in learning to learn as involving youth in research, specifically in a traditional research setting, is a relatively new practice as is the move toward CER or public scholarship. Most academics and community stakeholders are likewise “newcomers” to these practices in the making. We agree with Ginwright and Cammarota (2002) assertion that future studies should consider adult developmental processes in contexts of collaborative research with youth.

Cross-References ▶ Wise Indigenous Community Development Principles and Practices

References ACT for Youth (2013) About. Retrieved from http://www.yorku.ca/act/about.html Ahmadi D (2017) Diversity and social cohesion: the case of Jane-finch, a highly diverse lowerincome Toronto Neighbourhood. Urban Res Pract:1–20. https://doi.org/10.1080/ 17535069.2017.1312509 Ardoin NM, Castrechini S, Hofstedt MK (2014) Youth–community–university partnerships and sense of place: two case studies of youth participatory action research. Children’s Geographies 12:479–496. https://doi.org/10.1080/14733285.2013.827872 Arunkumar K, Bowman DD, Coen SE, El-Bagdady MA, Ergler CR, Gilliland JA, Mahmood A Paul S (2018) Conceptualizing youth participation in children’s health research: insights from a youth-driven process for developing a youth advisory council. Children (Basel, Switzerland), 6(1):3. https://doi.org/10.3390/children6010003

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Berg M, Coman E, Schensul JJ (2009) Youth action research for prevention: a multi-level intervention designed to increase efficacy and empowerment among urban youth. Am J Community Psychol 43:345–359. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10464-009-9231-2 Camino L (2005) Pitfalls and promising practices of youth-adult partnerships: an evaluator’s reflections. J Community Psychol 33(1):75–85 Camino L, Zeldin S (2006) Bridging research and community practice in the field of positive youth development through university outreach. In: Gil Clary E, Rhodes JE (eds) Mobilizing adults for positive youth development: strategies for closing the gap between beliefs and behaviours. Springer, New York, pp 177–192 Canadian Association of Social Workers (2014) About CASW. Retrieved from https://www.caswacts.ca/en/about-casw/about-casw Cahill C (2007) Doing research with youth people: Participatory research and rituals of collective work. Children’s Geographies 5(3):297–312 Christens BD, Speer PW (2015) Community organizing: practice, research and policy implications. Soc Issues Policy Rev 9:193–222. https://doi.org/10.1111/sipr.12014 Dart J, Davies R (2003) A dialogical, story-based evaluation tool: The most significant change technique. Am J Eval 24:137–155 Delavega E, Lennon-Dearing R, Neely-Barnes S, Soifer S, Crawford C (2017) Research note–engaged scholarship: a signature research methodology for social work. J Social Work Educ:1–9. https://doi.org/10.1080/10437797.2016.1269703 Delgado M (2002) New Frontiers for youth development in the twenty-first century: revitalizing and broadening youth development. Columbia University Press, New York Durand TM, Lykes MB (2006) Think globally, act locally: A global perspective on mobilizing adults for positive youth development. In: Gil Clary E, Rhodes JE (eds) Mobilizing adults for positive youth development: Strategies for closing the gap between beliefs and behaviours. Springer, New York, pp 233–254 Fitzgerald HE, Bruns K, Sonka ST, Furco A, Swanson L (2016) The centrality of engagement in higher education. J High Educ Outreach Engagement 20:223–244 Flicker S (2008) Who benefits from community-based participatory research? A case study of the positive youth project. Health Educ Behav 35:70–86 Greene S, Chambers L (2011) Research as practice: the community-based research practicum as anti-oppressive social work education. In: Baines D (ed) Doing anti-oppressive practice: social justice social work, 2nd edn. Fernwood Publishing, Black Point, pp 162–175 Ginwright S, Cammarota J (2002) New terrain in youth development: the promise of a social justice approach. Soc Justice 29:82–95 Gomez RJ, Ryan TN (2016) Speaking out: youth led research as a methodology used with homeless youth. Child Adolesc Soc Work J 33:185–193. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10560-0150414-4 Hawke LD, Relihan J, Miller J, McCann E, Rong J, Darnay K, Docherty S, Chaim G, Henderson JL (2018) Engaging youth in research planning, design and execution: practical recommendations for researchers. Health Expect 21:944–945. https://doi.org/10.1111/hex.12795 Imm P, Kehres R, Wandersman A, Chinman M (2006) Mobilizing communities for positive youth development: lessons learned from neighborhood groups and community coalitions. In: Gil Clary E, Rhodes JE (eds) Mobilizing adults for positive youth development: strategies for closing the gap between beliefs and behaviours. Springer, New York, pp 137–157 International Federation of Social Workers (2014) Global definition of. Soc Work. Retrieved from http://ifsw.org/get-involved/global-definition-of-social-work/ Iwasaki Y, Springett J, Dashora P, McLaughlin AM, McHugh TL, Youth 4 YEG Team (2014) Youth-guided youth engagement: participatory action research (PAR) with high-risk, marginalized youth. Child Youth Serv 35:316–342 Jacquez F, Vaughn LM, Wagner E (2013) Youth as partners, participants or passive recipients: a review of children and adolescents in community-based participatory research (CBPR). Am J Community Psychol 51:176–189. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10464-012-9533-7

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Asset-Based and Place-Based Community Development Strengthening Community through Abundant Community Edmonton Linda Kreitzer, Anne Harvey, and Jesse Orjasaeter

Contents Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Community Development and Social Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Asset-Based Community Development: The Abundant Community Initiative . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . McCauley Neighborhood ACE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ACE Strengths and Challenges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Abstract

Community practice has been an important area in social work practice since the beginning of the profession. In many countries of the world, social workers work with communities, empowering them to develop sustainability and strength. In North America, society generally has high mobility, low interpersonal support from family and friends, and high levels of social isolation. Social work practice tends to focus on individual work and social work education favors clinical social work practice. Neo-liberal policies have affected social development by focusing on economic stability to the detriment of the development of people and communities, with communities experiencing the consequences of a society focused more on the individual than the collective. This chapter focuses on capacity development in a geographical community to illustrate the growing desire to

L. Kreitzer (*) · J. Orjasaeter Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada e-mail: [email protected]; [email protected] A. Harvey Urban Form and Corporate Strategic Development, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 S. Todd, J. L. Drolet (eds.), Community Practice and Social Development in Social Work, Social Work, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-6969-8_8

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mobilize and strengthen local communities in Canada. In Edmonton, Alberta, community development has long been an important part of overall city development, through community leagues and support from the City of Edmonton’s Citizen Services Department. Over 35 neighborhoods are now engaged in Edmonton’s Abundant Community Initiative, locally known as Abundant Community Edmonton (ACE), which combines the asset-based community development approach with a place-based community approach, offering a unique social development outcome for Edmonton. This chapter will describe ACE in general and the experience of a Block Connector in an Edmonton neighborhood in particular, and will discuss the issues surrounding this type of community development and ways forward for future practice with communities. Keywords

Community development · Asset-based · Place-based · Edmonton · McCauley

Introduction The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been a foundation for social values over the years and has localized these rights by developing the UN Millennium Goals (2000–2015) and the Sustainable Development Goals (2016–2030). Against this background of human rights and development is a world in which there is a growing gap between the rich and the poor, where human rights violations are increasing, and where discrimination and oppression are accepted and sometime encouraged (Freedland 2017). Since the end of the Second World War, neo-liberal policies have dominated the world and international financial institutions have been slow to move away from an economic development perspective to one that includes social development (Midgley 1995; Snyder 2012). In North America, society is one of high mobility, low interpersonal support from family and friends, and heightened social isolation (Brown and Hannis 2008). Economic inequality continues to widen (Reuben 2015) and communities are understanding that local initiatives to respond to some of the struggles/hardships experienced by people who are economically and socially vulnerable constitute a positive way forward. Waiting for large institutions to rescue people will take many years and is too late in many instances. Political parties come and go, with different agendas, and this affects how communities can access services. A Canadian example is of how government spending in health, education, and social services decreased when the conservative party, under Stephen Harper, was in power (2006–2015). When the liberal party, under Justin Trudeau, came into power (2015), some of these cutbacks began to be reinstated or redefined into other programs (Young 2016). Social work is a profession that seeks to engage with people at the individual, family, community, and societal level to promote human rights and social justice. The international definition of social work states that

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Social work is a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people. Principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities are central to social work. Underpinned by theories of social work, social sciences, humanities and indigenous knowledges, social work engages people and structures to address life challenges and enhance wellbeing. The above definition may be amplified at national and/or regional levels. (IFSW 2014, para. 1)

According to Payne and Askeland (2008), professional social work is a product of the western industrialized context in which “the state could overcome social problems, using science and knowledge to resolve social problems. . .[In] most countries it is part of state [government] services” (p. 1). However, since the introduction of neo-liberal policies, which advocate for less government expenditure on health, education, and social welfare, services to those in need have been and continue to be reduced and the more vulnerable in society are increasingly at risk. Thus, there has been an increase in nongovernment organizations worldwide working to fill the gap that governments have left in the wake of structural adjustment programs. In North America, clinical social work has dominated social work education (Midgley and Conley 2010). This is partly due to a protestant ethic of hard work, individualism, and remedial interventions, as well as the strong influence of the medical model adopted by social work from medicine. “Social work in child welfare, medical social work, mental health, and other fields of practice are usually associated with remedial social work” (Midgley and Conley 2010, p. 4). Unlike the USA, clinical social work in Canada has “alternated between two seemingly opposing forces” (Lundy and van Wormer 2007, p. 728), namely, individual issues and advocacy issues, with social work education in Canada leaning towards clinical practice (Edwards et al. 2006). At the same time, community practice was important to the growth of the country through the cooperative movement of Moses Coady (Coady International Institute n.d.), under the influence of the Industrial Foundations movement by Saul Alinsky in the USA (Industrial Areas Foundation 2017). Over 30 years ago, in North America, Jody Kretzmann and John McKnight highlighted the emphasis on clinical work in social work education and practice and on needs-based community development practice. They challenged social work approaches that were needs-based and perpetuated a focus on the individual rather than the collective (Kretzmann and McKnight 1993). Although generally well intending, needs-based approaches are often counter-productive as they can create a cycle of dependency and unintentionally disempower people rather than enable them to mobilize the skills, gifts, and abilities that exist within their community (McGrath et al. 1999). In contrast, asset-based approaches focus on strengths and actively involve community members, as will be detailed below. The Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) movement developed and has gained momentum over the past decades in the USA (ABCD 2017; Diers 2004). In Canada, the Tamarack Institute (2017) has been influential in promoting this type of community development. This chapter will discuss the growing concern around the impact of neo-liberal policies and their effects on communities and the growth of ABCD community development in North America. It will illustrate these issues through the example of

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one community in Edmonton that has implemented ABCD and describe how this was carried out through the eyes of a Block Connector (a point-person on a block, cul-de-sac, or in an apartment or condo building, who initiates neighborly connections among others who live around them). This is not a research project but an example, supported by the literature and two authors who worked on the project as a program manager and block connector of ABCD in action in Edmonton. A discussion of the strengths of and challenges to the Asset-Based Community Development approach will conclude this chapter.

Community Development and Social Development Since the creation of the international financial institutions (IFI, e.g., World Bank, International Monetary Fund) after the two World Wars, the adoption of neo-liberal economics has resulted in a disregard for the people and concentration on economic growth alone (Lewis 2005; Wilson and Whitmore 2000). In 1949, the terms “development” and “underdevelopment” were first used, with the assumption that with neo-liberal economic policies, all countries in the world could develop as the western countries had developed, seeing prosperity and wealth (Rist 2008). While setting the stage for a western hegemony (Walsh 2010), this top-down approach has nevertheless failed, mainly due to the lack of inclusion of communities in determining their own future. As Midgley (1995) points out, “cutbacks in social investments, the privatization of social programmes, the abandonment of social planning and similar policy developments which accompanied the rise of the Radical Right have resulted in a significant increase in unmet social need” (p. 65). As a result, some communities have been neglected and community cohesion destroyed due to the lack of attention paid to strengthening communities, bringing community members together, and using local assets (Brown and Hannis 2008). Having said this, there are communities around the world that have rallied together to do exactly that, usually through alternative initiatives to government intervention, such as the asset-based community development movement in North America which will be discussed later (DeFilippis et al. 2010; Kretzmann and McKnight 1993; Yunus 2007). The idea of social development emerged as a way to include people in the development process. As Midgley and Conley (2010, p. xiv) explain: Despite recording respectable rates of growth, poverty remained a huge problem. Criticisms of conventional economic development policies resulted in the advocacy of an alternative people-centred developmental strategy known as social development. Social development advocates insist that economic development policies be combined with social interventions and that the goals of economic development and social well-being be given equal emphasis within the development process. (emphases in original)

Sampson and Drolet (2016) explain the importance of this approach: “Social development and economic development are both essential in order to elevate people’s welfare and foster structural change in society” (p. 79). IFIs have now

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incorporated social development into their approaches. Developmental social work also emerged to counterbalance neoliberal policies, as many countries are still under the structural adjustment programs of the IFI. Social development “transcend[s] practice approaches through adopting social investment strategies that build on peoples’ capabilities to be productive citizens and lead normal and fulfilling lives” (Midgley and Conley 2010, p. xvi), preferably in their communities. This does not mean that there is no role for government interventions or therapeutic practice, but it steers away from these services as the only approaches to social work practice. A good example of social development is the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, which provides support for microenterprises to help people out of poverty through sustainable livelihoods (Yunus 2007). In more recent times, social work has incorporated the empowerment model of practice as well as the strengths-based approach to social work to fill in the gap that the medical model did not address. The global south, having a history of community practice, has been strengthening communities through an emphasis on community practice to deal with environmental disasters, civil wars, and political struggles (Campfens 1997). Strengthening local communities to work together is also crucial due to the impact of climate change. If a community is in chaos and there is little effective communication between the local people, businesses, and government officials, then it is not prepared for potential disasters which could be devastating. The aftermath of hurricane Katrina demonstrated the importance of vibrant neighborhoods in which trust and understanding has been established and people have experience working together (Pyles and Cross 2008). Vibrant communities are essential in a world that is increasingly experiencing environmental disasters and civil wars. As Wheatley (2002) explains: “I don’t meet many people who are optimistic anymore. It doesn’t matter where I am, in what country or organization, or with whom I’m speaking. Almost everyone is experiencing life as more stressful, more disconnected and less meaningful” (p. 14). She advocates for all of us getting back to having face to face conversations that deepen community engagement. With this in mind, the next section introduces the Abundant Community Initiative, which emerged in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with the intent to strengthen neighborhood communities by increasing care and neighborhood connections through face to face interactions among neighbors. Please note that all personal communications were general, informal, and occurred during Anne Harvey’s time as ACI project manager.

Asset-Based Community Development: The Abundant Community Initiative In communities and municipalities across Canada, there is a growing desire for a shift in focus from individual to collective and from independent to interdependent, in essence a desire to renew the communities we call home – our neighborhoods – as capable and caring villages. To meet this desire, an alternative approach to consider is Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD), which focuses on strengths and human assets and facilitates people actively and collectively engaging in the social

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development of their community (Kretzmann and McKnight 1993). John McKnight and Jody Kretzmann at the Institute of Policy Research at Northwestern University built inquiry and research into what makes community initiatives successful to articulate ABCD “as a way of counteracting the predominant needs-based approach to development in the US urban context” (Cunningham and Mathie 2003, p. 475). “As an alternative (to needs-based for example) approach, the appeal of ABCD lies in its premise that people in communities can organise to drive the development process themselves by identifying and mobilising existing (but often unrecognized) assets” (Cunningham and Mathie 2003, p. 473). In this way, people take control of their own community’s growth and development. ABCD is a community development approach which is “asset-based, internally focused and relationship driven” (Kretzmann and McKnight 1993, p. 10). ABCD is an approach at the center of a growing social change movement that positions people at the core of decision making that affects their communities and is relevant in all social sciences and human service related fields of academia and practice. As much as anything, ABCD is a process of reframing a community in terms of the resources that are already at hand – with the intention of using these resources as the basis for collective action. ABCD can thus be considered as one of the strength-based approaches that can be found in a range of fields, including the strengths perspective in Social Work (e.g., Saleebey 2008); positive psychology in Psychology (e.g., Seligman 2004) and appreciative inquiry in Organizational Change (e.g., Cooperrider and Whitney 2005). (Cameron et al. 2017, p. 55; emphases in original)

Jennings (2012) notes that “place-based strategies for improving urban living conditions are gaining increasing attention” (p. 464) and are particularly complementary to the asset-based community development approach. The grassroots or place-based community approach is one in which community members are empowered to make decisions concerning their own community issues and together strengthen community engagement. The complex social problems of today can be daunting when we work to generate solutions globally, nationally, or regionally. When we pare down to the granular level, it becomes more manageable to collectively address social problems at their root. “Place, particularly the smaller local space we call our home, our community, our neighbourhood, holds the promise of being an antidote to the institutional juggernauts around us. It is here that we make connections and can find in each other the resources to effect meaningful change in our day-to-day world” (Orr et al. 2013, p. h). “Broadly, place-based strategies seek to strengthen neighborhoods and community-based organizations” (Jennings 2012, p. 464). Infused with an Asset-Based Community Development approach, placebased community work invites and enables people to collectively improve the social wellness of their community. The Abundant Community Initiative (ACI) is a grassroots community development initiative that began in one neighborhood in Edmonton, Alberta, in 2013, supported and nurtured by the Neighborhood Services Section of the City of Edmonton’s (the City) Citizen Services Department. The City has a strong history

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of supporting citizens to participate in civic life and to create vibrant, inclusive neighborhood communities. As articulated by the director of the Neighborhood Services Section (personal communication, October 23, 2017), “The City recognizes the limitations of systems, however effective, to address all social complexities, needs and aspirations of citizens” and was intrigued by the potential for the ACI approach to help create communities of mutual care and support. ACI has since spread to several other municipalities across North America, and so in Edmonton it is now referred to as Abundant Community Edmonton (ACE), supported and continually developed by the City in collaboration with participating neighborhood communities. ACE provides an example of ABCD in action with a place-based approach overlay, positioning neighborhoods as the key social units to achieve manageable scale or scope for meaningful ABCD social and community development to occur. It has been noted as an initiative that is slowly yet steadily reversing the effects of social exclusion and marginalization associated with neoliberalism, social isolation, and discontent with the world today, one neighborhood block at a time. It is important to set the stage for this initiative by first reviewing another important Edmonton community initiative from 1917, that of community leagues (EFCL 2014). In Edmonton, a unique social infrastructure exists that yields the potential for a more granular level of neighborhood engagement and community organizing, providing an opportunity for transformational social and community development at the neighborhood level. This social infrastructure is comprised of 159 neighborhoodbased nonprofit organizations called community leagues. Community leagues emerged in the early 1900s out of the residents’ desire to have “a united voice that could compete with those who had the ear of the City – the developers and trade boards” (EFCL 2014, para. 4). Since their beginnings, the leagues have sought to provide “civic advocacy on behalf of community, plus develop social and recreational opportunities and infrastructure” (EFCL 2014, para. 1). The original “guidelines of the league were to ensure it was all-inclusive, regardless of class or ethnicity, open to men and women (well ahead of its time) and have no affiliation with any political party or religious order” (EFCL 2014, para. 1). To this day, the majority of the 159 community leagues maintain these same guidelines in terms of developing social and recreational opportunities and managing their infrastructure. However, there is room to grow in terms of meaningful engagement of the majority of the neighborhoods for the purpose of social and community development and civic advocacy. Within this deeply rooted social landscape, the Abundant Community Initiative, an iteration of Asset-Based Community Development founded on the principles and philosophies articulated in the book The Abundant Community (McKnight and Block 2010), emerged and is steadily and organically growing. A long-time resident of the Edmonton neighborhood of Highlands, Howard Lawrence, was inspired by the work of Jody Kretzmann and John McKnight (1993) and energized by the potential of place-based strategies. Drawing on his personal and professional experience in community development, he built a proposal for how to put asset-based community development and place-based community work strategies into practice.

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In 2013, Lawrence approached a City employee – Anne Harvey – who was geographically assigned to support community development related work in his neighborhood with the idea to begin a pilot project on his own block (A. Harvey, personal communication, January 12, 2018). With endorsement and support from the City via the director at the time, ongoing contributions from John McKnight and Peter Block, and in collaboration with many neighbors in the Highlands (and later, several other neighborhoods), the Abundant Community Initiative steadily grew. The initiative continues to be endorsed and supported by the City through the Neighborhoods Services Section and is referred to as Abundant Community Edmonton (ACE). It is part of a steadily increasing number of municipalities across North America who have used the learnings from the Edmonton approach to enhance their existing local community building efforts; they make up the larger Abundant Community Initiative. ACE is a grassroots approach that includes ABCD principles and practices that “guide community development efforts in troubled neighbourhoods and have been reformulated to provide a theoretical background for community development in every neighbourhood” (personal communication, 2015; emphases added). It came to life in a practical neighborhood engagement and organizing framework that began in one neighborhood (Highlands) and is now being used in 56+ neighborhoods (out of a total of approximately 250 residential neighbourhoods) in Edmonton and beyond. From consumers to citizens. According to McKnight and Block (2010, p. 2): most all of us live in a democracy, a politics that gives us the freedom to create our vision and the power to make that vision come true. We strive to be citizens - people with the vision and the power to create our own way, a culture of community capacity, connection, and care.

Through experiential challenges and successes, people involved in the steadily growing ACE community are part of and contributing to a social movement that positions people as citizens rather than consumers and recognizes that “each community [or neighbourhood, the type of community being focused on with ACE] boasts a unique combination of assets upon which to build its future” (Kretzmann and McKnight 1996, p. 25). In Edmonton, the existence of community leagues has provided a social environment in which ACE can prosper: “Edmonton community leagues are ideally situated to strengthen neighbourhoods through their mandate, networks, connections and relationships in the neighbourhoods they serve” (Lawrence, personal communication, 2015). And in return, ACE provides a process and accompanying resources to build upon the existing social and community development efforts of a community league and increase involvement and representation of the community league through local relationships and connections at the block level (the term block is used to represent an actual street block, cul-de-sac, or apartment/ condo building floor – essentially a small geographical area that people call home). The ACE model. The ACE framework encourages people to self-identify as leaders, referred to in the ACE model as Block Connectors, on the block where they live. These emergent leaders (Stelzner and Wielkiewicz 2005) initiate and facilitate relationship building among neighbors. Once a relationship has been

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established, Block Connectors facilitate intentional conversations that focus on three topics: (1) vision for the neighborhood; (2) activities people would like to engage in with their neighbors; and (3) skills, gifts, abilities, and experiences people would like to share with and offer to their neighbors. This intentional conversation is an example of asset mapping, which is an ABCD practice – the Block Connectors are in effect asset (or capacity) mapping their neighbors (see Fig. 1). As the number of Block Connectors increases in a neighborhood, there is a need for the next layer of organization and coordination to be activated and so the role of a Neighborhood Connector naturally emerges (the ACE organizational framework is illustrated in Fig. 2). A Neighborhood Connector is someone who lives in the neighborhood who takes on the local leadership role of coordinating and mentoring Block Connectors. The Neighborhood Connector generally works with the community league leadership, as well as with others from the neighborhood who come forward and take on support roles according to their skills and interests (identified through the intentional conversations mentioned previously). They bring valuable information forward to the community league from the Block Connectors regarding what is important to people, what they like to do, and how they would like to contribute to neighborhood life. This information can then be used to inform the decisions made by the community league regarding programs, services, and projects in the neighborhood. It is anticipated that neighborhood leaders such as Neighborhood Connectors, in partnership with their community league executive, could share

Fig. 1 ACE Asset Mapping Tool, by A. Harvey, July 2017, Edmonton, AB

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Fig. 2 ACE Organizational Framework of Connectors. From the ACE Resource Guide Edition 1 (City of Edmonton 2019). (Revised and reprinted with permission)

Neighborhood Leadership Support Team (individuals from the neighbourhood) Neighborhood Connector Block Connector Household

this information with the City, which would help inform plans for the provision of programs and services (personal communication, 23 Oct 2017). Essentially, ACE (and broadly, ACI) strives to encourage and enable neighborhoods to nurture and grow a neighborly city, one block at a time, and to stimulate and sustain neighborliness as an important social behavior, revitalizing the lost art of neighboring. Additionally, ACI/ACE recognizes that each neighborhood is like a village rich in human assets that are in many cases undiscovered and latent. Kretzmann and McKnight (1996) describe how to gather the human assets of the community: A thorough map of those assets would begin with an inventory of the gifts, skills and capacities of the community’s residents. Household by household, building by building, block by block, the capacity map-makers will discover a vast and often surprising array of individual talents and productive skills, few of which are being mobilized for communitybuilding purposes (p. 25).

Discovery and activation of these assets enrichens a sense of community and wellness in a neighborhood and enables neighborhood communities to increase, build upon, and sustain a local culture of care and connection. Place-based community development – neighborhoods as places for social change. ACI/ACE is a progressive approach with ambitious hopes for transformative social change. It posits that the neighborhood or, smaller still, the block, is a manageable and meaningful scale to begin. ACI/ACE encourages neighborliness and hopes to achieve benefits such as improved health and wellness, an increase in social inclusion, and an increase in local care of seniors and children. It hopes to encourage an increase in stewardship of neighborhoods, parks, urban forests, natural areas, and built infrastructure; an increase in local recreation and social opportunities; an increase in resiliency (i.e. disaster preparedness); and an increase in neighborhood safety. These big picture issues that are generally important to most people

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are best addressed in a neighborhood. In this way, ACE looks at community of place first (e.g., where we live) and then community of affinity (e.g., common ethnicity, culture, religion, language, activities, interests, age, sexual identity, etc.). It provides a reminder that the relationships with neighbors are important – not everyone has the benefit of family and or friends in their lives, but everyone has neighbors. Solving the social problems of our times feels daunting when we think about a whole continent, country, province, or city. But if we scale down to the neighborhood and even further, to the block, we have a manageable and meaningful realm to work in, for all of us with our “citizen hats” on, as we get to know our neighbors and collectively increase our sense of community at the grassroots. Building neighborly relationships and connections at the block level creates a culture of care and connection in which people look out for each other and feel an increased sense of pride for and belonging in their community, which leads to a gamut of benefits and provides the social building blocks for creating a more caring and connected city of neighborhoods. For social workers engaged in community practice, to have a local structure like this to work with for community projects is a benefit to the social worker and community. Community practice is all about relationship building and entering a community where relationships have already been established will enhance a community worker’s ability to engage in that community in less time than might be expected. A social worker can start from the strengths of the community and with this initiative in place, those strengths have already been assessed. On a broader level, “emerging research is demonstrating how community engagement can contribute to improved health outcomes, better financial performance and strengthened community identity” (Etherington et al. 2013, p. 3). Thus, community engagement helps strengthens healthy communities, which in turn creates healthier families and individuals, thus reducing a social worker’s involvement at the individual, family, and group levels. A movement that is steadily building momentum. In response to an article which mentioned ACI (Brooks 2016), McKnight sent in a letter of appreciation and affirmation which included the following excerpt: The Abundant Community Initiative discovery is that typically isolated and disconnected neighbors, the North American rule rather than the exception, are actually brought together in powerful new ways if you focus on what they have and want to contribute. While neighbors will frequently not respond to issues or programs, if they are asked what they would like to contribute - their gifts, skills, passions and knowledge - the positive response is universal!...The point here is that as neighbors redefined themselves as consumers and clients rather than productive citizens, they came to believe that any ‘need’ could be met by purchases in the marketplace. They came to believe that they did not need their neighbors. The Edmonton discovery is that the tie that now can bind us once again is our ‘need’ to contribute to neighbors, and to receive their gifts. (McKnight, personal communication, August 16, 2016)

The number of neighborhoods involved in the initiative in Edmonton is steadily increasing, and so is the number of other municipalities adopting the approach and

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framework. An example of a community in Edmonton going through the process of adopting the ACE model will now be described through the eyes and experience of a Block Connector, to illustrate how ACE works with a more vulnerable community in Edmonton – the McCauley neighborhood.

McCauley Neighborhood ACE The community of McCauley has always been a multicultural and multifaceted neighborhood in its demographics and socioeconomics. While the Town of Edmonton was incorporated in 1892, followed by designation as a City in 1905, the development of McCauley as a neighborhood began when it became the location of the City’s first streetcar in 1908. This was followed shortly afterwards by residential and commercial development in the area (City of Edmonton 2014a). The most recent municipal census measured the population of McCauley as 4799 (City of Edmonton 2016a). McCauley is situated close to downtown Edmonton and is considered one of its inner-city communities. Between 2009 and 2016, each Edmonton neighborhood experienced on average 473 crime incidents (including assault, break and enter, homicide, robbery, sexual assault, theft from vehicle, theft of vehicle, and theft over $5000) (City of Edmonton n.d.). In comparison, in the same time period, McCauley experienced 3962 incidents (City of Edmonton n.d). About eight percent of the overall City population reported earning less than $30,000 per year, compared to almost 23 percent of McCauley residents (City of Edmonton n.d.). While high school completion is similar across both samples, about six percent of McCauley residents reported gaining a college certificate or diploma, while the average across the city is about 13 percent. The community reports a higher than average use of Cantonese, Tagalog, North American Indigenous, and “other” languages. There is also a higher use of public transit and walking in McCauley than across the City as a whole. In terms of employment, while Edmonton reports about 28 percent of people working full time, only about 14 percent report this in McCauley. About three percent of people in McCauley are permanently unable to work, compared to just below one percent in the city as a whole (City of Edmonton 2016a, b). Over time, McCauley has been home to a diversity of groups and places, such as Edmonton’s several Chinatowns, Little Italy, Commonwealth Stadium, and Church Street (a residential street lined with an “unusually high density of churches whose spires dominate its streetscape”; City of Edmonton 2014b). Based on data from 2006, of the people in the city who identified as Aboriginal (“Aboriginal identity refers to whether the person reported identifying with the Aboriginal peoples of Canada. This includes those who reported being an Aboriginal person, that is, First Nations (North American Indian), Métis or Inuit and/or those who reported Registered or Treaty Indian status, that is registered under the Indian Act of Canada, and/or those who reported membership in a First Nation or Indian band. Aboriginal peoples of Canada are defined

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in the Constitution Act, 1982, Section 35 (2) as including the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada” (Statistics Canada 2019, para 1)), between 11.7 and 20.8% lived in the McCauley neighborhood, compared to the 5.6% average across Edmonton (M.A.P. S. Alberta Capital Region 2006). As well as being a source of entertainment and culture for Edmonton, McCauley also serves as a hub for the majority of the city’s social services. While there has historically been a stigma towards the McCauley area due to a reputation for prostitution, drugs, and high crime rate, this image is simultaneously challenged by its active community league, annual events (i.e. Viva Italia Festival, Heart of the City Festival, Lunar New Year celebrations), numerous community gardens, and Neighborhood Revitalization Program. Due in part to the historical complexity of McCauley, there is an ongoing challenge with urban and social isolation. This complexity makes ACE a particular challenge to implement. A Block Connector’s (BC) task in this community, talking to people one-on-one, challenges this historical isolation. Affordable housing has often been concentrated in McCauley (City of Edmonton 2016a). For those financially and socially impacted by the effects of political economics, commonly the most vulnerable and marginalized groups in society, the act of talking to people and listening to their experiences, become a political movement. While initial conversations may not make an immediate political difference, the Block Connector, in helping to create connections between neighbors, literally brings people together, which defies the social isolation that has been historically present. The role of the Block Connector (BC). For many BCs, it can be a challenge to start knocking on doors and introducing themselves, despite the simplicity of the idea. The Neighborhood Connector (NC), therefore, provides constant encouragement to the BCs and often will support them on how to begin. As may be found in other communities that face similar challenges with social stigma, door-knocking in McCauley is particularly challenging, perhaps due to the discomfort with who will be on the other side of the door. Some houses in the area go as far as to padlock their gates at the sidewalk to prevent people from coming onto the property and/or knocking on the door/ringing the doorbell. It is also common for people to simply not answer their door despite being at home. In order to overcome these barriers to block connecting, the BC needs to be creative, enthusiastic, patient, and persistent. Although this is a volunteer position, the success of ACE relies on significant time commitment by the BCs (Please note that all BC quotes below are from the co-author of this book chapter, Jesse Orjasaeter). Jesse describes how they made initial contacts with community members in creative ways, and the support of the NC: As a BC with a busy schedule, I tried to find ways to incorporate block connecting into my every-day life. For example, if I was walking to a store nearby and saw a neighbor leaving their house, I would take the opportunity to go over and introduce myself. . . with the understanding that I was attempting to create and sustain relationships, I found it best to be patient and follow-up with continued ‘visits’ and/or informal conversations. The NC, being supportive and encouraging, kept in contact with me to collect increasingly detailed information about the community. Monthly meetings with other ACE BCs help to sustain momentum and share ideas for connecting.

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Although the initial door knocking is difficult, over time the community gets to know the BCs and it becomes easier to connect with people in the neighborhood. Early on, the NC encourages the BC to organize events or activities that will bring people on the block together. This is seen as more of a natural way of connecting people than individual door-to-door introductions and may expedite the relationship building process. A classic example of such activities is the block party. Connectors understand the impact of the block party in bringing people together over everyone’s favorite thing: food. By making the block party a “potluck,” the community is brought closer together, sharing each other’s food, often providing windows into conversations (e.g., “You pickled this yourself?!”). Jesse describes their recent block party: At a recent block party in McCauley, a member of the community, although disinterested in attending the party, offered his knowledge as a long-time resident that the people on our block would not join us if the party was actually located on our street, but that it would be more successful in the nearby park one block over. Despite not attending the party, his idea was correct, and our next block party in the park had over 50 people come out to share food and conversation. Although not being physically present, he contributed to the block party in his own way, and on his own terms. (personal communication)

Smaller, more frequent events are helpful as well in providing increased contact with ACE for people on the block. Jesse describes some of these smaller events: A simple and cost-effective way of connecting people was hosting a “CommuniTEA” event on our street. I set up a table and some chairs, boiled water and provided free tea, coffee, and hot chocolate (with marshmallows, of course). Similar to the block party, food and drink seem to be a key to community building. One day it was raining heavily all afternoon. I did not think anyone would show up as I stood there at the table under an umbrella. Surprisingly, it was even busier than on the previous sunny day, although in an unintended way. While home owners on the block tended to stay in their houses and were sometimes seen peeking out their windows (likely questioning my motives and/or state of mind for standing in the rain all day), others would be passing through, usually soaked from the rain, and would stop for a hot chocolate and a conversation under my umbrella, thus literally bringing us closer together. (personal communication)

Jesse reflects on this experience: This brought up some significant issues for me about how one may understand about who lives in their community. While door-to-door communication is important in connecting to home owners and renters, these may not be the only people living on the block. I tried to keep this thought with me after the event, handing out invitation leaflets to people in shelters on the boulevard or in the alleys, as well as to the houses. Providing inclusive opportunities for everyone who spends time in the community will ultimately facilitate a deeper understanding of who and what your community is defined by. (personal communication)

Block Connectors and advocacy. When speaking with BCs, some residents would distance themselves from any connection with the neighborhood; some home owners would express their frustration with elements of the community, and

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concerns with neighbors or “trouble properties.” For example, there has been considerable debate about the location of future supervised safe injection sites in the McCauley area. This issue comes up often when community connections are being made, with some residents interested in connecting with other neighbors with similar concerns. While ACE tends to focus on the skills and interests of community members to create and strengthen connections, the energy that may come from frustration and anger may also be a powerful opportunity to connect people who are feeling the same way. Thus, ACE becomes more than a simple conversation, but also a tool for gathering people together in opposition to a larger issue. Jesse shares their reflections on their experiences in McCauley: While my experience in McCauley has been focused on early relationship building with people on my block, as a BC I will be aiming to intentionally learn about their skills and interests that they bring to the community, as well as their vision for what they would like to see in McCauley. As seen in other neighbourhoods who have utilized ACE, a database of these skills and interests are used to help connect people across the neighbourhood and potentially across other neighbourhoods as further connections are built. (personal communication)

Summary of ACE and McCauley neighborhood. The success of ACI in Edmonton (ACE) is demonstrated by the fact that an increasing number of neighborhoods are choosing to use the approach to build community in their neighborhood. Individuals, households, community groups, and community leagues are increasingly reaching out to the City of Edmonton for assistance with getting started with the ACE model of asset-based, place-based community development. As ACE spreads, it is important to examine some of the obstacles and challenges to this type of community development initiative, as discussed below.

ACE Strengths and Challenges When advocating for a community development approach, there are challenges and potential obstacles that need to be considered. Here, we, as authors of this chapter and involved in ACE, share our own thoughts on challenges to the project including inclusion of diverse groups, macro level changes, City support, and the dependence on volunteers. Inclusion of diverse groups. Over the course of volunteering, one McCauley BC heard concerns from some residents that the ACE process may favor a white, middle to upper class demographic, who, because of their economic and social privilege, have more time to spend on socializing and being involved in the ACE initiative. Despite the high number of people identifying as Indigenous, for example, there is a concerning lack of Indigenous representation in the McCauley neighborhood structures (including ACE), and across the city as a whole. At the time of writing (2017), discussions were taking place about developing a “cultural connector” role that would work within ACE to help address the historical exclusion of Indigenous people from Canadian society. Indeed, if community events are being planned in

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McCauley and Indigenous people are not attending, can one say that they were truly “community events”? In line with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) (a response and action to the abuses indigenous peoples experienced through the Indian residential school system) Calls to Action (TRC 2015), efforts must be made to critically ask who ACE is benefiting, and if it is supposed to truly be everyone, how will that be accomplished in a culturally competent manner. Macro level changes. There has been criticism of ABCD in relation to its potential to promote social change at the macrolevel. As explained earlier, the approach is specifically focused on grassroots neighborhood change and citizen focused community development. However, for one, addressing social isolation is a political act and, for another, when local community changes, the wider city, province, and country all benefit from strong communities (DeFilippis et al. 2010; Taylor 2007; Wheatley 2002). When local citizens come together, social advocacy emerged naturally as issues arise within the community, as with the example of the safe injection sites above. City support. With the City of Edmonton playing such a key role in the development and support of the ACE model since its beginning in 2013, City staff have been conscious of the importance of sustaining the grassroots quality of the initiative and have been intentional about ensuring it remains citizen-initiated and citizen-led, and at the same time, City-supported. The City’s support has been significant. In the early development stage, City support included providing a community initiative grant to the Highlands Community League in 2013 for the initial pilot project. In 2014, the City began funding full-time coordinating and program development staff to support neighbourhood groups with using the ACE model and managed the design and production of key resources such as the ACE Resource Guide (City of Edmonton 2017). More broadly speaking, the City promotes many important social behaviors via public education and awareness campaigns, including messages that encourage care of trees, storing rather than pouring drains, going bagless, recycling, and others. In addition, the City is encouraging neighborliness as a vital social behavior and contributor towards the overall wellness of the city. At the same time, the City has been careful to ensure that ACE remains a citizeninitiated and citizen-led effort. Citizens – households, informal groups of neighbors, and community leagues – choose to use the ACE model and adapt and modify it as it makes sense for the unique characteristics of their neighborhood. There are elements of the model that remain constant, such as its implementation of an asset-based community development approach and a place-based community approach, and upholding the important role of the Block Connectors and Neighborhood Connectors. And there are implementation strategies that are adapted and modified, such as small changes to the intentional conversations that Connectors initiate with their neighbors, the creation of new resources (e.g. postcards and lawn signs), unique combinations of neighborhood social events, and variances in the way a neighborhood gets started with ACE (e.g., large information sessions, short presentations at existing neighborhood meetings such as community league board meetings, hiring a Neighborhood Connector at the beginning vs. building a network of Block connectors first, etc.). Each new neighborhood group and community league that becomes

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involved in the growing ACE community brings forward new ideas and contributes to the always evolving model. The initiative is dynamic, always in a state of growth, and continually informed by the experiences of each person who is involved. Dependence on volunteers. Interestingly, although the ACE model depends on people contributing their time as BCs and in support roles to BCs and NCs, a diverse selection of people involved in ACE in their neighborhood say that block connecting is simply a way of being or living, rather than volunteering. Just as a person would likely not identify as a volunteer when they help a family member or friend, in many cases the Connectors and support team members involved in ACE are not identifying as volunteers. There was a valid concern in the early days of ACE in Edmonton that the model would not work due to a shortage of willing “volunteers.” With many community leagues already struggling with a shortage of volunteers, the assumption was that the ACE model would also experience the same shortage. However, what those initiating ACE in their neighborhood experienced is that people are showing interest in and deciding to engage as BCs and in support roles alongside the Connectors because they have an interest in contributing to neighbourhood life. City of Edmonton staff who support and coordinate roles with ACE have noticed a trend in the reflections shared by people involved in ACE and have come to this conclusion: what makes the ACE model successful is that people are being invited to contribute to neighborhood life in a way that is defined by their unique interests and abilities, rather than being asked to volunteer to meet a specific need or fill a specific role (e.g., fill a certain role on a community league board or help out with a particular event or program in the neighborhood). This slight shift – from an ask to an invite – combined with an intentional focus on what people are good at and what they like to spend their time doing has had positive results in terms of growing numbers of people engaged in the ACE model where they live.

Conclusion Grassroots community development is increasing in North America and in particular cities across Canada. As Born (2014) suggests: Community is not automatic; we cannot assume that it is what it should be; we cannot stand on the sidelines and just hope that things will work out. . .I believe that today the onus is on us to define community, to choose community, to make community. (p. 5)

Those involved in this social and community building movement are hopeful that it is only a matter of time before ACI reaches a tipping point. Visualize the positive impact people are having in the lives of neighbors on their block, and then imagine it multiplied across a neighborhood, a city, a province, a country, or an entire continent. The potential for transformative social change through social and community development work is positively staggering. With people taking on leadership roles and facilitating neighborliness where they live, the incredible assets of community members are being rediscovered and activated; neighborhoods are increasing their

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sense of community, connection, and care; and people are shifting from consumer back to citizen. As Wheatley (2002, p. 19) states: “People are the solution to the problems that confront us. Technology is not the solution although it can help. We are the solution.” Abundant Community Edmonton (ACE) is a citizen-led, dynamic initiative that is constantly evolving. This chapter reflects a historical view on how ACE began in Edmonton (City of Edmonton 2020). We close this chapter with Jesse’s story of success and joy of making a positive connection in their community. Recently, while walking down my block to work in the morning, I came across a fluffy white dog running on the street. Some people were walking by, looking at the dog, and then continuing their journey. The dog looked familiar and I quickly realized that this was my neighbour’s dog whom I had briefly met while block connecting. Although it had been a brief encounter, I remembered speaking with the woman while she was holding the dog and learning about her upcoming visit by some grandkids and her plans for working on the backyard. I led the dog back to their house and, sure enough, the woman was anxiously yelling the dog’s name. Without the opportunity to take a moment and try to build a relationship with this neighbour, I never would have known she even had a dog. I think about the people who were walking by Fluffy and realize that, if they knew the person that dog was connected to – even if they had just met that person briefly – they likely would not have simply walked by. This seems to be a key element of block connecting: that once a connection is made, that person’s life as well as your own, has one more individual who is aware of and cares for your existence, thus challenging the isolation often inherent in our current neoliberal-minded society (personal communication).

References Asset-Based Community Development Institute (ABCD) (2017) Home page. Available via https:// resources.depaul.edu/abcd-institute/Pages/default.aspx. Accessed 23 Jun 2019 Born P (2014) Deepening community. Berrett-Koehler, San Francisco Brooks D (2016) The great affluence fallacy. The New York Times, August 9. Available via https:// www.nytimes.com/2016/08/09/opinion/the-great-affluence-fallacy.html. Accessed 23 Jun 2019 Brown JD, Hannis D (2008) Community development in Canada. Pearson Education, Toronto Cameron J, Gibson K, Mathie A (2017) Asset-based and citizen-led development: using a diffracted power lens to analyze the possibilities and challenges. Prog Dev Stu 17:54–66 Campfens H (1997) Introduction review of community development: theory and practice. In: Campfens H (ed) Community development around the world: practice, theory, research training. University of Toronto, Toronto, pp 3–10 Coady International Institute. (n.d.) The Antigonish movement. St. Francis Xavier University. Available via https://coady.stfx.ca/the-history-of-coady/ Accessed 9 July 2019 Cooperrider D, Whitney D (2005) Appreciative Inquiry: A positive revolution in change. BerretKhoehler, San Francisco, CA City of Edmonton. (n.d.) Edmonton’s crime stats. Available via http://ace.edmonton.ca/projects/ visualizations/edmontons-crime-stats/. Accessed 23 Jun 2019 City of Edmonton (2017) Resource guide for neighborhood leadership and neighbourhood connectors. Available via https://www.edmonton.ca/programs_services/for_communities/abun dant-community-edmonton.aspx. Accessed 10 July 2019 City of Edmonton (2016a) McCauley neighbourhood. 2016 Municipal Census. Available via https://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/facts_figures/municipal-census-results.aspx. Accessed 23 Jun 2019

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Community Practice in a Context of Precarious Immigration Status Maximizing Power, Minimizing Risk Jill Hanley, Jaime Lenet, and Sigalit Gal

Contents Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Organizing with Precarious and Non-status Migrants: Review of the Literature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Defining Precarious Immigration Status . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Living with Precarious Status . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Challenges to Organizing Precarious Status Migrants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rising up with Precarious Status . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Community Practices That Protect and Empower Precarious Status Migrants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Precarious/Non-status Migrant Organizing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Challenges of Community Practice with Precarious and Non-status Migrants . . . . . . . . . Recommendations for Community Work with Precarious and Non-status Migrants . . . . . . . Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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As the global movement of people reaches unprecedented levels, Western governments are increasingly obsessed with border enforcement and migration management. This has resulted in the creation of complex and ever-changing immigration systems, contributing to the proliferation of new and complicated categories of migration status. Increasing numbers of migrants are finding themselves with precarious forms of immigration status and/or no status at all. People in this situation constantly live with the threat of criminalization and J. Hanley (*) School of Social Work, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada e-mail: [email protected] J. Lenet · S. Gal McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada e-mail: [email protected]; [email protected] © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 S. Todd, J. L. Drolet (eds.), Community Practice and Social Development in Social Work, Social Work, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-6969-8_3

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deportation – a situation well-documented to have serious economic, social, and health consequences for individuals and communities. What then of community organizing and community development with people who live under the specter of such threats? Scholarship on community organizing has generally tended to overlook the needs and activism of this population and/or to imply that organizing with precarious and non-status migrants is either practically too difficult or ethically too risky. This chapter challenges the notion that precarious and non-status migrants do not or should not organize and provide insight into the particularities of social work with this community. We begin by looking at how literature describes the risks and challenges associated with organizing this population. We then review the findings of an empirical study conducted in Montreal, shedding light on the forms of individual support, community organizing, and policy advocacy that take place among precarious and non-status migrants. We conclude with a discussion of the importance of organizing with this community and on methods for maximizing their power while minimizing the risk of detention and deportation. Keywords

Migration · Precarious immigration status · Undocumented migrants · Community organizing · Human rights · Social rights · Deportation · Social policy · Community practice

Introduction In recent decades, there has been growing concern about the nation-state’s ability to manage international migration. Since the September 11 attacks in 2001 in the United States, and the ongoing threat and actualization of similar attacks in Europe and across the West, security has become central to the political rhetoric surrounding borders (Bourbeau 2017). With the rise of far-right movements in many parts of Europe, and the election of Trump in the United States, the focus on irregular migration, framed as a threat to national security and stability, has become acutely hostile. In the push to formalize border security and manage migration flows, countries around the world have contributed to the proliferation of potential immigration statuses (Lacroix 2014), each with their own degree of access to rights. This has led directly to a growth in the number of people who find themselves with temporary or precarious immigration status or no legal status at all (Hollifield et al. 2014). This phenomenon has class, racial, and gendered overtones, (Ferguson and McNally 2015; Gerard 2014), which subject individuals and communities to intersecting forms of oppression that have real-life consequences on human and social welfare. Migrants who find themselves within these systems of precarious status live with the constant threat of criminalization and deportation (Goldring and Landolt 2013) – a situation well-documented to have serious economic, social, and health

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consequences for both individuals and communities (Hynie et al. 2016; Lewis et al. 2015; Parson et al. 2016; Walsh et al. 2016). So, what then of community organizing and community development with people who live with such threats hanging over them? Scholarship on community organizing has generally tended to overlook the needs and activism of this population and/or to imply that organizing with precarious and non-status migrants is either practically too difficult or ethically too risky. This chapter challenges the notion that precarious and non-status migrants do not or should not organize and provide insight into the particularities of working with this community. We begin by looking at the risks and challenges associated with organizing this population as described in the literature on this topic. We then review the findings of an empirical study conducted in Montreal, shedding light onto the particular forms of individual support, community organizing, and policy advocacy that take place among precarious and non-status migrants. We conclude with a discussion on the importance of organizing with this community and on methods for maximizing their power while minimizing the risk of detention and deportation.

Organizing with Precarious and Non-status Migrants: Review of the Literature In the following section, we present a discussion of literature that helps to establish the context within which this chapter is presented. We begin with a discussion of the concepts of “precarious immigration status” and deportability and their implications with regard to accessing human and social rights. We then turn to an examination of the practical and moral challenges of community organizing with this population before exploring ideas from the relatively small body of literature on organizing with precarious and non-status migrants.

Defining Precarious Immigration Status The concept of “precarious immigration status” emerged in the early 2000s (Sheppard 2000; Gagnon 2002; Oxman-Martinez and Lapierre-Vincent 2002) and is used most often to describe the legal categories created by immigration policies that impose only the temporary right to stay in a country and/or that tie such rights to a third party. It refers to immigration statuses that are temporary, in that they provide no permanent right to stay or access to citizenship rights, and precarious in that a person’s right to stay is contingent upon the decisions and/or continued favor of an employer, family member, or government institution (immigration body, school). Research and advocacy make clear that the use of such precarious policy designations (in contrast to permanent status) has gendered and racialized implications in terms of accessing human rights in general and social rights in particular (Magalhaes et al. 2010; Goldring and Landolt 2013; Ferguson and McNally 2015).

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While the use of the term “precarious immigration status” has been adopted more widely in Canada than elsewhere to describe temporary forms of migration status, the increasing presence of migrants with no legal status in destination countries across the West has given way to a precariousness defined not only by temporary/ dependent status but by the absence of status and an extreme set of barriers to accessing civil, political, and social rights. While those with temporary or precarious status often face restricted access to human and social rights as well as to the benefits of the welfare state, those with no status typically face almost complete exclusion, risking detention and/or deportation should they engage in any way with the services of the state.

Living with Precarious Status Undocumented migrants and those with precarious status are excluded from participating in, and benefitting from, the host society in multiple ways. Firstly, they are not generally given full access to health services. They may be given limited access (e.g., for emergencies or public health matters), be charged for service, or be prohibited from using services altogether. Where access is possible, many migrants avoid using health services for fear of detection. It is not surprising then that precarious and non-status migrants are known to experience worse physical and mental health outcomes than the general population (Martinez et al. 2015; Hynie et al. 2016). Secondly, access to education, considered a universal children’s right, is also complicated by immigration status. Some states and jurisdictions require documentation and/or permanent immigration status to enroll a child, while others do not. In Canada, for example, it can be very difficult to enroll a child in primary or secondary education if the parents do not have legal status (Hanley et al. 2017; Meloni et al. 2017). In the United States, proof of legal status is not generally required. Nowhere does access to postsecondary education seem to be on par with those who have permanent status and/or citizenship. Postsecondary education is either impossible or requires paying international or out-of-state tuition fees, which are unattainable for the average precarious status youth (Rincón 2008; Dougherty et al. 2010). Housing security is also affected by precarious status. While proof of immigration status is not required to access private sector rental housing and provincial tenant rights are not related to status, most forms of social housing or rent subsidies are. In addition, a lack of permanent immigration status is sometimes used by unscrupulous landlords as a basis for discrimination or exploitation (Walsh et al. 2016). Precarious migrants’ difficulties accessing health care or secure employment also intersect with their ability to achieve housing security (Hanley et al. 2019). Finally, employment opportunity and standards are areas that are deeply affected by immigration status. Obtaining decent work (a project often thwarted by conflict, discrimination, and economic crisis in their home countries) is often a primary concern for those who find themselves living with precarious status (Hanley and

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Shragge 2009; Lewis et al. 2015). Yet these migrants often find themselves constrained at the bottom of the labor market and struggling to make ends meet, while at the same time subject to labor violations and discrimination (Ruth et al. 2013; Schwenken 2017). Evidence shows that having precarious and especially no legal status makes individuals particularly vulnerable to extreme forms of labor exploitation such as forced labor and/or labor trafficking (Beatson et al. 2017). Given the extent to which precarious and non-status migrants face barriers to inclusion in the host society, several researchers have explored the impact of this exclusion on identity formation and mental health. Bailly and Licata (2011) documented the degree to which living undocumented in Europe “implies not only living in great material precarity, but also being deprived of any social recognition.” They argue that this lack of recognition ultimately has a negative effect on migrants’ identity and self-esteem. Abrego (2011) documented the important place of fear and stigma in the daily lives of adult undocumented migrants in the United States. He found that for undocumented migrants who entered the United States as children were more influenced by a sense of stigma, while their adult counterparts were more influenced by a sense of fear. In both cases, however, fear and stigma both operate to dampen people’s sense of well-being and entitlement to human rights. Gonzales et al.’s (2012) work examined undocumented migrants who arrived in the United States as children (the 1.5 generation) and explored the concept of “abjectivity” (the subjective experience of living in abject status). They found that “abjectivity and illegality constrain daily life, create internalized fears, in some ways immobilize their victims, and in other ways motivate them to engage politically to resist the dire conditions of their lives” (Gonzales et al. 2012). Others have argued that precariousness induces a form of self-discipline (Geiger 2013), whereby those whose status relies upon compliance and/or non-detection avoid political activity, do not engage with the state or welfare system, and make few efforts to hold the state responsible for upholding rights. A study of Sikh migrants in Germany discusses the removal of cultural markers, such as beards and turbans, as a strategy for avoiding detection by authorities (Nijhawan 2005).

Challenges to Organizing Precarious Status Migrants Given the difficult context of their lives and the extent to which state policy is specifically designed to exclude them from participating in and/or benefitting from the host society, the organization of precarious and non-status migrants is challenged in some very specific ways (Monforte and Dufour 2011). The most basic of challenges to organizing with this population is, unsurprisingly, their precariousness. The constant threat of losing one’s status or, in the case of undocumented migrants, being directly detained and deported is a rational fear. Gonzalez et al. (2012) argue that “—surveillance, immigration documents, employment forms, birth certificates, tax forms, drivers’ licenses, credit card applications, bank accounts, medical insurance, car insurance, random detentions, and deportations—enclose, penetrate,

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define, limit, and frustrate” the lives of undocumented immigrants (2012), posing a serious challenge to organizing efforts. Most people living with precarious or no status will know someone who has faced such repression and will be acutely aware of the fact that sites of surveillance and potential denunciation are many (Villegas 2015). This can lead migrants to disengage from any form of action that demands attention to and protection of their rights, not out of disinterest or disengagement but as an act of survival. In addition to the individual-level challenges of mobilizing for migrants with precarious or no status, efforts to organize are also known to run into internal difficulties. Involvement in these movements is by and large volunteer relying on activists’ own motivations and capacity to be actively involved. Organizations of precarious status migrants therefore suffer from high rates of turnover. Members are likely to “move on” rather quickly, whether it be out of interest, availability or because they have literally moved on by choice or by force (deportation). For this reason, we see that these organizations tend to ebb and flow in terms of level of activity. Furthermore, given the high stakes, the high stress of participants, and the high levels of surveillance (Villegas 2015), conflict within organizations and fragmentation of movements are also common (Hanley 2007). As Deleixhe and Vertongen demonstrate with their research in Brussels, “Borders reappear as proto-administrative distinctions where we least expect them, and notably within irregular migrants’ political struggle, through a phenomenon that we call the border effect. . . it goes a long way toward explaining the acute fragmentation amongst the groups of activist migrants” (Deleixhe and Vertongen 2016).

Rising up with Precarious Status Confronting their experiences of abjection and social exclusion has led increasing numbers of precarious and non-status migrants around the world to rise up and to contest the injustices that shape their lives. One writer has likened the emerging migrant rights movement to the civil rights movement of the early twenty-first century (Rincón 2008). Although the fear and stigma related to living with precarious status without a doubt “dampens claims-making” (Abrego 2011), a fascinating literature is emerging, documenting the organizing taking place among people with precarious immigration status. Among those who take the risk and engage in organizing and action, their involvement may be influenced by certain demographic factors. For example, research by Mathieu (2010) on demands for more access to education in France found that: the social determinants of their indignation (and of their collective mobilization) can be found in their backgrounds and socialization, which gave them critical dispositions, an inclination to protest, and sensitivity to issues related to discrimination and schooling. An attachment to the educational institution to which they owe their social

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mobility, a critical mood that stems from their precocious rejection of their religious upbringing, the influence of family-inherited models of disobedience, or a painful experience of otherness, can be found in the backgrounds of many of those activists. (Mathieu 2010)

Apart from its potential to change the conditions of people living in this form of tenuousness, involvement in organizing itself contributes to improving migrants’ sense of identity and self-esteem – promoting social recognition while, at the same time, creating meaningful social relationships (Bailly and Licata 2011). According to Zorn (2014), “When resisting, people create networks of solidarity and invent new ways of belonging. This could be seen as ‘regularisation from below’” (2014; McDonald 2012). Organizing is therefore important to the lives of migrants not simply for its potential to influence up but for its capacity to challenge the dampening effects of the isolation and vulnerability that so often characterize the experience of precariousness. In observing the broad array of collective action taken by precarious and non-status migrants, we can identify broad categories of action which include pressure tactics demanding policy change (Schwenken 2017), the establishment of alternative services (Ambrosini 2015), the creation of coalitions with allies (Dougherty et al. 2010), and direct action (Ruth et al. 2013). Demands for simple social recognition, and the recognition that precarious status migrants have human rights, are often an important starting point to any form of organization and/or action (Basok 2009; Fortier 2013; Seif 2014). While examples of organizing for access to health, education, labor rights, and housing abound, few initiatives by and for precarious migrants neglect to include a focus on regularization and the reform of immigration policy (Nyers 2010). Activism for undocumented and precarious migrants usually aims to reframe our understanding of citizenship and belonging, by challenging the concept that legal recognition should be the sole determining factor (Carrasco and Seif 2014; Patler and Gonzales 2015) and by creating new forms of inclusion and recognition for collective contribution (Zorn 2014). Municipalities are increasingly the sites of innovation in defending and promoting the rights of precarious status migrants as national and nationalistic immigration policies trend toward and in increasingly hard stance on migration (McDonald 2012; Swerts 2017). The Sanctuary City movement provides an example of activism aimed at reforming and enacting municipal policies in order to include precarious status migrants in the polity – giving them access to political processes and municipal services – while, in its ultimate form, refusing to enable the enforcement of administrative immigration law within its jurisdiction (McDonald 2012; Paquet 2017). While Sanctuary Cities take on different forms in different jurisdictions – and in fact rarely manage to avoid national immigration laws (De Graauw 2014) – the movement is growing worldwide (Bauder 2017). The movement to resist national migration policies at the local level can be viewed as a logical site of action when one considers the extent to which daily life occurs within a local environment (Garcés-Mascareñas and Chauvin 2017). Some writers

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warn, however, that the attention to local organizing among precarious status migrants should not cause us to overlook the transnational aspects of their lives and organizational efforts (Van Meeteren 2012).

Methods In order to explore how migrants organize in the face of the previously outlined challenges, this chapter draws on data from a study on collective mobilizations for the rights of undocumented migrants in Montreal. The project focused on objectives and strategies, links between different types of groups, and the contributions of various groups to policy changes in favor of the undocumented. This data is supplemented by the observations and insight gained by one of the author’s career-long and sustained involvement with and participation in activities in support of these social movements. Data collection strategies included participant observation in public activities and meetings, semi-structured interviews with 30 individuals in Montreal who work directly on issues related to undocumented migrants, and observations of one author’s own experience of involvement in this movement. Organizations were identified through their public support of campaigns specifically supporting undocumented migrants, through their services and their mandates if they were open to undocumented migrants, and through referrals from other participants. All interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim before being coded to identify the principle forms of community practice utilized to defend the rights of precarious and non-status migrants, the challenges inherent to this type of work, and for insights into promising practices. Institutional ethics approval was obtained prior to data collection.

Community Practices That Protect and Empower Precarious Status Migrants On analyzing data from this research, a rich portrait of community practice emerged. Not only do we see that migrants do in fact organize, but findings also point to the important value of organizing and offer advice and strategies on how to do it effectively and in keeping with the particular needs and vulnerabilities associated with precarious and non-status migrants. Participants reported considerable variety in the types of activities undertaken to protect and promote the civil, social, and economic rights – essentially the human rights – of precarious and non-status migrants. They spoke to the variety of challenges involved in engaging with these populations but also of the benefits and results they have been able to achieve. Their responses provide insight into the types of considerations that are pertinent to others who may be embarking on an effort to organize with precarious and non-status migrants.

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Precarious/Non-status Migrant Organizing Exploring the data on how organization with precarious and non-status migrants occurs, we see that actions and benefits can be observed at three levels of intervention: individual, community, and policy.

Individual Support People living with precarious status are often in situations where their immigration status complicates other issues in their lives. Apart from often needing information and support about trying to regularize their status, respondents told us that they received a lot of requests from migrants facing discrimination or exclusions in housing, health, work, food security, and other material issues. Casework and support at the individual level are therefore seen as essential to this population. In terms of process, a first step for community workers often involves assessing a person’s eligibility for existing services and benefits. Given the complicated immigration system (which confers different rights to different migrants, under different conditions, at different times), this is not always a straightforward endeavor. Workers reported that determining a person’s status can be complicated when the people themselves are not always sure of their progress through the complex immigration system. Furthermore, state service providers often have cumbersome French- or English-only application processes that would be unfamiliar to migrants: We do a lot of administrative work. There are lots of benefits that [migrant] workers are entitled to, but they don’t have access because they don’t know how to fill out the forms, they don’t know what to do. So, we tell them about the benefits and, if they want, we help them fill out the forms. It’s totally boring, but it works! I think that, since the centre started, it’s the most concrete change we’ve achieved. (Community organizer, R#13)

When applications are made, the stated response to rights-claiming efforts by precarious and/or non-status migrants often involves questioning eligibility and/or refusing access outright. Community caseworkers therefore often find their efforts to be focused on fighting for access to services and benefits by arguing for eligibility (e.g., pushing the envelope) and/or finding alternative sources. It can make a difference to have a third party intervene with institutions on behalf of precarious status migrants who aren’t being taken seriously, who are having trouble making themselves understood, or who are simply intimidated and stressed: On the individual level, we sometimes do follow-up with hospitals and to let them know that we’re involved [when precarious status migrants are facing high bills because they’re ineligible for Medicare]. On the individual level, that helps. Even if we don’t manage to cancel their debt, we can succeed in slowing it down. (Community organizer, R#19)

One of the most critical areas for casework intervention and support comes when someone is fighting detention and/or deportation; unfortunately organizations willing to get directly involved in cases of detention and deportation are rare. The stakes

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can be extremely high, success is often hard to come by, and the demand on resources is intense. For those organizations who do get involved, efforts often include a combination of casework and protest strategies including picketing, demonstrations, and media engagement. The overall importance of individual casework is not simply that it can produce material benefits to migrants but that it provides the medium through which organizations and activists can develop relationships with precarious and non-status migrants building an important sense of trust, which can form the basis of future community organizing.

Community Organizing In contrast to casework, which is important for addressing the individual material realities of precarious and non-status migrants, community organizing has the potential to migrants’ needs for a sense of community, solidarity, and collective power when they might otherwise feel isolated, vulnerable, and powerless. Community organizing moves away from a service provision model to one that emphasizes direct involvement by precarious and non-status migrants in their own advocacy; it is the process of mobilizing people into collective action. In the study, respondents reported putting a lot of energy into creating collective spaces where precarious status migrants could come together with peers and allies to build community and a common analysis of the structures at the root of their difficulties. One respondent tried to articulate the intrinsic value of a community organizing model, pointing out the process itself is big part of its value: I guess it’s hard to measure the success, that’s the thing. I think for me the things that feel more successful are things like the people’s camp. I think that felt so incredibly successful because it was successful in breaking the isolation and breaking people’s feeling of fear and having these people see that: Oh! There are all those people out there talking about things that are reality and our lives and it’s okay to be doing this in a park. (Activist organizer, R#12)

Participants in the study make the point that success in community organizing is multifaceted and can be achieved using a variety of strategies. One participant focused on how meaningful it can be for people to come together and to speak openly about their stories: What worked really well was holding a public hearing. Bringing people together and speaking publicly about the issues worked remarkably well. The energy in those 3 days was palpable, people were excited about the project, and they were excited about being together with people from very different communities. The initial meeting we had among all the commissioners was extremely exciting because people were just telling stories from their communities to each other and hearing the same story coming out from others. Most of the people had never met before and had not had this conversation. (Activist organizer, #6)

Even when demands may be unmet in the short term, organizers expressed a feeling that the community-building part of the organizing process remained valuable and offered hope for the continuation of the struggle. For example, in

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discussing involvement in a case where a refused refugee claimant threatened with deportation, took sanctuary in a church, one participant explained: That is really hard. . . I’m part of that committee and it’s been 2 years and 3 or 4 months that he’s been in here. We tried everything and it’s not moving for him. It’s kind of hard. . . I guess in terms of feeling and community momentum and huge support behind him, like the human chain that was formed around the church by people in the neighbourhood or one of the community dinners we had which was packed with people in the neighbourhood. With stuff like that at least he felt sort of a sense of momentum and the huge support that he has from community. It was good to see people from the community just in general. . . just in general coming together and supporting. I think those are high points. . . (Activist organizer, R#8)

Echoing the importance of community support for migrants, another participant focused on how organizing can demonstrate to migrants how much support there is for issues that they face: Look, I’ll tell you the truth: all the activities I do are always a success. Sometimes I don’t even have to work hard and people come anyway! I think people are just very touched by the situation. You say it’s for [a precarious status migrant in need] and they’ll be there. (Activist organizer, R#27)

Another participant focused on the strength of this model for its potential to be migrant-led: I think that one of the strengths of the mobilizations by [this self-organized migrant group] was that it was they themselves who mobilized and who got organized. Whereas, often, it’s organizers – whether they’re paid or not – who organize irregular migrants. Of course, we’ll be there in support, we’ll do direct-action casework, our job is pretty cool and all, but. . . (Activist organizer, R#25).

Policy Advocacy It emerged in our interviews that the very fact of working with precarious status migrants, and particularly the undocumented, made clear to organizers and activists that there are major injustices promoted by Canada’s current policy framework for immigration. Even if the organization was not directly involved in policy advocacy, campaigns to change policy that may or may not have involved grassroots organizing, they were acutely aware of the need for change. It was noted that engagement in policy advocacy requires a long-term investment. Changes are unlikely to come about quickly and often not even in a timeframe that will benefit the people involved who may be deported, be forced to choose to leave Canada, or find round-about pathways to regularization before any meaningful change occurs. The tactics organizations use for policy advocacy vary widely, and the emphasis on one (e.g., lobbying) versus another (e.g., demonstrations) can be a source of tension between organizations, symptomatic of deeper ideological differences. For example, this participant emphasized the utility of establishing collaborative relationships with policymakers, pushing for incremental change:

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Another speaks to the tensions that arise when political alliances can be immediately effective on a small scale without necessarily addressing the root causes of problems and/or the general policy environment: We have a couple allies in the parliament and they actually work beyond what anyone of us can do, especially for individuals. There are people out of [an opposition MP’s] office and his political attaché, I’ve seen decisions reversed within a day on the deportation of a temporary worker. . . This is amazing. It is effective. Is it good organizing? Probably not, but in the moment, it does work. (Community organizer, R#23)

While some community workers can see the individual-level benefit of building relationships with those in power, others are more oriented toward popular mobilization and protest, building wider public pressure and hopefully having an effect on the root causes of migrants’ difficult situations. Rather than befriending those in power, this strategy calls for a denunciation of the policies and policy-makers who contribute to systemic injustices: For me, just sending a dozen support letters is not enough. That’s not what’s going to change things. The more successful activities, in my opinion, are street actions with lots of media coverage, with lots of organizations behind them, with both activists and the people directly affected. It takes a big, loud mobilization, very confrontational, that denounces the actions of the state and that denounces the situation we put people in. We can’t be complicit, and we should not have a detached regard for the issues and realities facing people. Well, we have to be a little bit detached or we’d just be bawling all the time. We’ve got to be pissed off and we have to say so and we have to show it. We have to say it’s unacceptable because it is unacceptable. . . For me, it’s by taking to the streets with popular mobilizations. . . that we can help, in parallel with the pressure tactics, harassing the Ministries with phone call after phone call. . . (Activist organizer, R#25)

For other organizers, policy advocacy involves a mixed-tactic approach. For this participant, advocacy involved lobbying combined with collective action: We’ve had at least 3 press conferences and we have been very successful in terms of the response we’ve got from politician lobbying day on Parliament Hill. . . I think what was very remarkable is that we literally filled up a school bus of people who are the affected people and lined up meetings. Since we were so many people who had about 8 to 10 groups of 5 people and lining up meetings all day long with politicians. It was really a wonderful experience because people were so involved in advocating for their own cause and learning about the Canadian system, going around parliament, seeing question period. . . We also managed to do a reception in the evening for any parliamentarian that we couldn’t meet during the day and a couple that we already met. We screened a short DVD about 10 minutes long which profiled people in this situation. (Coalition organizer, R#1)

Regardless of the strategy, most organizers agreed that engagement with the media was an important part of any campaign directed at changing policy. For example, one organizer stated:

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We try to stay visible in the media, try to find sympathetic media who will do good articles. We try to get invited on the phone-in shows. . . For me, this is one of the best strategies, as long as it features people who are directly affected or close to them. Not just [experts] parachuted in. (Activist organizer, R#25)

The Challenges of Community Practice with Precarious and Nonstatus Migrants While the previous findings demonstrate that community work with precarious and non-status migrants is possible and is happening, one cannot dismiss the fact that organizing with these populations comes with its own set of challenges. When it comes to working one-on-one with migrants, participants noted that one of the particular challenges is that migrants don’t tend to seek information and support until their situation is already desperate. Caseworkers frequently encounter clients who are distrustful and stressed out, unable to identify good advice, or unable to follow-through as necessary. This organizer shared her frustration: One thing that doesn’t work is if they don’t listen to [our] plan because they are too anxious for their problem to be solved immediately. Then they go all over the place asking for help. The coordination doesn’t work anymore and this is the reason why it doesn’t work. One of our members got deported because she was like that. She was not in unity with our plans of what we had to do with her. She wanted a fast relief or solution which nobody can do it. She was taken advantage by different immigration consultants or recruitment agencies before she was deported. We cannot help somebody who doesn’t want our help or who doesn’t cooperate; it is difficult for it to work. But those who do, it works! (Activist organizer, R#9)

Another frustration expressed by organizers is the lack of perceived change that is achieved when trying to influence policy-makers. This respondent talks about how they’ve lost faith in lobbying: Because they don’t care. I mean, most of them just don’t care. . . No. I’d say those things feel the worst and aren’t really successful but we can’t stop doing them. (Community organizer, R#12)

The challenge of getting others to care is one reason why most organizations were cautious in their engagement in big mobilizations. The challenges being that it is difficult to mobilize sufficient numbers of people and that it is not always strategically effective. In describing the work of their organization, this participant states: We’re not too into demonstrations. Before we would do it, we were like, “Yeah! Yeah, let’s demonstrate!” But now, a bit less. We’ve seen that, sometimes – in the case of the Moroccan woman who was deported – the media, the demos, well, they didn’t stop her deportation. In the case of the [Filipina women], it worked. So we realized that it really depends. Of course, if we manage to mobilize thousands of people. . . But we’re usually just a few. . . So now we are more into lobbying, slowly but surely. (Coalition organizer, R#14)

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So, while community workers are often frustrated by a lack of change in the systems that maintain the vulnerability of precarious and non-status migrants, they also see the importance of keeping up their efforts to push for change: I think some of the lobbying has not been really useful although it is very hard to tell. Sometimes we’ll write letters to Human Resources at the federal level or Quebec Immigration, who have a lot of responsibility in this, although they like to say that they don’t. Generally, there is not much of a response from them. I guess in a way it’s good to be reminding people that these are issues that need to be dealt with but I feel like when there is no political will to respond to that on the level that we are appealing to, then it sorts of pointless. Because if the person doesn’t care and won’t do anything then they are just not going to response. (Community organizer, R#7)

Frustration and disappointment in engaging in efforts that do not garner the attention and action that organizers feel they deserve are a significant challenge to this work. Not only do policy-makers seem unsympathetic or contemptuous, but the media can also let organizers down depending on the extent to which and how they cover a particular topic or action. These two quotes from research participants illustrate this sense of frustration and disappointment: Personally, I sometimes leave those meetings with the politicians feeling very discouraged. It’s promise after promise. Sometimes people will come here looking for help and they’ll tell me they’re going to go talk to their politician – I just know they’re going to say ‘no’. I tell them, you can go ahead if you think it’s going to do something. But personally, I don’t believe it. (Community organizer, #15)

I think the media coverage of the march to Ottawa. . . was super disappointing because it got almost no media coverage. It was gigantic as a tactic and people were really dismissing it. I find that disgusting. . . I think that maybe if the organizers had made more alliances with community organizations, they might have been able to mobilize different networks and attracted more media coverage. They have a certain credibility and for sure that kind of march from Montreal to Ottawa by [a mainstream coalition] would have been covered. (Activist organizer, R#25)

Another challenge to organizing with precarious and non-status migrants comes from the fact that they represent an extremely diverse group of people whose interests and outlooks are not always aligned. Identifying a “basis of unity” with other groups is not always enough to bridge ideological differences or political differences on other topics. This respondent explains: A lot of our members are also members of other organizations. Pro-Palestinian organizations, Lebanese solidarity organizations, they are also members of those. So when we were working with a certain politician in Montreal who is known for its anti-Palestinian stand and pro-Israeli stand. . .but in terms of the Philippines and the support of the raising of political killings or raising issue in the parliament about political killings, we had to work with him. Of course, that created some conflicts and discussion within our membership. How do we work, how do we unite and at the same time be able to criticize the same ally? It is a tricky situation. (Community organizer, R#10)

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The potential for divisiveness in communities of migrants and allies who are anything but homogenous can present a significant challenge to strategic action and a unified representation of shared interests.

Recommendations for Community Work with Precarious and Nonstatus Migrants Considering both the value and the challenges of community work with precarious and non-status migrants, research participants had a lot to say about the important lessons they have learned in working with these populations. Their advice and recommendations demonstrate that organizers spend considerable energy thinking about their work and are not easily deterred by the challenges.

Risk and Ethics In analyzing findings and looking for commonality among respondents, one theme that emerged strongly at every level of community work advice was a focus on the safety and confidentiality of clients and migrant organizers. It became clear in the findings that any effort to work with these populations must be focused on building trust with migrants and thoughtful in avoiding the possibility of putting people at risk. It is crucial that any act of community organizing involves a collective understanding of participants’ vulnerability to authorities, as well as plan to protect people’s identities and immigration statuses wherever possible. Organizers and participants must be fully cognizant of the implications and potential risks involved in engaging in any kind of individual level or collective action. When community organizing leads to public actions, tactics must be chosen carefully to minimize the possibility that members could be arrested, detained, and/or deported. While these risks are unfortunately increasingly possible with any kind of public activism, respondents underscored the very high stakes for precarious status migrants: not just fines or a criminal record but removal. One of the strategies that some organizers use to protect members in public demonstrations is to put emphasis on the arts and theatrics. Acting out a scenario of injustice rather than directly speaking out about injustice allows participants to speak as characters or use costumes to protect their identities. The impact can be the same, yet the risk is reduced. Building on the use of methods other than conventional protest, some organizers have turned to popular education, the process of consciousness-raising through collective learning, often through participatory workshops, to get their point across and to engage new supporters: In our network of organizations, it’s more and more recognized. [Popular education] can gently turn people towards: “Yes! Everyone should be covered [for health care], regardless of whatever paper they have in their pocket!” (Community organizer, R#19)

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These methods also have the power to reenergize and mobilize existing members: For awareness-raising, we need popular education. It’s fun to hear a lecture; on an intellectual level it’s very stimulating and you feel like your brain is growing! But the risk is that it just stays intellectual. . . Now when someone can get out of their head and feel it in their hands, when they say, “Ok! Let’s do something!” and they’re dynamic? You feel like you can take it on, you leave dynamized, you feel you’ve learned and you want to be involved. (Union organizer, R#28)

Where and How to Intervene A second theme to emerge in the advice given by community organizers relates to the level at which groups choose to promote the rights of the populations they work with. For some, engaging in collective policy advocacy, rather than focusing on individual cases, was comfortable for many precarious status migrants because they were able to protect their identities through the process. In critiquing policy, the focus was not on their own personal story. There was a hope that winning policy changes could result in personal gains, without having to reveal one’s vulnerability before it was safe. It should be noted, however, that not all precarious status migrants want to hide their full identities. In some cases, people decide to take the chance of revealing their status; they may be unafraid of the consequences and willing to take the risk, or they may have nothing to left to lose and feel that a public profile might provide them with some protection. Whether or not people revealed their identities, a sense of empowerment can come from being involved in work that has the potential to benefit a significant number of people and/or affect the entire system. Another area that received a lot of attention by respondents had to do with strategies for engaging people in the cause, overcoming some of the practical challenges that go with organizing, and overcoming challenges that come with organizing individuals with specific sets of vulnerabilities (e.g., deportability, fear, exclusion for formal system of support, etc.). Perhaps unsurprisingly, since it seems to be important to nearly all community organizing initiatives, several respondents raised food as a fail-safe tool: Dinners! Getting together and sharing around food, it’s always a success. It brings people together, it’s informal, it’s a flexible format. . . It’s a format that let’s everyone express themselves, so if there are Québécois, or civil society people and workers, well, everyone loves to eat! So, it’s a format that allows for encounters, to demystify things a bit (Union organizer, R#28)

Other research participants made recommendations for identifying and presenting the issues. A first step toward organizing, respondents told us, is to listen to the people. One way to do that is to be systematic in thinking about the pattern of issues raised by individual migrants receiving casework support from organizations. This, along with a more active effort to reach out and understand the generalized issues facing precarious and non-status migrants, can provide a locus issue or purpose for organizing. The issues raised as collective matters are often the same as those for which migrants seek individualized support, namely, living conditions, immigration

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status, access to programs and social services, etc. Group organizing on these issues in addition to, or in lieu of, individual-level advocacy allows migrants to share their experiences and to view their circumstances as a collective matter. Highlighting personal tales of challenge related to issue affecting most or all precarious and non-status migrants can be powerful for attracting support: The format of personal testimonies was extremely important as well. To hear firsthand from people who have been affected – how they had been affected, what had happened to them – was very mobilizing. (Activist organizer, R#6)

Casework and collective action can also go hand-in-hand in more dramatic examples of collective organizing to fight deportation. In such cases, the efforts move beyond the usual casework strategies to include picketing, demonstrations, and media engagement. Success in this kind of public campaign can also serve to develop the legitimacy of organizers as both a voice for and trusted ally to migrants: [When we had that one big campaign?] That is a time where we learned a lot of lessons. They were a lot of lessons learned and. . . when [she] got the victory, that is the time where everybody respected [our organization]. We gained respect and credibility in the community and the community at large. (Activist organizer, R#9)

Another respondent emphasized the usefulness of being strategic with organizing and mobilizing more on issues that are strategically aligned with the mandate of the organization: We really need a feminist angle in order to be successful in the campaign that we defend. At least at large, amongst the mainstream institutions, there is that difference with women’s rights, people don’t question it. So, for example, 2 years ago [our coalition] was a big supporter of the campaign of one refugee women who was fighting a deportation order against her and her daughter to be sent back to their country of origin where her daughter would be subject to female mutilation. That’s an example of a campaign who worked very well, like the feminist analysis was there, and we won. (Coalition worker, R#26)

Strategic Organizing and Alliance Building A final area that respondents spoke of when making recommendations for organizing with precarious and non-status migrants had to do with alliance building. While alliance building is essential in any mass mobilization, respondents often reported being cautious in creating alliances with other organizations out of fear of exposing migrants to danger. An example of why this caution may be necessary is described here by one respondent when asked if some migrants were able to obtain support from the diplomatic representatives of their countries of origin: We won’t refuse but we’re going to be careful. With [this] consulate, for sure. . . Here’s a little inside scoop: a person who used to work at the consulate, supposedly on the side of the workers, now works for the employers’ association! Not very ethical, if you ask me. . . You know, there are researchers, too, who come just to steal information. Sometimes word

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Another organizer shared her strategy for helping things go smoothly in dealing with institutions unused to serving precarious status migrants: I found that it’s more useful to try to find somebody in the [government agency] who is interested in the issue or cares, and then that person can tell you what you need to do or help you to do what you need to do to achieve what you can. Like the Human Rights Commission, or there is somebody now at the Commission des normes du travail that I spoke to that was really aware of the issue and she’s made a lot of changes, just as herself as an individual, in terms of how they deal with migrant workers and undocumented workers. So I found that strategy is more effective than just writing letters and faxing them to the head of various departments. (Community organizer, R#7)

Conclusion Given the increasing complexity of immigration systems and the fact that, for many migrants to Canada, return to their countries of origin is not feasible, social workers are likely to encounter growing numbers of precarious status, including undocumented members of our communities in the context of our practice. As with other marginalized groups, politicized casework will sometimes be necessary to address their needs, as well as community organizing and policy advocacy. As we’ve seen in this chapter, precarious status migrants are already organizing for their rights, and there is much to do to support their efforts. The risks of such organizing (e.g., risk of deportation, emotional stress, and exhaustion) are real, but unfortunately these risks are on the horizon – or even part of daily life – for many people with precarious status. We’ve reviewed the ways that organizing with precarious status migrants can maximize power while minimizing risk. We argue that social workers have an ethical responsibility to support and engage in such efforts to change the balance of power in the arena of international migration to Canada.

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Contents Territorial Acknowledgement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Indigenist Theoretical Framework and Wise Practices in Indigenous Community Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Indigenous Authors and Our BTSP Stories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Reflections of Shelly Johnson/Mukwa Musayett: Listen to the Community, and Do What They Say . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Do What They Say Based on Indigenous Teachings of Respect, Reciprocity, Compassion, and Kindness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Reflections of Ron Rice: Gather the Community Together . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Listen to the Elder’s Stories Because It Is About More Than Poverty Relief: Their Stories Help Us Understand and Heal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Reflections of Jennifer Chuckry: Poverty and Community Work Must Not Be Shaming . . . . BTSP Goals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A Budget of $2.8 Million, 23,697 School Supply Kits, and 1200+ Volunteers in Ten BC Cities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Looking Forward: We Have Some Work to Do . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Conclusion: Leading Indigenous Community-Based Educational Healing Across the Province . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cross-References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Appendix A . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . List of Funders by Name . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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S. Johnson (*) Indigenizing Higher Education, Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, BC, Canada e-mail: [email protected] R. Rice Victoria Native Friendship Centre, Victoria, BC, Canada e-mail: [email protected] J. Chuckry Surrounded By Cedar Child and Family Services, Victoria, BC, Canada e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 S. Todd, J. L. Drolet (eds.), Community Practice and Social Development in Social Work, Social Work, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-6969-8_4

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Abstract

This chapter tells the creation story of an Indigenous community-based and led socio-educational project known as the Aboriginal Back to School Picnic (BTSP). Three Indigenous [1] authors identify and discuss their roles and responsibilities in its development (2002–2019). We trace its 2002 origins in Victoria, British Columbia (BC) to ten BC communities and from an initial budget of $4,500 to a total budget over $2.8 million. Over 17 years, 23,697 Indigenous students in pre-kindergarten to postsecondary received school supplies and backpacks from the project. These supplies and BTSP activities indirectly benefit 204,742 nuclear and extended family members living in the same home as the children and youth. Provincially, BTSP volunteers number 1,251 (2011–2019) and contribute a total of 8,215 hours of volunteer time. The primary goal of the BTSP project is to transform the sorrowful narrative of Indigenous children and families as victims forced to attend Canada’s notorious Indian Residential School (IRS) projects into a new and compelling Indigenous educational story. This story highlights positive Indigenous community-based socio-educational leadership and Indigenous community-development practices based on critical Indigenous principles. Through individual and collective story-work, each author identifies one or two of the five principles inherent in the BTSP project. Finally, the chapter provides examples of wise Indigenous community-development practices that flow from the BTSP principles and concludes with steps toward its future development. Keywords

Indigenous decolonization and Indigenization · Community-development · Wise practices and principles

Territorial Acknowledgement We acknowledge with respect the Lekwungen-speaking peoples upon whose traditional territory, the city of Victoria BC and the Victoria-area BTSP, is located. We also recognize the Songhees, Esquimalt, and WSÁNEĆ peoples whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day. We acknowledge the people, their lands, and resources that support the BTSP since it began in 2002, and their continued support into 2019.

Introduction Starting now, we all have an opportunity to show leadership, courage and conviction in helping heal the wounds of the past as we make a path towards a more just, more fair and more loving country (Gyapong 2015).

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Educational perspectives and worldviews matter because while Canada called its Indian Residential Schools (IRS) policy a “dark chapter in our history” (Canada 2008), Indigenous peoples call it more than 100 years of genocide (National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, [MMIWG] 2019). Survivors of the euphemistically termed IRS identified the actions of Canada and its Christian church partners against 150,000 incarcerated children as forcible abduction, rape, torture, violence, starvation, nutritional experimentation, indoctrination, abuse, and neglect calculated to cause the deaths of thousands of children (Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada [TRC] TRC 2015c). In some “schools,” the mortality rate was at times to be over 60 percent (60%) (Root 2017). Forcibly taken from the embrace of their families each fall for more than a century by Christian churches and the Canadian state, and backed up by the muscle of the police and courts, Indigenous peoples were powerless to resist. From the perspective of Indigenous peoples, Western education was used as a weapon to further Canada’s assimilation policy (TRC 2015a). Indigenous families left behind termed September as the “crying month” (Rickert 2017) which did not end until 1996. Canada’s IRS project was never intended to educate Indigenous children, rather it was established to support the central goals of Canada’s Indigenous genocidal policy. In the process, thousands of Indigenous children died, and remain buried in unmarked graves (TRC 2015a). Canada did not release the names of 2,800 children who died in IRS until 2019 (Mussa 2019). The central goals of Canada’s Aboriginal policy were to eliminate Aboriginal governments; ignore Aboriginal rights; terminate the Treaties; and, through a process of assimilation, cause Aboriginal peoples to cease to exist as distinct legal, social, cultural, religious, and racial entities in Canada. The establishment and operation of residential schools were a central element of this policy, which can best be described as “cultural genocide.” (TRC 2015b, p. 1)

Threatened with jail by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), loss of food rations by the federal government’s Indian Agents, and eternal damnation by the Christian church officials; it was unsafe at every turn (TRC 2015a). Generations of traumatized children and families had minimal to no relationship with Westernbased schools or teachers. The intergenerational results of which are evident today in low trust levels between Indigenous peoples and Western-based educational institutions, high levels of intergenerational trauma, and poor relationships between Indigenous peoples and other Canadians. This chapter tells the creation story of an Indigenous community-based and led socio-educational healing project currently located in 10 BC communities, and supported by an annualized $500,000 budget. The Victoria-based project spans 17 years (2002–2019) and is known provincially as the annual Aboriginal Back to School Picnic (BTSP). Between 2015 and 2019, the BTSP also occurred in the BC cities of Duncan, Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Courtenay, Campbell River, and Victoria located on Vancouver Island; Mission, Terrace, Prince Rupert, and Prince George located on the BC mainland. These cities are located on six traditional territories of the Coast Salish, Nuu Chah Nulth, Kwakwaka’wakw, Sto:lo, Tsimshian, and Dakelh

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peoples. We acknowledge the uniqueness of the lands and peoples hosting and supporting BTSP events across BC. While this chapter acknowledges all ten sites of the BTSP, it will primarily focus on the Victoria/Coast Salish site, which is the oldest and most highly attended in the project.

Indigenist Theoretical Framework and Wise Practices in Indigenous Community Development We developed this chapter using an Indigenist theoretical framework and explored the meaning of “wise practices” in our Indigenous community development work. An Indigenist theoretical framework privileges Indigenous voices. It also privileges information learned from Indigenous peoples whose primary sources of knowledge are Indigenous in nature, and whose stated objectives are to serve and inform Indigenous peoples in our struggle to free from oppression on our lands (Drawson et al. 2017; Linklater 2014; Smith 2012; Rigney 1997). In addition, we weave Indigenous teachings and principles of respect, relevance, reciprocity, and responsibility advanced by Kirkness and Barnhardt (2001) through our Indigenist community-development framework. Through our individual and collective story-telling examples, we differentially identify what we propose to be “wise practices” in our Indigenous community development work, and specifically concerning the BTSP project. Wesley-Esquimaux and Calliou (2010) argue that “wise practices reflect the richness of relationships, respect for uniqueness, and the contextual nature of community and leadership development where nothing is static, as people bring in and send out different experiences, views, and energies” (p. 19). Canada’s historic assimilation policies impact today’s Indigenous peoples. Our determined response is to “push back” at colonization and assimilationist efforts perpetrated by Canada against Indigenous peoples, and to decolonize and Indigenize our work. In this chapter, we reassert our Indigenous ways of knowing, being, and doing in Indigenous community development work. This push back or resistance to established Canadian norms of oversight, surveillance, and notions of the “deserving and undeserving poor” is required to make spaces for Indigenous community-work principles and wise practices in our collective work. Further, according to Davis (1997), “wise practice, by its very nature, is idiosyncratic, contextual, textured, and probably inconsistent. It is not standardized, not off-the-shelf, and not a one-size-fits-all concept” (p. 4). Through our stories and reflections, we aim to explore the meaning of our Indigenous community work, as well as the principles and wise Indigenous practices that are inherent in the BTSP project. This section introduces each author and our respective roles in the creation, maintenance, and expansion of the BTSP project. We offer our individual and collective stories for four reasons. First, we take the position that when used for educative purposes, stories can take on a life of their own and become the teacher (Archibald 2008). Therefore, we identify specific stories that shape the Indigenous

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community development principles that inform and support the BTSP project. Second, we explore how our community-based organizing “wise practices” intersect with Indigenous tenets of respect, reciprocity, kindness, and compassion to decolonize and Indigenize our BTSP practices. Third, we aim to decolonize, reconcile, and Indigenize our thinking regarding Indigenous community development principles and practices. For the purposes of this chapter, we identify “decolonization” as ways to (a) restore Indigenous worldviews, (b) restore culture and traditional ways, and (c) to replace Western interpretations of history with Indigenous perspectives of history (Indigenous Corporate Training Inc 2019; Wilson and Yellow Bird 2005). Further, we borrow from the TRC’s reconciliation principles identified in the Commission’s report “What we have learned: Truth and Reconciliation principles” (2015a). The Commissioners wrote that “By establishing a new and respectful relationships between Aboriginal and nonAboriginal Canadians, we will restore what must be restored, repair what must be repaired, and return what must be returned (p. 1).” We work from similar reconciliation principles in that we hope the BTSP will comprise a part of the actions towards restoration, repair, and return of educational leadership to Indigenous peoples and structures. Further, we identify “Indigenization” as ways to (a) recognize the validity of Indigenous worldviews, knowledge, and perspectives, (b) identify opportunities for Indigeneity to be expressed, (c) incorporate Indigenous ways of knowing and doing, and (d) recognize the validity of Indigenous worldviews, knowledge, and perspectives (Indigenous Corporate Training, Inc 2019; Wilson and Yellow Bird 2005). The fourth reason we offer our stories and reflections is to more fully examine the issues of self-Indigenization, and what it means to us as Indigenous peoples connected to diverse communities and nations. Indigenous identity seems a simple concept to understand; yet because of the colonial elephant in the room, it is anything but simple. Hundreds of years of colonial statutes, policies, and regulations make Indigenous identification processes in Canada complicated and confusing. For the purposes of our work to strengthen Indigenous child preparation to enter colonial education systems, it all comes down to two critical factors. First, it is important that we help not only who claims to belong to an Indigenous nation or people; but second and perhaps most important, we help Indigenous people or nations who are claimed by the BTSP. We do not ask for proof of Canada’s certificates of Indian Status, Métis citizenship, or Inuit identity. We take the position that if the person or child self-identifies as Indigenous, then we claim them as a rightful Indigenous BTSP participant. No proof is needed, and no identity questions will ever be asked. Means testing is viewed in the same way. We will help if the parent or guardian claims to need school supplies for their child/children, and we claim them as a rightful BTSP participant. Our work responds to the TRC Calls to Action (2015b) in grassroots ways, and specifically moves toward strengthening and supporting the five domains of child welfare, education, culture and language, health and justice. In the Calls to Action (2015b) area of education, the BTSP network of Indigenous peoples, agencies, and communities specifically locates its work in a response to “Call to Action 7.” This “calls upon the federal government to develop with Aboriginal groups a joint

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strategy to eliminate educational and employment gaps between Aboriginal and nonAboriginal Canadians” (TRC 2015c, p. 1). The work of the BTSP also locates itself with respect to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP 2007), and specifically with articles pertaining to education, culture, land, and language.

Indigenous Authors and Our BTSP Stories Dr. Shelly Johnson (Saulteaux/Keeseekoose First Nation) is the founder of the BTSP, founding Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Surrounded By Cedar Child and Family Services (SCCFS) located in Victoria BC (2001–2008), and current Canada Research Chair in Indigenizing Higher Education/Associate Professor at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC. Ron Rice (Quw’utsun/Cowichan/Coast Salish) is the BTSP Manager for the past 10 years and the current Executive Director (ED) of the Victoria Native Friendship Centre (VNFC) in Victoria BC. His visionary fundraising efforts and success to secure BTSP funds, volunteers, and venues to expand the project are legendary. His long-term network of professional relationships is primarily responsible for the meteoric amplification of the BTSP into ten BC communities and its current $500,000 annualized budget. Jennifer Chuckry, BISW (Cree) is the current ED of SCCFS, a delegated, urban Indigenous child and family agency that continues to co-host the BTSP in Victoria. She was involved in the BTSP as a social worker (2004–2006) and is its current administrator (2010–2019). It is Jennifer’s advocacy on behalf of the Victoria-area children and families that ensured the BTSP continued past 2005. This section includes the BTSP reflections of all three Indigenous authors. The author’s use of a story-telling approach to shape their BTSP reflection is central to our Indigenist framework (Wilson and Wilson 2002; Wilson and Yellow Bird 2005; Wilson 2008). At times, this approach and framework requires the use of “I” as an identifier. It is also important to be aware that two of the Indigenous authors are current leaders in their community development work with Indigenous peoples in Victoria. They are not academics. We approached them to be co-authors for this chapter because of their community-development experience and expertise. They work in spaces where storytelling is a common way to convey information, and this chapter is an extension of their community-development work. Our stories are retold here as a means to honor our Indigenous ways of knowing and being both in community and in academia.

Reflections of Shelly Johnson/Mukwa Musayett: Listen to the Community, and Do What They Say Mukwa Mayett the Creator made you this way and put you in that place for a purpose. When you do those things, always ask yourself if they are good for your children and

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grandchildren. Always remember who you are in your heart. Never pick up something new and leave behind who you are, who we are and what we believe. (Saulteaux Elder Bones, November, 2006, personal communication)

It was a rainy West Coast day in early August 2002, and we were meeting over a working lunch in the Chinatown area of Victoria. Our small group consisted of three Indigenous women. One was working as a provincial government court clerk. The second is LaVatta Frank, a Songhees First Nations woman, a citizen of the Coast Salish nation, and practicum student. At the time, Shelly was the CEO of an urban Indigenous delegated child welfare agency in Victoria. As we spoke, LaVatta recognized a young Indigenous mother pushing a baby in a stroller and walking past the restaurant. Two young school-aged children held onto each side of the stroller. LaVatta motioned to the young woman to come in from the rain. Once inside, LaVatta’s friend explained that she did not have much time to visit, and was on her way to collect school supplies for her children from a city shelter location. She said that she had to line up outside the shelter with her children as proof of their existence. In addition to their birth certificates, report cards, and her income assistance statements, the children had to appear with their parent, in the flesh, to be eligible for the free school supplies. Seeing our surprise at the shelter oversight and surveillance, she hastily told us about her gratitude for the supplies, despite the requirements. She was so poor; she explained that she could not afford to buy them for her children. Her family could not help her because of their poverty issues, and she had no one else to turn to in the city. The young mom also commented that she hoped the lineup was not too long because she was worried about the safety of her children. She told us the shelter housed many men who were actively experiencing mental health and addiction issues. She feared that harassment, outbursts, and violence were prevalent among the shelter users and others in the area. She quickly said goodbye and made her way with her three small children, down the sidewalk towards the lineup outside the shelter. Our entire conversation lasted less than 5 min. There was a heavy silence at our table as we watched the small family walk away in the rain. All three of us were single Indigenous mothers of little children at different times in our past. From our personal histories, all three of us understood the inter-generational trauma impacts of Canada’s Indian Residential School project on our families, loss of land and resources, and the resultant poverty in our families and communities. We all understood the desperation of the young mother, her fear of judgment for being unable to provide for her children’s education, isolation in the city, and worries about the physical safety of herself and her children. Conflicting emotions flooded my mind at the same time; compassion for the young woman and outrage at the shelter system. It forced her to accept oversight, surveillance, and a public display of her poverty in an outdoor lineup, in the pouring rain, in exchange for “free” school supplies. She was living a life with which we were intimately acquainted. Her public humiliation and shaming, personal safety concerns, and fear for her children’s safety were experiences to which we

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could all relate. Her worry about her children’s lack of school supplies could lead to potential questions by teachers about her ability to care for her children. Worse, we understood her fear that questions about her fitness to parent by school personnel could signal the possible involvement of social work investigations about child safety and well-being (TRC 2015b; MMIWG 2019). For many young Indigenous women and families in urban and on-reserve communities struggling with poverty, the words “social worker” are two of the most feared words in the English language (Ella Pierre, former Chief of the Tsay Keh Dene First Nation, 1999, personal communication). The role of social workers figured prominently during Indigenous peoples’ testimonies before the Indigenous Commissioners at the national events of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC 2015c) and the national and regional events of the MMIGW (2019). In the remembered stories of many Indigenous peoples, social workers remain connected to child removals from Indigenous families through Canada’s IRS, child welfare, adoption, and Indian hospital projects (TRC 2015c; MMIWG 2019). As a professional Indigenous social worker for more than 25 years at that point, my mind raced to consider options for the young mom and many more living in the city. Reflexive questions asked what implications there might be once urban-based community-members became aware of the child welfare focus of SCCFS. Might our relationship be over before it even started? As a newcomer to the Victoria urban Indigenous community, few people knew me and had no reason to trust me or SCCFS. Whatever happened, our community-based work response must include many people and existing, trusted agencies.

Do What They Say Based on Indigenous Teachings of Respect, Reciprocity, Compassion, and Kindness Several minutes passed in silence. Then, we expressed disbelief at the required expectation to bring children to a venue where the mother did not feel was safe, to access school supplies. Where is the respect, and the reciprocity from the newcomers to the Coast Salish guardians of the local territory? Why is there a means test for single parents who are so obviously living in poverty? Where is the humanity, compassion, and support for Indigenous community members who struggle with Western education? We looked at each other and asked, “Can you help?” I answered, “Yes, I can.” We agreed that whatever we would do next would be better than what was currently happening. I would call my colleagues in Indigenous sister agencies to tell them what we just saw and heard, and to ask for funds to support an Indigenous school supply event. Together we began to sketch out ideas on a napkin. We decided that the event setting should be a free picnic in a park, with old-style races and games, face painting, and a barbeque. We should encourage all members of a child’s family, Elders and drummers and singers to attend. LaVatta said, “It should be open to any Aboriginal family living on or off reserve!” (L. Frank, August 2002, personal

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communication). We agreed that we would never ask for income statements, report cards, or birth certificates. If attendees did not stay for the barbeque and games, they would still get a backpack and school supplies for each school-aged child in their family. We toasted with our water glasses and celebrated the creation of the first annual 2002 Aboriginal BTSP. Within 2 hours, the story of the young mom and her children was shared with Indigenous sister agency colleagues and the local school district Coordinator of Aboriginal Education. They all committed funds and volunteers to the proposed Indigenous-led BTSP. The volunteers sourced donations and sponsors and identified volunteer roles and responsibilities for the day. SCCFS staff members, along with volunteers from our Indigenous sister agencies, compared the contributions to the school supply lists needed for each grade. Once we purchased supplies, everyone joined the “stuffing assembly line” in the central agency area of SCCFS. That day, our group created 45 kits that included backpacks and school supplies. At the first annual BTSP in late August 2002, precisely 45 school-aged children aged 5–17 years were among the 100 attendees at a community park in Colwood, a city located on the outskirts of Victoria. The day dawned bright, clear, and warm, and stayed that way for the 3 hours BTSP event. Partners and friends from our sister agencies brought barbeques from their homes to cook hot dogs and hamburgers for the people. Play stations were set up for races and games, volunteers brought face paints and distributed the backpacks and supplies to children. My role was to stay out of the way of the volunteers and to take pictures of attendees. The day passed in a blur of happy and excited children, parents, grandparents, and extended relatives involved in numerous activities. Elders took up their roles in a giant 100-person circle, asked us to hold hands and pray that the children would have a positive year in school. We prayed aloud for the children and said that while we could not be with them in school, our hearts would. One of the attendees was the young woman and her children from the rainy day in Chinatown. She came with three older family members. They did not access the school supplies but enjoyed the activities and visits with other community members. I quietly told her how witnessing her shelter experience inspired the creation of the BTSP. Briefly, her family members spoke about their residential school experiences and remarked how different the BTSP felt to them. Sadness came over our small group for a short while on that sunny day. Finally, we spoke about creating this new educational story that included happy, excited Indigenous children who were prepared by their community to go back to school. Once the first annual BTSP ended, the initial planning group developed and reviewed the physical pictures because digital photos were not in general use at the time. The images revealed aspects of the busy day that did not register during the event. Caregivers dressed children in what appeared to be their best clothes. For example, many little girls wore fancy dresses, and many little boys dressed in what appeared to be newer shorts and shirts. Many group pictures included children, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and in some instances, great-grandparents laughing, eating, and talking together. Many of the photos showed face-painted children examining their school supplies, laying them on the grass, and excitedly

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gesturing to each other. Other pictures showed children playing games and laughing. They were in stark contrast to the images in our memories of the young mom walking away with her children, in the rain, to lineup outside a city shelter. The BTSP event respected Indigenous dignity, and principles of intergenerational inclusion to address issues of urban-based isolation and the legacy of IRS. My coordination of the first six BTSP’s in Victoria continued until I left to complete my doctoral degree at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver. The BTSP helped to usher in a change in my life, and redirection from Indigenous community-based agency development work into academia. It also shaped my doctoral research topic. My dissertation explores the educational experiences of Indigenous people that grew up in the provincial BC foster care system in both Victoria and Vancouver (Johnson 2011a, b, 2013). In 2015 while working as a social work academic at UBC, Ron called to share news about the massive expansion of the BTSP into five more communities on Vancouver Island. Additionally, the venue of the August 2015 Victoria BTSP was to be at Government House, the official residence of Judith Guichon, the Lieutenant Governor of BC (2012–2016). He invited me to attend the event, witness its growth and seven-year transformation. I could scarcely believe the stories that my eyes, ears, and mind were telling. Absolutely thunderstruck, I watched as groups of children excitedly ran to numerous craft tents and play stations set on manicured acres in the warm sunshine. They lay their new backpacks on the grass to play on bouncy castles and rockclimbing walls, get their faces painted and take family pictures in photo-booths. Hundreds of people took part in the activities, and large family groups gathered under shade trees to visit, eat, and examine the supplies. What seemed to be more than 70 volunteers with cheerful purple t-shirts proclaiming “When our children go back to school, our hearts go with them” seemed everywhere. The welcome and public acknowledgment of our work to begin the BTSP from former colleagues, friends and community members humbled and moved me to tears. That night, on a small deck behind my hotel room, spiritual space created through prayer, and smudging reminded me of Saulteaux teachings that there are no coincidences. Our Creator meant for three Indigenous women to be together at that time and place, and to bear witness to the young mom and children’s walk in the rain. It is a simple truth that one of my Elders used to share before he passed onto the spirit world. That “things happen when the time is right” and that “Creator puts people and places in your path for a reason. Your role in life is to walk forward with compassion” (Bones, June 23, 2006, personal communication). My part of this section began with a quote from my late Saulteaux Elder Bones. He reminds me that it is critical to continuously question my actions and the reasons that underpin them, and to make decisions accordingly. Always, the rationale to be involved in projects must be to further the well-being of my children and grandchildren. This teaching remains central in my community-based and academic work. It encourages me to continue to respectfully support the BTSP in ways that make sense to its current managers and volunteers. Finally, it reminds me to publicly praise the positive differences they are making in many families and communities.

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This collaboratively written chapter about the BTSP confirms this work continues to benefit Indigenous children and grandchildren. Moreover, as Indigenous authors, we share a collective belief that our involvement continues to be good for the future of Indigenous children and grandchildren across BC. As a Saulteaux woman, my teachings are that while we may not live to see the educational outcomes of all our work, at the very least we must consider its implications for the next seven generations (Johnson 2011a). It is the beginning of a collective walk away from the weaponized legacy of Canada’s IRS project, and a walk towards better educational outcomes for Indigenous peoples. The BTSP events can do more to restore our ways of supporting and reclaiming Indigenous education, than a miserable, shaming lineup in the pouring rain ever will. The next section includes the reflections of Ron Rice, ED of the Victoria Native Friendship Centre (VNFC) and BTSP Coordinator. A volunteer for many years at the BTSP, Ron is the current project Manager (2008–2019).

Reflections of Ron Rice: Gather the Community Together In 2002, the plan was simple. We surrounded our children with love and joy and gave them the tools they needed to go back to school as prepared students, no questions asked. I grew up with a younger brother and sister raised by a single mother. I knew what it was like when our mother sacrificed what she could to get us ready for school. I also knew the pain she felt when she couldn’t do it all. I remember to this day the resignation in her voice when she said, “This all we can do, we have to pay the rent.” Maybe that’s why I’ve stayed with the BTSP all these years. I knew it was essential to all the children and their parents. A moment of relief from the poverty so many of our families face each day of the year. I lost my job at the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC) due to lack of funding later that year and didn’t attend the next couple of BTSP, but heard all about them from people who volunteered or received supplies. The program was growing. When I returned to work at the BCAAFC in 2006, I had a new job informing Aboriginal non-profits about a funding stream through the provincial government. A granting program that seemed untapped by Aboriginal agencies. It was my job to help Aboriginal non-profits successfully apply for these funds. I spread the word throughout the province and was about to enter my first intake cycle as resource support when I got a phone call from my mentor Ursula at the Gaming Policy & Enforcement Branch (GPEB). She had just read an article in the newspaper about the annual Aboriginal BTSP. There were pictures of smiling children and mountains of backpacks filled with school supplies. She asked me if I’d approached SCCFS about applying. I said I’d mentioned it but didn’t hear back from them. She said to make an appointment that day to meet with two or three people who could pull this application together and walk the agency through an application form. I called and set up an appointment that morning with Shelly and her colleague Lisa George. Shelly mentioned that

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the BTSP was getting too big to manage off the corners of desks, and I suggested this might help. We worked all day and produced a stellar application. We walked it down to the office together, and I introduced her to my mentor at the GPEB. Ursula disclosed that she was the oldest sibling, and each year, it was her job to consolidate everyone’s supplies, so the younger children had a complete bundle as possible. As the oldest, she never had a fresh pencil or new eraser, always using leftover nubs from the younger children. Shelly and Ursula talked about the founding principle of the BTSP that has always been “no questions asked.” They discussed the dignity of this one standard and spoke about how it brought us together as a collective of Indigenous-sister agencies to better support the families that we serve. After some heartfelt tears, stories, and emotional recollections, Shelly asked a question of Ursula. “When will we know if our application is approved?” Ursula asked me, “Didn’t you tell her?” I said I have tried to explain, but perhaps you can explain it better. Ursula said maybe this would help. She took a red marker off her desk and wrote “approved” across the top of the application. She explained that an analyst would review the app to determine what level of funding we would be eligible for, but that the form met all the criteria. Six days later, a letter arrived from the GBPE with an accompanying cheque for $58,000. This changed everything, and as a collective, we became able to make a difference for Indigenous children and families in the Capital Region. Since this time, the program continues to grow, year after year. Fast forward to fall of 2008. I was just back from a two-year leave of absence to be the Manager of Cultural Events and Ceremonies for the Cowichan 2008 North American Indigenous Games. My first stop was to SCCFS and to ask Shelly how the BTSP was going. Once again, a fantastic problem to have; the program is growing so fast that it’s hard to keep up. SCCFS staff was challenged with hundreds and hundreds of children now attending. I took a deep breath and said that I would be happy to manage the program. My job took me out of town, so evenings on the road needed to be filled, and this would be a perfect and meaningful distraction. I set to planning and initiated a sponsorship program. After the 2009 BTSP, we had 50 left-over kits and a great idea. We sent ten packages to each of the five other Friendship Centres of Vancouver Island, and suddenly we weren’t a Victoria-area event; we were regional. That fall, I applied for more funds and received approval for $155,000 from our funder. We called on our founding partner, M’akola Housing Group, and asked for their help to connect the program to their tenants on Vancouver Island. In 2010 the BTSP Tour was born, and we packed up a two-ton moving truck and hit the road like the circus. Terrance, Hannah, and I hosted events in other cities. The Island Tour was a hit. We had offers to help and additional sponsorships coming from a variety of sources. We took a position that the BTSP is a fantastic program, and if we needed something more, we should ask. In 2015, the Victoria-based BTSP needed a new home, and by a stroke of luck, we found one (Fig. 1). I had to call Shelly. Over the years since I took over the BTSP Coordination, and Shelly moved on to pursue her doctoral degree at the UBC, we didn’t have time to chat about all the changes. So when I called her in 2015, she was a UBC Assistant Professor. I suggested that she sit down. I told her about the sponsors who were joining our cause, the Tour and the hundreds of students now in receipt of the BTSP

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Fig. 1 BTSP child participants displaying funder signs (Photo credit: Shelly Johnson)

kits each year. I could tell this was overwhelming for my friend and the founder of this glorious program, but I had to tell her the BTSP was moving. In 2015 the subject of the BTSP came up at a National Aboriginal Day celebration with the Lieutenant Governor’s Chief of Staff. I smiled and accepted their invitation to host the Victoria BTSP at Government House. I told Shelly about the spectacle of a portable rock-climbing wall in the Lieutenant Governor’s orchard and bouncy castles in the formal garden. The fun of a grilled cheese food truck in the driveway and organic hamburgers and hotdogs served in the Grand Ball Room. Shelly was beyond emotional, laughing and crying, and from all descriptions, now sitting on the floor of her office causing more than a few heads to turn. I’ve since learned that this is not normal behavior in academic circles. Today our partners, funders, and sponsors raise more than $500,000 annually, and the BTSP Tour includes six events on Vancouver Island an event in Mission BC. A couple of years ago we added Prince Rupert, Terrace, and Prince George to the BTSP mainland tour. In 2018, we provided direct support to over 3500 students from preschool to postsecondary. Due to the increases in the numbers of communities involved in the BTSP tours, we changed the process for logistical support. Now Duncan receives and distributes all the supplies for Vancouver Island, and Prince George is the site for mainland BC. In 2019, thousands of people gathered together across ten BC communities to say, “When our children go back to school, our hearts go with them.”

Listen to the Elder’s Stories Because It Is About More Than Poverty Relief: Their Stories Help Us Understand and Heal The 2010 BTSP was my second time planning the event, and we were hitting our groove. Yes, the event was enormous, but we had dozens of staff and volunteers and lots of space at our new home with one of our founding partners, the VNFC. We

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learned a lot from the 2009 event, and one of those things was our need for space, lots of it. So we moved the morning BTSP registration and supply distribution into the main VNFC parking lot. You have to imagine hundreds of people and children, pop up tents, eager volunteers and pallets, and pallets of school supplies waiting for distribution. At this point, we were looking at seven pallets of school supplies and six pallets of backpacks and giveaways (that year it was sports equipment). Of course, with an event of this size, organizers have to pay attention to things from high levels. I was taking a moment to stand on the hill overlooking the parking lot to see if any lineups were causing any bottlenecks in our system. Then in a strange moment of clarity in the crowd of hundreds and hundreds of people, I saw an Elder crossing the parking lot. As I watched, she began to hunch more and more over her cane. I grabbed a chair from under one of the registration volunteers and asked them to follow me with a tent. The Elder took a seat and leaned forward like she was in pain. I called for the First Aid attendant and asked the Elder if I should call 911. She shook her head no, and leaned back in the seat, tipped her head to the sky and let out the most mournful cry I have ever heard. She shook her head and through her tears said, “I went to Residential School, so when they took my children, I knew what was going to happen. When my kids went to school, they would cry and beg me not to send them away. Now, my two granddaughters just went skipping down that path with their brand-new backpacks excited to get their faces painted and have some lunch. All they feel is joy and excitement, and I never thought I would see that in my lifetime. My little grandchildren are happy and joyous about going to school.” First Aid personnel gave her some cold water and checked her pulse before letting her stand and walk to catch up to the little girls who inspired this very personal epiphany. The First Aid volunteer happened to be my mother. Once she gave the Elder the all-clear to continue enjoying herself, I asked her to come with me and told her that I needed her help. I managed to hold it together until we were behind closed doors and then had an epiphany of my own. Today my mother is known as a “resister.” Her older brother told my grandfather of the abuses he suffered at the Port Alberni Indian Residential School. My grandfather got into his car, drove to Port Alberni, took his three youngest children out of school, and brought them home. He hid them in a closet and sat in his kitchen with a loaded hunting rifle to wait for the priest and the police to arrive. I was very young when my grandfather passed away, so we never got to speak of such things. Instead, I heard this story from my mother during the Truth and Reconciliation event in Victoria. The police and priest confronted my grandfather when they arrived at his home, and he threatened their lives if they dare cross his threshold. The priest threatened my grandfather with eternal damnation, and the police agreed to come back and talk with my grandfather. The law said his children had to go to the residential school. However, my grandfather had the means to register all three of his children in a local private school, and he did. My epiphany connected all the dots in my life back to that moment. I understood my mother’s relationship with her father and her siblings. The strong and unwavering relationship with my mother. I realized that this single act of defiance

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changed the trajectory of my mother’s life and so in turn, affected mine. I wished my grandfather could have seen the Victoria BTSP in 2010. He would have had his realization that the Residential School era was coming to an end, and that as Indigenous peoples we have survived. I hugged my mother, splashed some cold water on my tear-stained face, and went back to the celebration carrying on all around us. I regret not asking that Elder her name because in her epiphany was the spark for my own. At that moment, we knew that this good idea and a simple plan set in motion so much healing for us all. It is so much more than poverty relief. All this healing and happiness because one Indigenous woman asked, “Can you help?” Then another Indigenous woman answered, “Yes, I can.” Ron’s stories offer unsettling examples of the many inter-generational ways in which Canada’s Indian Residential School project creates lasting harm in the lives of many Indigenous peoples (TRC 2015a). More importantly, he describes how and why involvement in the BTSP is healing to his mother, him, and one Elder participant. The next section includes the reflections of Jennifer Chuckry, the current Executive Director of Surrounded by Cedar Child and Family Services (SCCFS) in Victoria, BC.

Reflections of Jennifer Chuckry: Poverty and Community Work Must Not Be Shaming The Aboriginal BTSP began as a grassroots event, designed to address a need within the urban Indigenous community and to create a new, happier story about children returning to school. Honoring those generations before, the original organizers carried stories of parents and grandparents who had survived the legacy of some form of residential school. Understanding that the return to school for many families was wrought with trauma, paralyzing fear, and considerable uncertainty, organizers set out to create an event filled with love, laughter, and unconditional generosity. Invested in creating different outcomes for Indigenous children, youth, and families, those original organizers took time to listen to families about their experiences of poverty and what it was like to stand in lineups – sometimes for hours – for food, for hampers, for school supplies, frequently, with children in tow. Indigenous parents explained what was like to stand in those lineups with no type of distraction, no games for children, no food, just a lineup with necessity at the end of it. Families shared how demoralizing and disempowering systems designed to help could feel and questioned if it was necessary to be so boldly reminded of the fact that poverty brought them to these lineups. With these conversations in mind, SCCFS created simple registration forms to ensure enough supplies and food were on hand. No proof of income was required. There were no requirements to stand in line with identification, and families were not obliged to share the circumstances that required them to need school supplies. They

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were invited to attend a community event that would not induce poverty-based shaming. The first events of the BTSP were relatively small. Forty-five backpacks filled with supplies went home with 30 or 40 families in the first year. Approximately 100 community members, staff and volunteers also came out to partake in the festivities. Tasks such as organizing, shopping, and stuffing backpacks occurred on the sides of desks of the SCCFS employees. Caravans of vehicles traveled the Island in search of school supplies. Staff and volunteers meticulously went through school supply lists to ensure that each backpack would have all amounts required for each specific grade. As the BTSP began to grow at a rapid pace, it was inevitable that some began to question which local families were in need. At times, lateral violence reared its ugly head, and colonial mindsets crept into conversations about determining who should have access to supplies. Recognizing that life can change quickly and that it is impossible to understand anyone family’s current circumstances, organizers remained steadfast that no one would be made to “prove” how dire their circumstances were. Currently, the picnic strives to remain as barrier-free as possible. Registration forms are simple – and are even electronic! No proof of income is required. Games continue to fill the fields, and barbeque smoke wafts through neighborhoods. Little ones can be witnessed running about, laughing, and enjoying the day with family. Volunteers continue to come back year after year, many of whom speak about how meaningful this event is for them. Throughout the years, many families have shared stories of how impactful the BTSP has been in their lives. Some have shared stories of gratitude – of being genuinely thankful for the supplies, the food, and the overall event itself. Others have shared stories of relief – of not having to choose between buying food for their families or school supplies for their children. There have been stories of humility – of not feeling shame in asking for help. Also, other families have shared that the BTSP has become a tradition that they look forward to each August. In all of this, it is evident: systems created to offer help or to address socioeconomic issues such as poverty, do not need to induce shame. Everyone needs help from time to time and deserves support provided with love, compassion, and empathy. Families can walk away with their heads held high and focus on those things that matter the most; such as their children. Jennifer’s story reminds us of how important it is for Indigenous children and families to maintain a sense of belonging and inclusion towards urban or reservedbased communities. It is a powerful teaching about our roles as community leaders to ensure that no one feels excluded from the festivities. For example, the BTSP provides tickets for lunch and school supply kits. Many families will receive both cards, but if they want to join the celebrations and do not require school supplies, then they will only accept a lunch meal ticket. Children in the provincial foster care system have foster parents who have already received funds for school supply purchases. The same policy extends to families who can afford school supplies. All children are still welcome to join the BTSP activities and lunch.

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The issue of lateral violence and questioning who “deserves” school supplies versus those that do not is troubling. While organizers recognize dissenting opinions and the potential minuscule abuse of the open system, it has not changed the principle of “no questions asked.” From time to time, various First Nations onreserve representatives have questioned the “double-dipping” of their members who receive a small subsidy for each child for school supplies from their Nation and also receive free school supplies from the BTSP. The rationale of the organizers remains that for people living in poverty, the small subsidy provided by the Nations is flexible. It can pay for children’s clothing, footwear, food, or school fees. As Jennifer explained, “There isn’t enough support, to begin with. It’s not like they’re flying off to Vegas with the subsidy” (J. Chuckry, August 16, 2019, personal communication). The next section enhances our stories of various BTSP time-periods towards a greater understanding about its goals and growth. Moreover, it sheds light on the spirals of support and networks embedded in its relationships with sister agencies and others.

BTSP Goals The primary goal of the 2002 BTSP is to transform the return of Indigenous children to school from a day of historically remembered sorrow, created by the traumatic legacy of Canada’s Indian Residential School project (TRC 2015a) into a day of celebration. The BTSP aims to create a new Indigenous educational story for Indigenous children enrolled in kindergarten to grade 12 in the Victoria area, and their families. Its second goal is to address widespread Indigenous family poverty through the provision of free backpacks and school supplies, food, and cultural activities, and to reject Western principles of means testing. All three urban Indigenous agencies remain united in the decision not to means test Indigenous families. Daily interactions with Indigenous peoples living with the intergenerational effects of Canada’s policies make it so. A third BTSP goal includes the erasure of artificial separations of Indigenous families living in the city of Victoria and those residing on reserve-based communities in the surrounding Capital Region. Rejection of Federal and Provincial government status-identity criteria and funding silo models means that the BTSP project accepts applications for backpacks and school supplies from self-identified Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit) families living and learning on and offreserve. The fourth goal of the BTSP is to reduce feelings of Indigenous isolation and Indigenous identity erasure. Indigenous peoples are the minority population in many cities and communities and do not have regular access to Indigenous cultural activities and ceremonies to affirm or develop their tribal connections and identities. Therefore, the BTSP offers opportunities to reconnect Indigenous peoples in intergenerational family groupings and cultural groupings. These essential opportunities help to combat inter-generational feelings of separation, grief, shock, and loss experienced by Indigenous children required by Canadian law to attend Indian

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Residential Schools in the past. Instead of harsh memories of enforced child and family separations, the BTSP organizers in 2002 coordinated backpacks, school supplies, races, games, face-painting and a family barbeque for 100 inter-generational Indigenous participants. Additionally, for the first number of years, Indigenous spiritual and cultural practices opened the BTSP event. One example is the large circle where Elders offered prayers for the children’s safety and well-being during the upcoming school year, and Indigenous drummers and singers officially opened the day of celebration. It was at this first celebration event in 2002, shortly after the conclusion of the Elders prayers where the BTSP slogan “When our children go back to school, our hearts go with them” was coined. In the BTSP organizer debriefs, we hoped that the Indigenous children who stood in the circles with their families, listened to the Elders’ prayers for them, and heard the drummers and singers would recall the support of their community, especially during difficult days in school. All the organizers remained hopeful that in time, the children’s memories of the annual BTSP would become a new educational narrative for Indigenous families in the Capital Region and beyond. Between 2002 and 2012, the school supply kits grew an astonishing 4,424% and expanded from one community (Victoria) to six on Vancouver Island. Volunteers grew from a handful to over 70 per year including students from the University of Victoria’s education and social work programs, agencies, and businesses. It grew from a 3 hour to a 6 hour event, and from a few core sponsors to over 30. In 2003 the BTSP distributed 75 backpacks and school supply kits to children after the cultural festivities and feasting. In 2004 the number of BTSP kits that children received from the BTSP rose to 125; in 2005 the number of packages rose to 200; in 2006 to 325; in 2007 to 470; in 2008 to 550; in 2009 600; in 2010 to 693, in 2011 to 770, and in 2012 to 1,449. In each year during this time, the BTSP grew to include more cultural activities and practices such as drumming, singing, hoop dancing, arts, and crafts. The Victoria BTSP event includes tents for face painting and photo-booth pictures complete with costumes. A shuttle van began to pick up and drop off attendees, while opportunities expanded for children on playground equipment such as rock-climbing walls and bouncy castles. The BTSP sponsors began to provide jeans, sports equipment, and volunteer stylists provided haircuts for children. Additionally, all BTSP attendees received a free celebratory lunch (including children, parents, grandparents, and extended family members, friends, and relatives). The introduction of grilled-cheese sandwich food truck parked on-site was another food option for participants. Over time, the BTSP event in Victoria strengthened the inter-generational relationships and understanding between Indigenous children and families, Indigenous and non-Indigenous agencies, and educational institutions. Also, volunteers from government funders, Foundations, businesses, school districts, and service organizations all work together under Indigenous leadership to create a new educational narrative for Indigenous children and families. With the expansion of the BTSP into mainland BC cities of Surrey, Mission, Terrace, Prince Rupert, and Prince George, the years 2013 to 2019 show a total

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number of 18,543 kits distributed to Indigenous children in K-12 and postsecondary institutions in 10 BC communities. These include 1,837 in 2013; 1,901 in 2014; 2,106 in 2015; 2,681 in 2016; 3,318 in 2017; 3,500 in 2018; and 3,200 in 2019. For the past 4 years, through an agreement between the BTSP Coordinator Ron Rice and the Lieutenant Governor of BC, the BTSP in Victoria occurs on the manicured grounds of Government House, the formal residence of the BC Lieutenant Governor. The kitchen staff at Government House provides a meal to all Indigenous participants and serves it in the Grand Ballroom. In 2019 the BTSP meal consisted of organic beef and hotdogs, and 615 ears of fresh Vancouver Island corn. The corn was picked the day before the BTSP, and husked through the night by the Government House staff who ensured it was ready to be cooked on the day of the BTSP. The BTSP event in Victoria also provides opportunities for Indigenous children living in government foster care to interact with their Indigenous family members from whom they may be living separate and apart. These separations may occur through various means identified in the BC Child, Family and Community Service Act (1996) or through informal family kinship agreements and systems. The BC legislation determines various means of child removal and placement in an approved foster home, with family or friends through a provincial government court order, through a voluntary care agreement, or Kith and Kin arrangements. From its inception, the BTSP has highlighted the role of Indigenous Elders in teaching arts and crafts, visiting, storytelling, and relationship building with children who are separated from their families. Through their presence and guidance, the Elders are helping to build and restore relational bridges between generations disrupted by the residential school, child welfare disconnections, and dislocation from traditional lands and resources.

A Budget of $2.8 Million, 23,697 School Supply Kits, and 1200+ Volunteers in Ten BC Cities The initial 2002 Victoria-based BTSP budget of $4,500 was sufficient to provide 45 packages of school supplies and backpacks to Indigenous children. The budget developed through existing relationships and a partnership between four Victoria area urban-based Indigenous service-delivery agencies and School District 61’s Aboriginal Education office led by Nella Nelson. The founding agencies were SCCFS led in 2002 by Shelly Johnson, the M’akola Housing Group led by Executive Director Kevin Albers, the VNFC led by Executive Director Bruce Parisian, and the BCAAFC led by Executive Director Paul Lacerte and Manager Ron Rice. To date, the BTSP budget of more than $2.8 million has provided more than 23,697 kits of backpacks, school supplies, and related materials to Indigenous children and youth in 10 cities across BC. In the past 17 years, more than 204,000 people have gathered in public spaces to celebrate the return of Indigenous children to school (R. Rice, August 21, 2019, personal communication). It is an event supported by untold volunteer hours because organizers did not track this statistic until 2011, the ninth year of the event. However, the amount of volunteer support is massive. For

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example, in just 1 year (2017), 247 volunteers provided 1,259 volunteer hours. With their labor estimated at $20.00 per hour, it equates to a $25,000 BTSP volunteer investment. Appendix A identifies the 17 provincial government, business, university, and private sector funders. It is critical to note that the provincial BTSP events welcome registrants from both on- and off-reserve. Yet the Federal government, who has fiduciary responsibilities for the educational needs of Indigenous peoples living on reserve in Canada, provides no funding to support their BTSP participation.

Looking Forward: We Have Some Work to Do The concluding section offers issues to consider in Indigenous community-based education and social work. We do this by focusing on the BTSP case sample and the principles inherent within the project. The BTSP roots its long-term relationships between an urban Indigenous child welfare agency and sister Indigenous agencies. All the agencies aim to support Indigenous peoples’ needs for child safety, social and educational programming and housing. We draw on the intersectionalities of our work with Indigenous peoples who are navigating historical and contemporary educational, social work, and political realities within present-day BC. Finally, we offer four steps to move the BTSP forward into the next decade in terms of mentorship and buy-in, climate change and safety issues, gathering together in a conference and future research.

Conclusion: Leading Indigenous Community-Based Educational Healing Across the Province It is true that for more than 120 years, Canada and its Christian churches used the Indian residential school project as a colonial weapon of mass assimilation and genocide against Indigenous peoples (MMIWG 2019; TRC 2015; Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples 1996) (Fig. 2). Canada used brutal tactics of physical, sexual, emotional, mental, and spiritual abuses to enforce the social re-engineering project (1880s-1996). This prolonged and deliberate assault against defenseless and vulnerable children and their families resulted in massive intergenerational trauma, widespread grief and loss, educational mistrust and death for thousands of Indigenous children due to disease, abuse, and poor nutrition (MMIWG 2019; Moseby 2013; Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples [RCAP] 1996). Despite apologies and funding from Canada’s elected leaders in 2008, Indigenous healing from, and truth-telling about the impacts of Canada’s Indian Residential School, child welfare, adoption, and Indian hospital experiences continues today (MMIWG 2019; TRC 2015a; Canada 2008). Yet our shared story of Indigenous victimization by Canada’s state and churches cannot and will not be the end of our story. While the Government of Canada, the RCMP, and numerous churches have apologized for their roles in the Indian Residential School project (TRC 2015a), we are not holding our breath waiting for

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Fig. 2 BTSP slogan on t-shirts of registration personnel (Photo credit: Shelly Johnson)

outstanding apologies from the Catholic Church and others. That is not our story. Instead, we choose to share new and compelling Indigenous stories of how grassroots Indigenous peoples are organizing and gathering strength on our path to re-set an educational legacy for future generations. This chapter focuses on Indigenous community development work to address the legacies of two of Canada’s projects: its child welfare and educational systems. The proof of our survival and thriving is in the case example of the West Coast, BC-based BTSP that has steadily grown from one BC community into ten, and from an annualized budget of $4,500 to $500,000. In 17 years, it has provided Indigenous community-based support to 5 consecutive, complete cohorts of Indigenous children enrolled in kindergarten to postsecondary. Five Indigenous community-based organizing principles form the BTSP foundation. These are identified as headings in our Indigenous storytelling section of this chapter. Our Indigenous community-based organizing principles are as follows: 1. Lead by listening to the people and do what they say 2. Do what they say based on Indigenous teachings of respect, reciprocity, compassion, and kindness 3. Gather the community together to build inter-sectoral and intersectional relationships to strengthen our goal to be free from oppression on our lands 4. Listen to the Elders stories because it’s about more than poverty relief; their stories help us understand and heal 5. Poverty and community-work must not be shaming These Indigenous community-based organizing principles help each of us in our healing from the 120-year history of genocidal Canadian educational policies and practices (TRC 2015a; MMIWG 2019). Furthermore, they are instrumental in forging new Indigenous-made socio-educational stories. Similar to Ron’s accounts of his grandfather’s defiance, resistance, and courage to protect his children from abuse in one Canadian IRS, ours is also a story of Indigenous determination. It is a story that rejects Canadian community development “ways of doing and being” that

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include public shaming, justification of Indigenous oversight and surveillance. Instead, it creates Indigenous spaces to reflect and consider how Indigenous principles and community development practices continue to shape BTSP events. On August 16, 2019, we met in the VNFC offices to talk about steps forward in the future of the BTSP movement, and the following developmental steps. 1. Mentorship and buy-in. Currently, the BTSP provides events in ten BC cities located upon the traditional lands of six First Nations. Registration lists identify that 50% of the attendees live on-reserve, and 50% live off-reserve (Ron Rice, August 16, 2019, personal communication). In the spirit of Indigenous principles of respect, reciprocity, and responsibility towards the traditional owners of the land, the BTSP organizers do not receive any funds from First Nations for the participation of their citizens (See Appendix A). As a result of this good will, many on- and off-reserve-based communities approach the BTSP organizers with requests to help to create a community-based BTSP event or to provide the event in their community. However, the cost of delivering “one-off” events in small reserve-based communities is too restrictive (Ron Rice, August 16, 2019, personal communication). Therefore, organizers must develop a range of mentorship strategies for both large and small communities. One such idea includes the development of a “Picnic-ina-box.” Initial ideas for a Picnic in a box include a BTSP checklist and check-in list, volunteer t-shirts and hats, supply samples, games that a volunteer or parent could enact, and a planning sheet. A compilation of funding applications and deadline information could also be available online for community use. This is a mentorship area requiring further development. 2. Climate change and safety issues. Wildfires, smoke, and poor air quality in 2017 and 2018 negatively impacted BTSP volunteers traveling to and families living in central and northern BC communities. Volunteers identified safety concerns and spoke of driving loaded trucks through active fires on either side of the highway. Organizers sought inside rather than outside venues as ways to avoid aggravating community member’s health issues, but urban-based BTSP sites in cities are scarce and pricey. PostBTSP debriefing sessions determined that safety strategies are needed to protect volunteers who feel compelled to travel through forest fire roadblocks. These volunteers took personal responsibility to put their safety and the event trucks at risk to meet BTSP deadlines in northern BC communities. Also, safety and inclusion issues such as (1) making sites accessible for people living with disabilities and (2) shuttle transportation for people who need it to access public transit requires attention. Finally, the long-term lack of public in-door gathering spaces for growing populations of urban Indigenous peoples is an issue requiring attention. 3. Conference: Learning from community experiences. Representatives from various communities and agencies attend the Victoria BTSP to observe, learn, and report what they have witnessed. Based on this knowledge, they develop strategies to deliver their BTSP events that are inclusive of their

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ways of knowing, being, and doing service delivery. For example, at one BTSP site on the grounds of the former St. Mary’s Indian Residential School in Mission, BC, Elders connected to the local Friendship Centre have come forward to claim their role to prepare food and nourish community members. They do this as a way of sustaining the children and families gathered together, and symbolically feeding former friends and relatives that lived and died at the residential school. After the Elders make lunch, they say a prayer and then quietly excuse themselves to ring the bell at the site of the old residential school. It is perhaps their way of signaling to other survivors, their families, and the ancestors that they have not forgotten the atrocities committed against them by Canada and the Christian churches. Maybe it is their way to signal that they are helping to usher in a new educational era for future generations by caring for the children of today. The Mission BTSP event includes homeless and at-risk street entrenched Indigenous peoples as an important part of their community membership. “The Mission Friendship Centre invited homeless people to lunch and to be a part of the community educational celebration. They were the first to show up and the last to leave after they helped to re-load event trucks” (Ron Rice, August 16, 2019, personal communication). As this example demonstrates, BTSP events bring healing in many ways and create many new educational stories. A conference venue could bring together many people involved in a variety of provincial BTSP events. Participants could include organizers, on- and off-reserve community representatives, local, provincial, and national funders. Conference participants could discuss what BTSP practices are working in their agencies or communities, those that are not, and share various and creative strategies for future development. 4. Research. The BTSP has gathered some anecdotal information and statistics; however, to date its efficacy is not evaluated. Is it making a positive difference for Indigenous children and families and their relationships to education, to community-based agencies or to volunteers? If so, in what ways? Are BTSP events effective from the standpoint of upholding Indigenous principles and community-development practices? In addition, research may also be helpful to address the educational or inclusivity needs of specific populations at BTSP events. For example, the Victoria BTSP event organizers want to improve Indigenous youth participation in activities. Research may help to answer their questions, and tailor activities to encourage increased youth participation. In other events, the same questions arise regarding the meaningful participation of Elders, Two-spirit, LGBTQQIA and people living with disabilities. Ours is a creation story of resistance and resurgence, of Indigenous socioeducational leadership and healing from Canada’s Indian Residential School and child welfare projects. It borrows on the principles and findings of the TRC 2015, MMIWG 2019, and UNDRIP 2007 to become one example of wise Indigenous community development practices. Its actions are aimed to redress the intergenerational legacies of Canada’s projects meant to assimilate Indigenous peoples, and one way to advance the process of Canadian reconciliation. It is Indigenous community development work based on Indigenous principles of

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respect, kindness, and compassion towards people. These principles continue to inform and influence the expansion of the BC-based BTSP, and by example, positively impact our collective Indigenous community-based work in other areas. Reflection, revision, and actions help us to consider whom we are as Indigenous peoples working in a variety of organizations. It matters when we work in urban Indigenous grass-roots community organization such as the 50-year old VNFC, in a delegated child welfare agency such as SCCFS, or as an Indigenous academic working in research, teaching, or curriculum development in a mainstream or Indigenous-centered university setting. It reminds us of our responsibilities to overlook artificial borders meant to separate us from our Indigenous and nonIndigenous relatives living in cities or on reserves. It reminds us of our roles and responsibilities to each other, our families, communities, Nations, and of the Indigenous principles that surround all that we do in our collective work. As always, we encourage readers to make their meaning from our storytelling, to incorporate things that are valuable into their community work, and to leave the rest. [1] In this chapter, we use terms such as “Indigenous,” “Aboriginal,” “First Nations,” “Métis,” or “Inuit” interchangeably, as appropriate. We would use a particular term if it were preferred in a specific period or by a specific group. Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution identifies the term “Aboriginal” as including people of Indian, Métis, or Inuit ancestry.

Cross-References ▶ Anti-oppressive Community Work Practice and the Decolonization Debate ▶ Community Practice and Social Development in a Global World ▶ From Development to Poverty Alleviation and the Not-So-Sustainable Sustainable Development

Appendix A List of Funders by Name Province of British Columbia RBC Royal Bank Royal Eagles Scotiabank Government House Capital Regional District Rina M Biden Foundation Prince George Native Friendship Centre Makola Housing Group Smart Saver

Monk’s Office Supply McLean Foundation Vancity PSECF: Public Sector Employee’s Community fund Monk’s Discount Out of the Blue Designs University of Victoria Turtle Island Events

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References Archibald J (2008) Indigenous story work: educating the heart, mind, body, and spirit. UBC Press, Vancouver British Columbia (1996) Child, Family and Community Service Act. http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/ document/id/complete/statreg/96046_01 Canada (2008). Statement of apology to former students of Indian Residential Schools. https:// www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100015644/1100100015649 Canada, Erasmus G, Dussault R (1996) Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. The Commission, Ottawa. https://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100014597/ 1100100014637 Davis O (1997) Editorial, beyond “best practices” toward wise practices. J Curric Superv 13(1):92–113 Drawson A, Toombs E, Mushquash C (2017) Indigenous research methods: a systematic review. Int Indig Policy J 8(2). https://doi.org/10.18584/iipj.2017.8.2.5 Gyapong G (2015) The healing must begin now, Sinclair says. Canadian Catholic News. https:// www.catholicregister.org/item/20350-the-healing-must-begin-now-sinclair-says. Accessed 21 Aug 2019 Indigenous Corporate Training, Inc (2019) A brief definition of decolonization and Indigenization. https://www.ictinc.ca/blog/a-brief-definition-of-decolonization-and-indigenization Johnson S (2011a) I screamed internally for a long time: traumatized urban Indigenous children in Canadian child protection and education systems. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of British Columbia, Vancouver. https://open.library.ubc.ca/cIRcle/collections/ubctheses/24/ items/1.0064654 Johnson S (2011b) Wrap a star blanket around each one. Learning from the educational experiences of indigenous former youth-in-care on Coast Salish territory. In: Kufeldt K, McKenzie B (eds) Child welfare: connecting research, policy and practice. Wilfred Laurier Press, Ottawa, pp 339–352 Johnson S (2013) We are the ones we’ve been waiting for: towards the development of an indigenous educational advocacy organization for indigenous children in Canada’s custody. Can J Nativ Educ 36(1):126–145 Kirkness V, Barnhardt R (2001) First Nations and higher education: the four R’s – respect, relevance, reciprocity, responsibility. In: Knowledge across cultures: a contribution to dialogue among civilizations. Comparative Education Research Centre, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong. https://www.afn.ca/uploads/files/education2/the4rs.pdf. Accessed 20 Aug 2019 Linklater R (2014) Decolonizing trauma work: indigenous stories and strategies. Fernwood Publishing, Halifax Moseby I (2013) Administering colonial science: nutrition research and human biomedical experimentation in aboriginal communities and residential schools, 1942–1952. Hist Soc 46(1):145–172 Mussa I (2019) Remembering children who died at residential school. CBC News. https://www.cbc. ca/news/canada/ottawa/remembering-children-who-died-at-residential-school-1.5302955 National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (2019) Reclaiming power and place: the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Women and Girls. Executive summary. National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, Ottawa. https://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Executive_Summary. pdf Rickert, L (2017) September 30 is Orange shirt day: a day of remembrance of residential schools. In: Native News Online.net. https://nativenewsonline.net/currents/september-30-orange-shirtday-day-rememberance-residential-schools/. Accessed 21 Aug 2019 Rigney L (1997) Internationalisation of an Indigenous anti-colonial cultural critique of research methodologies: a guide to Indigenist research methodology and its principles. http://www. flinders.edu.au/shadomx/apps/fms/fmsdownload.cfm?file_uuid=9809EB4D-C218-A375-EF203838C485BC8E&siteName=flinders

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Root J (2017) University of British Columbia. In: Indian residential school history and dialogue centre. A case for support. http://aboriginal-2.sites.olt.ubc.ca/files/2016/10/IRSC-Case-04-Oct2016.pdf. Accessed 21 Aug 2019 Smith L (2012) Decolonizing methodologies: research and indigenous peoples, 2nd edn. Zed Books Ltd., London Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015a) What we have learned: principles of truth and reconciliation. Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Ottawa. Accessed 15 Aug 2019 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015b) Honouring the truth, reconciling for the future: summary of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Ottawa. Accessed 15 Aug 2019 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015c) Calls to action: a report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Ottawa. Accessed 15 Aug 2019 United Nations (2007) Declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples. https://www.un.org/devel opment/desa/indigenouspeoples/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2018/11/UNDRIP_E_web.pdf. Accessed 11 Aug 2019 Wesley-Esquimaux C, Calliou B (2010) Best practices in aboriginal community development: a literature review and wise practices approach. Banff Centre, Banff. http://communities4families. ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Aboriginal-Community-Development.pdf. Accessed 19 Aug 2019 Wilson S (2008) Research is ceremony: indigenous research methods. Fernwood Publishing, Halifax Wilson S, Wilson P (2002) Editorial: First Nations education in mainstream systems. Can J Nativ Educ 26(2):67–68 Wilson A, Yellow Bird M (eds) (2005) For Indigenous eyes only: a decolonizaton handbook. School of American Research Press, Sante Fe

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Community Traditional Birth Attendants and Cultural Birthing Practices in Nigeria Social Work Implications Augusta Y. Olaore, Nkiruka Rita Ezeokoli, and Vickie B. Ogunlade

Contents Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Traditional Birth Attendants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Divide: Traditional Birth Attendants and Hospital-Based Practitioners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Theoretical Frameworks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Traditional Birthing Systems Informed by Indigenous Knowledge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Feminists Theory: Cultural Birthing from a Feminist Approach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Traditional Birthing Practices Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Findings and Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Role of Social Work in Bridging the Divide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Affirming and Enhancing TBA Practices as Community Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Building Trust . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Affirmation of Indigenous Knowledge and Engaging in Indigenous Research . . . . . . . . . . . . Promoting Interdisciplinary Dialogue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Advocacy for TBA Training . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Promoting a Mutually Integrated Referral System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Inclusion in Social Work Education Curriculum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cross-References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Abstract

Africa and South Asia account for over half of the births in the world, with 65% of these births occurring in non-orthodox traditional settings. A. Y. Olaore (*) · N. R. Ezeokoli Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Nigeria e-mail: [email protected]; [email protected] V. B. Ogunlade Spelman College, Atlanta, USA e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 S. Todd, J. L. Drolet (eds.), Community Practice and Social Development in Social Work, Social Work, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-6969-8_5

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Studies show that affordability and accessibility are reasons why women choose the utilization of the services of traditional birth attendants (TBA) in Nigerian rural areas. However, urban women with better accessibility to hospitals and greater financial capacities also prefer TBA above hospital deliveries and midwives. It has been observed that the use of TBA is rooted in indigenous practices and beliefs that may not have western scientific explanations yet have served Nigerian communities for many generations. There are also factors of trust between the women and the TBA because they are members of the community, and they speak the same language and can relate to idiosyncrasies which otherwise might be ridiculed by medical practitioners. Social and emotional closeness that is not replicated in hospital settings are reported with TBA services. Cultural birthing practices include the teaching of behavioral avoidance among pregnant women, disposal of the placenta, and provision of healing medicine, among others. Prayers are also made to address inherent fears of metaphysical influences that are believed to impact the health and safety of mother and child. This chapter explores the roles of TBA, cultural practices, and indigenous beliefs, as well as the perceived tensions between the traditional birthing systems and mainstream healthcare systems. Utilizing primary and secondary sources, the authors identified challenges faced by TBA such as lack of adequate training, affirmation from medical systems, and lack of equipment. The authors also propose ways social workers may bridge the divide between TBA and orthodox medicine such as affirming TBA practices as community development, building trust, promoting interdisciplinary dialogues, and advocacy for TBA training, and promoting a mutually integrated referral system. Keywords

Traditional birth Attendants · Nigeria · Community · Social work

Introduction Community cultural practices are unique and vibrant ancient traditions and customs that have developed within different ethnic groups (Rodriguez 2014). They are core elements of each community; however, some practices while meeting the needs of many are now recognized as unorthodox, as even dangerous, and as potential violations of personal dignity and human rights. WHO (2013) affirmed that traditional treatments and traditional practitioners are often the main, and sometimes the only, source of care for many people. This care is often close to home, accessible, and affordable. The belief systems that inform these cultural practices influence the perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors involved in the management of diseases and health-related problems, impacting individuals, family systems, and the community as a whole. Consequently, the knowledge of community customs, traditions, and subsequent practices is essential for the implementation of health practices (Idehen 2007).

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Oral and written belief systems, traditions, and behaviors are intrinsically related to traditional cultural birthing practices (Teach Africa n.d.; Teachers’ Curriculum Institute 2011). This is evident in the relationship between traditional birthing and the presence of traditional birth attendants (TBA), a community cultural practice that is undergirded by varied cultural belief systems and which predates Western health modalities. The limited presence of scientific medicine in rural communities, the varied quality and high cost of health services, and the accessibility and availability of TBAs as members of the community itself are factors that have supported the persistence of this age-old practice over generations (Oladipo 2014). This chapter examines the adherence to traditional birthing customs in Nigeria, with a focus on how TBAs function, community birthing needs, and the significance of traditional cultural customs and subsequent behaviors. This chapter begins with a description of traditional birth attendants and the role that they play in many communities in the Global South. This is followed by the introduction of a feminist theoretical framework to make sense of the ways these authors take up the tensions that exist between traditional birthing systems and Westernized medicine. With this framework, the chapter then explores the methods and findings of a study that were carried out with traditional birth attendants in Nigeria. The chapter concludes with a comprehensive exploration of how these findings can inform how social work might helpfully engage with traditional birth attendants in order to build effective and respectful bridges between traditional birthing systems and more formalized and Western-based healthcare systems.

Traditional Birth Attendants The TBA role and associated practices persist in developing countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nigeria (Byrne and Morgan 2011). Typically, TBAs are community-based maternal care providers who assist mothers during childbirth. In many communities, the TBA role is recognized as a critical component of the birthing process and the associated needs of pregnant women. Usually older and viewed as elders, TBAs are respected, and many members of rural communities prefer them over nontraditional healthcare services. Therefore, the services of TBAs are the first and often the only healthcare provider rather than a clinic or hospital setting that might be available in the community (Byrne and Morgan 2011). In contrast, community health workers conduct consultations and treatment, including deliveries. They tend to be based in the healthcare centers, similar to hospital-based nurses and midwives. The limited contact these workers have with the community results in a vacuum, which is then filled by other care providers such as TBAs. As well-known members of the community, TBAs are perceived as understanding the traditions, cultures, and languages of the women they serve. TBAs have strong communal connections, with local roots that are both socially and culturally based. This knowledge base supports a unique working relationship between attendants, pregnant women, and their families. TBAs are regarded as trustworthy, and their opinions are valued, which is a considerable advantage during childbirth and

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antenatal care. The relationship of familiarity and trust enables TBAs to allow client flexibility around payment for services (e.g., rendering fees at various times postdelivery) (Itina 1997). Additional positive aspects associated with TBAs include inhome maternal support, such as cooking, cleaning, and washing, reasonable privacy afforded by home deliveries; reduction in fear of surgical delivery, accessibility, and availability (Byrne and Morgan 2011; Mbaruku et al. 2009). Every village has at least one TBA, sometimes several, who can be available 24 hours, 7 days a week. In contrast, Byrne and Morgan (2011) noted that personnel shortages, financial constraints, transportation limitations, geographic barriers, affordability, accessibility, and cultural acceptability are factors that result in pregnant women preferring TBAs. Abodunrin et al. (2010) observed that TBAs most often attend to deliveries where modern health services are unavailable or inadequate. TBAs attend to over 55% of all home deliveries in Tanzania, while in Sierra Leone TBAs conduct approximately 70% of deliveries, provide a significant amount of prenatal care, and are authorities in native methods of family planning (USAID 2009). There is widespread TBA utilization in many communities throughout countries in Africa, including Nigeria (Ebuehi and Akintujoye 2012). The World Health Organization (WHO 2018, p. 1) reported that “Nigeria has one of the largest stocks of human resources for health (HRH) in Africa. [However], like the other 57 HRH crisis countries, [Nigeria] has densities of nurses, midwives and doctors that are still too low to effectively deliver essential health services, 1.95 per 1,000.” An outcome of this crisis is that a sizeable number of deliveries are attended to by TBAs. As many as 60% of children born in Nigeria are delivered by TBAs who speak the local languages, allow traditional birthing practices, and often have the trust and respect of the community. Balogun and Odeyemi (2010) noted that cultural codes and socioeconomic factors impact local decisions to seek out the care of TBAs, in both urban and rural settings. An eastern Nigerian study showed that although 93% of rural women registered for prenatal care, 49% delivered at home under the care of TBAs (Imogie 2000). Similarly, a study of 377 women who delivered before arriving at the hospital in Ogbomosho, Southwestern Nigeria, revealed that 65% of the mothers had been delivered by a TBA, while 73.7% had sought help from TBAs for retained placenta and bleeding (Fajemilehin 1991). In Chanchaga, North Central Nigeria, 84% of households interviewed utilized the services of a TBA or village health worker (Itina 1997). Despite widespread use, TBAs tend to be inadequately trained to identify complicated labor situations that might require a hospital referral for immediate/urgent intervention. While being grounded in traditional cultural practices, TBAs are not formerly trained. Their skills are acquired by the repeated practice of delivering babies and/or through an apprenticeship with other TBAs (Medical Dictionary 2009). Ofili and Okojie (2005) studied unsafe practices in TBA management of complications, umbilical cord care, and infection control and recommended that a more holistic training program including monitoring and supervision should be provided. Other areas of negative outcomes due to the lack of training include the lack of hygienic processes to prevent infection and complications due to bleeding and breech pregnancy, which may result in infant and women deaths. The lack of

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training can also result in TBAs interpreting crisis situations as being the result of spiritual attacks, with maternal and infant mortality as the traumatic outcome (Ojua et al. 2013).

The Divide: Traditional Birth Attendants and Hospital-Based Practitioners Despite their lack of formal training, TBAs are individuals who are aware of and able to perform cultural rituals and provide crucial social support to women during their birthing experiences (AMREF 2017). As respected community members, TBAs are trusted with the secrets and concerns of those who receive their care. TBAs can be a positive factor in the survival of mothers and infants, by increasing access to indispensable information and healthcare services while providing culturally appropriate support (AMREF 2017). Ana (2011) and Turinawe et al. (2016) suggested that rural communities in Malawi and Uganda were positively impacted by the culturally compatible birthing practices of TBAs. These researchers have also documented the adverse effects of banning TBAs or excluding them from training, which include pushing these practices underground and increased maternal mortality. The major concern about TBA practices is that they present a higher risk to maternal and child health, due to informal training, nonregulated practice, and substandard practice environments. Harrison (2011) argued that there is no place for TBAs in the scheme of efficient maternal and child health services, due to TBA’s (1) age as a barrier to training, (2) illiteracy, and (3) being intractable and not open to change. Harrison (2011) also stated that initiatives that exclude TBAs, yet focus on improving the training of SBA and healthcare facilities, prove to be effective in reducing infant and maternal mortality. As a result of field observations, Gbadamosi (2015) noted that the majority of women who seek TBA services are swayed by community religious leaders, as well as their cultural beliefs and traditions. This has resulted in significant numbers of women using TBA services. However, one should also note that the same study found that TBA deliveries have been negatively impacted by the lack of skilled staff, failure to sterilize tools, and environmental conditions that are without the supports necessary for deliveries and care. Such realities have been recognized as factors underlining an increase in maternal and infant mortality rates. Igberase Ebeigbe and Andrew’s (2009) discussion of TBA care, subsequent impact, and recommendations reflected a “catch-22” reality: the unrelenting presence and provision of community-based TBA services; the critical impact and negative outcomes related to the lack of TBA actions during the course of complicated/high-risk labor and delivery experiences; the overwhelming need for strategies to enhance TBA skill levels and decision-making processes; and healthcare center providers and study observers’ desire for an increase of labor and delivery care from an Eurocentric perspective. Based on 10-year experience in a (Nigerian) tertiary hospital in the Niger Delta, and a study pertaining to the occurrence of caesarean sections, complaints were recorded regarding women’s limited use of healthcare

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centers, with an increase rate of risks when cared for by community TBAs. Igberase et al. (2009) observed that the occurrence of life-threatening birth complications was due to prolonged labor while in the care of TBAs. Despite this, “the potential of TBAs cannot be underestimated. . . necessitating research studies and training programs to improve their skills” (Igberase et al. 2009, p. 296). The study further recommended the development and implementation of strategies to train and monitor TBAs to occur within communities and nationwide, with enforced connections between TBAs and healthcare centers, prescribed use of Eurocentric medical birthing practices, and an increase in center healthcare providers and improved quality of health center service delivery. In contrast to TBAs, skilled birth attendants (SBAs) are “accredited health professional – such as a midwife, doctor or nurse – who has been educated and trained in the skills needed to manage normal (uncomplicated) pregnancies, childbirth, the immediate postnatal period, and in the identification, management and referral of complications in women and newborns” (Darmstadt et al. 2009, p. S91). During childbirth, SBA responsibilities include monitoring labor progress, with vigilance for complications, as well as monitoring of patients, with provision of support. The 2018 Global Health Observatory data regarding obstetric complications noted that most obstetric complications could be prevented or managed if women had access to an SBA during childbirth (WHO 2018). Globally, coverage of SBA during childbirth increased from 61% in 2000 to 78% in 2016; however, millions of births were not assisted by a midwife, a doctor, or a trained nurse. In sub-Saharan Africa, approximately only half of all live births were delivered with the assistance of an SBA in 2016 (ibid.). Having skilled health personnel present at deliveries is one of the key interventions for reducing maternal and prenatal mortality and morbidity (WHO 2004). Byrne and Morgan (2011) posit that while TBAs may be ill equipped to handle birthing complications, there continues to be a critical shortage of SBAs, as well as financial and infrastructural barriers to accessing prompt medical services. WHO (2004) suggests that until there are sufficient numbers of skilled midwives (or SBAs) who are ready to live in the villages where their service is more in demand, the best policy is to identify TBAs, train them to recognize danger signs during pregnancy and labor, provide them with basic sterile delivery kits, and monitor and evaluate their practice. The services that can be safely provided by TBAs with adequate training range from antenatal care (ANC); child delivery; treatment of infertility; management of threatened abortion and child birth; mobilizing for immunization and family planning; and treatment of common ailments (Neilson 2007).

Theoretical Frameworks While this discussion is specific to Nigeria, the issue of cultural practices around birthing transcends boundaries and cultures. The study that will be presented below examines cultural birthing practices in Nigeria and is informed by theories of Indigenous knowledge and feminism.

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Traditional Birthing Systems Informed by Indigenous Knowledge There is a broad agreement in the literature that the knowledge and insights of Indigenous people and communities complement and provide alternative perspectives to mainstream scientific or orthodox knowledge (Eversole 2010). These are non-Western ways of knowing that are based on interrelated belief systems and practices undergirded with spirituality and metaphysics. In contrast, Western medicine is based on scientific processes such as randomized clinical trials, rigorous methods of literature review, and statistical meta-analysis (Kirmayer 2012) and separates realities into disciplines, such as religion, philosophy, art, physical sciences, and social sciences. Indigenous knowledge is holistic, personal (subjective), social (dependent upon interrelations), and highly dependent upon local ecosystems. It is also intergenerational, incorporates the spiritual and physical, and relies heavily on elders to guide its development and transmission (Hart 2007). Indigenous communities can be viewed as epistemic cultures, not only because they have specific notions of how knowledge may be acquired and what counts as evidence but because they center on aspects of their collective identity, belonging, and unique values precisely on such forms of knowledge (Kirmayer 2012). Indigenous knowledge is the fabric that knits Indigenous communities together and provides identity. Henderson and Babtisste (cited in Hart 2007, p. 83) state that the focus of Indigenous knowledge “is a web of relationships between humans, animals, plants, natural forces, spirits, and land forms.” Lear (2006) aptly surmised: Traditional systems of healing were grounded in a specific cultural ontology of spirits, animal powers, or non-human persons animating the world and served to demonstrate the reality of these powers through healing efficacy. Hence, the loss, disruption or displacement of traditional healing practices went hand-in-hand with the undermining of worldviews and the destruction of a way of life. (as cited in Kirmayer 2012, p. 253)

The failure to recognize and integrate Indigenous concepts of spirituality and healing, which embrace and see the world holistically, is viewed as a form of cultural arrogance, and this is linked to cultural and professional imperialism (Gray and Coates 2010). Furthermore, Western contrived roles, functions, and interventions supplant preexisting Indigenous systems of care and replace them with modern colonial social structures (Gray et al. 2008). Efforts to revitalize culture and community require awareness and respect of societal and environmental interconnections, which are the essence of Indigenous knowledge, and reinstating, strengthening, and investing in culturally grounded healing practices (Kirmayer 2012), as recommended later on in this chapter.

Feminists Theory: Cultural Birthing from a Feminist Approach Feminist perspectives of childbirth have focused on the physical nature of women’s experience, in terms of pregnancy and childbirth as female functions (Davudsdóttir 2012). The oppression of women is due to men’s desire to control the natural female

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process of reproduction, an experience which women should have the ability to control (Corea 1985). Sheila Kitzinger, a childbirth feminist and activist for natural childbirth, asserts that the use of technological methods for birthing should only happen in extreme cases where the natural process has failed. Birth should be under the control of the woman and a competent midwife, not electronic machines. Subsequently, she challenges potential mothers to deliver through a natural model, which she believes is the safest method to give birth (Kitzinger 2006). Feminist theory acknowledges that women should be allowed to make decisions on their desired birth mode, whether it is traditional or hospitalized birthing. Understanding women’s perceptions and decisions about birthing methods is only possible if attention is paid to the cultural differences in the environment where births occur. Women in Nigerian cultural settings seem to feel comfortable delivering their babies through TBAs except where complications arise, in which case they then seek more formalized care. Many women in rural areas with severely limited access to emergency obstetric care, and financial barriers to obtaining proper reproductive healthcare, opt for the next best option of home birthing or using TBAs (Choudhury and Ahmed 2011).

Traditional Birthing Practices Study Studies in other parts of the world, such as Indonesia, Turkey, South Africa, India, Kenya, Pakistan, Canada, and Australia, reveal that established partnerships between TBAs and medical practitioners significantly improved maternal health and reduced mortality rate (Geçkil et al. 2009; Saravanan et al. 2011; Titaley et al. 2010; Truter 2007; Qamar et al. 2016). Subsequently, it is important to consider an affirming posture toward TBA practices in order to strengthen such partnerships and ensure better support for maternal and child health in communities. This motivated the current study that examines the experiences of TBAs in Nigeria. In order to obtain current information on TBA practices in various communities in Nigeria, the authors conducted a study for a period of 6 months (May to October 2017).

Methodology The study involved structured interview with 14 participants who worked as TBAs from north (1), south (9), southeast (2), and southwest (2) regions of Nigeria. Eleven participants were female and three were male. Participants ranged in age from 30 to 60 years and had been practicing anywhere from 5 to 25 years. Two of the participants practiced in urban areas, while 12 practiced in rural areas. The majority of the participants’ education ranged from primary to secondary levels. Purposive sampling was the design of choice because most TBA’s carry out their practices in a clandestine way (Chi and Urdal 2018). Twelve participants were referred by members of the community. The other two were added through snowball sampling.

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Involvement in the study was voluntary, and informed verbal consent was obtained from all study participants. The interviews were conducted in the native dialect (Yoruba) for the two respondents from the southwest region of Nigeria. The remainder of the interviews were conducted with a mixture of English and Pidgin. The researchers took notes as the participants spoke. The research interviews took place in the homes of the TBAs, which were also the location of their practice. The participant from the southeast region was interviewed by telephone. The interview was guided by the following questions: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

How did you come into being a TBA? What type of training have you obtained? For how long have you been a TBA? What is your relationship with Western medicine? What is your proximity to the nearest health center? What are some birthing practices that you engage in? Are you able to recognize high risk and complicated pregnancies? What do you do when a patient has a complicated pregnancy or birthing process? 9. Are you interested in ongoing training? 10. What are some obstacles you have to accessing formal training in maternal and child care? 11. Are you recognized by the government? Two barriers were encountered during the study. They included difficulties accessing participants and participant lack of trust in, or suspicion of, the researcher(s). While the communities were aware of the presence of TBAs, it was difficult identifying who they were, because TBA practices tend to be underground. For similar reasons, the TBAs were suspicious of the researchers and were initially guarded in their responses. Responses from the participants during the interviews were documented and systematically analyzed by identifying emergent themes, patterns, interconnections, and consistency. Recurrent themes and similar cultural practices and beliefs were identified. A grounded theory approach guided the data analysis and interpretations using open coding and axial coding (Strauss and Corbin 1998) for developing categories and themes (Glaser and Strauss 1967).

Findings and Discussion This section presents extracts and summaries of the authors’ dialogues with the Nigerian TBAs respondents. It is hoped that the narratives bring such practices to light in such a way that both local and international scholars may be motivated to carry out further research regarding identified practices with women who seek out and utilize the cultural practice of TBAs. The majority of the respondents were part-time TBAs. These women also earned livings as hospital ward assistants,

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farmers, traders, hair dressers, and through cloth tying and dyeing. Participant’s communities were between 1 km and 10 km from the nearest health facility. Training: The majority of the participants were trained or had acquired their traditional birthing skills through apprenticeship and inheritance from parents (see also Abodunrin et al. 2010). A participant stated, “I got my TBA training from my late father who was a TBA and who also got his own training from his late father. I will authoritatively say it is a generational thing in my family.” Some indicated that for many years prior to setting up TBA practices, they had worked in both private and government hospitals as auxiliary nurses, under the supervision of nurses and matrons. A participant reported that her father was a native doctor which gave her the exposure to traditional healing. Another said that he was trained to know the type of herbs to use by reading the records of older and more experienced TBAs. Only participants in the southwest indicated that they received Western medical training. They reported that, from time to time, they received talks and seminars from medical practitioners to update their practice. They gave an example of a recent training in HIV testing and shared the HIV test kit, which was given to them by the trainers. TBAs in other regions reported no training. Ongoing training: All the TBAs interviewed saw a need for ongoing training for better and improved services. A respondent said, “I will like to receive formal training so I can incorporate modern medicine to my practice.” Barriers included their distance from health centers where they could receive such training and the lack of finances to pay for the training. A respondent said, “I will like to be trained so as to increase my work. I even believe we need close supervision and monitoring to ensure that our practices and actions are carried out as expected. But, the money to pay for the training I don’t have, even to transport myself to the place is another problem because it is far.” A respondent who utilizes TBA reported that her mother-in-law is the one assigned to take care of the delivery of babies in the family. This is an example of family TBA, as defined by the WHO (2013): a TBA who has been designated by the extended family to attend to births in that family. High risk and complicated pregnancies: All participants indicated that they were able to recognize high risk and complicated pregnancies. The actions usually taken when they encountered clients with such high risk and complicated conditions varied. The few participants who acquired skills through formal training provided referrals for their clients. A female TBA who had received formal training replied, “When I recognize complications, I do timely and appropriate referral.” Another noted, “I do not want to be blamed if something goes wrong, so if I see that I cannot manage a delivery, I refuse the responsibility and refer to the healthcare center.” Another said, “when pregnant women come to me, I ask if they have attended antenatal care, because I don’t have tetanus injections, and I cannot test for HIV. So, I normally advise the pregnant women to go with their husbands and test for HIV before they come to me. I don’t expose myself to the risk of HIV infection and besides, if the pregnant women develop some complications during delivery that need the attention of hospital, the medical staff will demand proof of antenatal care.”

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Others saw themselves as a supplemental service provider alongside healthcare facilities. A participant said, “I encourage women to go to health facilities for antenatal because there they can get services that TBAs cannot give.” The responses of other TBAs who were not exposed to formal training indicated delayed referrals because they believed in their ability to handle such complications. However, when they could not handle the problems, their clients were then referred to health centers. Referrals were also made to other TBAs rather than to a modern healthcare facility when they believed that the other TBA was more experienced. Family planning and prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV: Only the TBAs who had been exposed to formal training highlighted their willingness and ability to actively provide pregnant women with new medical information concerning family planning and prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. The TBAs who were not exposed to formal training did not see the reason why they should give medical information, because they believed their treatment plan was sufficient. A participant said “I can even treat infertility with herbs for women who have never given birth. I can check a pregnancy and give our local medicines, which makes the woman strong, I can even detect the exact stage of the pregnancy and induce birth pains when it is time of delivery.” Another indicated that when her patient is a first timer and envisaged that some complications may occur, she would send them to older women TBAs who would always try their best for the pregnant mothers. Government recognition: Many TBAs noted that they were not recognized by the government. For instance, a female TBA respondent stated, “We know that we are not recognized by the government so we keep our work underground. People know our value and they find us when they need us.” Practices: Participants offered a range of cultural birthing practices and counsel, including antenatal talks to pregnant women; teaching proper sleeping positions (sideways as opposed to on the back to prevent the baby from moving around too much); not to wear shoes with high heels to prevent falls; provision of laxatives during pregnancy to prevent premature labor; advisement of having a metal object or a small stone attached to their clothing to prevent demons from entering their wombs; as well as not to walk at 1 pm and at night for the same reason. A participant reported that she once had a patient who was a street hawker and sold her wares around midday and disregarded the 1 pm warning in pregnancy. She said that when the delivery time came, the woman gave birth to a severely deformed child who looked like a demon. The baby died a few hours after delivery. The same patient was said to have become cautious of the warning of not being outdoors at midday in subsequent pregnancies and gave birth to normal babies. Others reported that in addition to orthodox medicine, such as the prescription of vitamins and immunizations, they prepared herbal concoctions that assisted with smoother birthing. They prescribed some vegetables, which they believed increased the fluid content of the uterus. It was noted that when a woman is having prolonged labor or there is an anticipation of complicated delivery, they would use two live catfish to touch the head of the woman and pray that all will go smoothly. The catfish was used because the local name is “aro” or “ero,” which means ease. They believed

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that there was a transfer of power between the fish and the woman to ease an otherwise protracted labor. A participant reported that when she noticed that her patients have edema (swelling in their feet) during antenatal clinic, she cooked herbs for them to facilitate urination and lower their blood pressure. A respondent reported that they have a placenta pit where placentas are discarded. She mentioned that families that come to her clinic have varied beliefs about the disposal of stillbirths, that some believe stillborns should be buried, while others believe that a stillborn should be thrown away in the bush. As a TBA, she respects the wishes of her patients and does whatever they request. Participants described cultural practices that are believed to be contraceptive (e.g., involving the boiling of different herbs along with a ring). The woman drinks the soup and keeps the ring in a safe place until she is ready to get pregnant, after which she will allow the ring to touch the ground. If the ring touches the ground at any time, it neutralizes the contraceptive powers of the herbal soup. Also there are certain dried tree barks that are grounded into powder form which when licked by a woman prevents pregnancy. It was also stated that when women are in labor and are still some distance from the delivery place, the TBA advices the women to put a piece of stone on their heads until they get to the clinic, after which they remove the stone. Somehow this practice is said to decelerate the contractions and allow the women to arrive at a place where they can be assisted in the birthing process. Some participants ensure proper sterilization of equipment through the use of autoclaves. Gloves are also worn when administering care to their patients. Language and rapport: All the TBAs indicated that they speak in the native language of their patients. This helps their patients to be relaxed and open with them. They said that patients find it difficult to connect with medical practitioners in the hospitals and feel that the doctors do not listen to them. Collaborations: The TBAs in the southwestern part of the country reported that there are ongoing collaborations between them and medical practitioners, which include trainings, seminars, and workshops. This level of governmental involvement was inconsistent across the regions of the country. Some TBAs reported adversarial postures by the government. Some TBA clinics in the community are utilized for the immunization of pregnant women and children. In some regions of the country, TBAs are also required to register with the government and are mandated to refer cases they are unable to handle promptly to health facilities. Reverse referral is rare, wherein medical practitioners refer patients to TBAs when all medical interventions have failed. However, the TBAs reported that there are cases when patients are referred to them from the hospitals. One respondent reported a case where a pregnant woman had a fetus that was not descending to engage for delivery. After the nurses had done all they could to “turn” the fetus, the woman was referred to him. He gave her some herbs, which resulted in the baby turning into the desired position. He then sent the patient back to the doctor for delivery. Two respondents stated that while medical practitioners may not routinely refer patients to TBAs, patients default to TBAs voluntarily when it seems that Western medicine is not meeting their needs.

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Associations: TBA associations are established resources in the community. Study respondents stated that TBAs organize events in the community for comradery, to celebrate awards, or to address issues or concerns of community members. Traditional rulers, medical practitioners, and other members of the community are invited to the gatherings. When a concern is reported about a member of the association, the chairperson is called for possible interventions. Study respondents stated that they belong to TBA associations. Some associations are faith-based providing non-Western birthing practices utilizing Christian or Islamic rituals such as praying, scriptural incantations, and fasting. Others are reliant on African traditional practices such as incantations to gods, consulting oracles, and performance of rituals. In some regions TBAs are required to register both with TBA associations and with community medical centers. Associations also organize trainings and workshops where knowledge, skills, techniques, and information are shared, and medical practitioners are invited or requested to facilitate such trainings, with members being required to pay at times. These actions hold them accountable to best practices and compliance with referral procedures.

The Role of Social Work in Bridging the Divide As already noted, culturally welcoming practices and the realities of TBAs in developing countries are significant to community development. The results of this study confirmed the significance of TBA and their crucial role in maternal and child health in rural communities in Nigeria. Yet the tensions between the TBAs and mainstream healthcare, their lack of paramedical training, and the ongoing struggle for the affirmation of Indigenous knowledge undermine the capacity of TBAs in serving their communities effectively. Social workers in native communities may play significant roles in bridging the divide between the traditional birthing systems (TBS) and orthodox maternal and child care. Nigerian social workers with their knowledge base in community development as well as Indigenous practice skills may contribute to the development of native communities through their support for traditional birthing systems (TBS). The following is a discussion of these roles as informed by the study.

Affirming and Enhancing TBA Practices as Community Development Eversole (2010) argued that true community development is when there is partnership between external organizations such as the government, nongovernmental organizations, international initiatives, and local systems. The local structures are not meant to be tools for implementing outsider agenda; rather, external interests work together with local initiatives and strengthen preexisting community practices. When applied to the present discussion, this paradigm affirms, supports, and enhances TBS in Nigerian communities. As already discussed, maternal and child

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health have significantly improved in communities where there are healthy collaborations between the TBS and medical systems. Ana (2011) reported that maternal mortality rose after Malawi banned TBAs and they went underground, resulting in the loss of regulatory authority. Maternal mortality rates began to drop again after the Malawian government reversed the ban and started TBA training. Participants in this study reported that TBAs provide culturally friendly birthing services that are affordable and accessible to women in rural communities, thus providing complementary healthcare to pregnant women.

Building Trust Social workers have been accused of professional imperialism and promoting medical arrogance (Gray and Coates 2010). When social workers are recognized as professionals who are seeking to genuinely understand what the people do, with an intent to understand “why,” and a transparent goal of strengthening and affirmation, trust will be built into the professional relationship. TBS as a traditional healing process has an impact on people’s sense of identity. They need to see the move toward affirmation of Indigenous birthing not as a compensatory response or restitution for cultural oppression but as the recognition and application of fundamental truths about the world based on Indigenous knowledge (Kirmayer 2012). This is where trust is established, which then determines what will be told or withheld in Indigenous research (Evans et al. 2009). Respondents said “It is our secret. We can’t tell you” when they were asked about the specific components of herbal mixtures used in some traditional birthing care. Custodians of native knowledge often expressed the fear that when the secrets of what they do are revealed to persons of the Western mindset, the information will be taken away and commoditized, while the community will be excluded from the resulting patents and intellectual property rights. This form of theft results in the exclusion of Indigenous people from proceeds, royalties, and subsequent disenfranchisement (Battiste and Henderson 2000; Hart 2007). One of the respondents said, “I know the exact leaf my mother-in-law uses but I no go tell you. You know some people are bad and they fit take am go do something with it and leave us” (Pidgin English). It is therefore important that social work practitioners gain the confidence of the community. The communities must be the direct beneficiaries of outcomes related to the sharing of the Indigenous knowledge, knowledge which they have carried over generations and might offer solutions to problems that Westernized medicine could not resolve. There needs to be an intentionality by social workers to engage legal structures that protect the intellectual properties of Indigenous knowledge in general and TBA practices in particular. When communities have this certainty, trust is built, and social workers may have access to privileged Indigenous knowledge for the purpose of strengthening the communities. Access to protected native knowledge and information could ultimately pave the way for research that may further substantiate the validity of some TBS cultural practices.

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Affirmation of Indigenous Knowledge and Engaging in Indigenous Research An important factor in developing communities is admitting the epistemology of cultural practices as valid knowledge. Eversole (2010) observed that even when community opinions are heard, noted, and respected, the scientific mindset is unable to recognize the knowledge that underpins cultural practices. Eversole argues “the Indigenous knowledge that fortifies the cultural practices involved in TBS are often regarded as ‘attitudes’ or ‘opinions’ rather than knowledge: ‘anecdotal’ rather than proven, and thus of less weight. They are shoved aside in the presence of what is called data and tested evidence.” This creates a divide between expertise and experience (Hart 2007). In order for communities to develop through the strengthening of TBS, native experiences need to count for native knowledge and be admitted into the realm of empirical knowledge. It is a different way of looking at knowledge, which may not be called scientific as to generalizability, but can be validated as what works for that local community and is of value for them. Study participants described cultural practices such as putting a catfish on the head of a pregnant woman to ease difficult labor, saying of incantations that turn a baby around in the womb, or the attachment of a small metal object or stone that drives away demons. These practices may be researched and validated as relevant knowledge. If the people report that it works for them over and over again (replicated trials within the community), then it should be accepted as valid knowledge when developing localized programs and interventions. Social work practitioners working with communities will therefore need to pay specific attention to not only the knowledge, institutions, and best practices of professionals but also the knowledge, institutions, and best practices of communities (Eversole 2010). Enhancing the TBS is true community development, for it strengthens current community-embedded practices through the validation of the Indigenous knowledge, working with the local institution and showcasing the best practices of the communities. In order to promote TBS as a viable community practice in the scientific arena, social work researchers need to develop competency in Indigenous research methodology. Evans et al. (2009) summarized Indigenous methodology as research by and for Indigenous peoples, utilizing techniques and methods drawn from the traditions of those peoples. Gathering and documentation of Indigenous data creates a database for future analysis and elevates Indigenous knowledge as science (Agrawal 2002). This is a desirable goal in social work education. Wilson (2001) also submitted that Indigenous research as a paradigm focuses on the relationship between the researcher and the world. As already mentioned, Indigenous knowledge is built on the interrelationship between people and both the animate and inanimate environment. Therefore, Indigenous research methods acquire knowledge in the context of interrelationships of humans, the environment, and the nature of the relationships. Indigenous research can be seen as a dimension of participatory action research (PAR). Indigenous social researchers have postulated that in PAR participants are not

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objects nor subjects. Instead they are recognized and respected as collaborators in a collective process, committed to action and social justice (Evans et al. 2009). Thus, PAR ensures that the outcome of the research is socially transformative. Social transformation is manifested through honoring the lived experience and the knowledge of the participants and community, with a commitment to the collaboration and the sharing of power in the research development, implementation, process, and evaluation (Howard and Wheeler 2015). When social work practitioners engage in Indigenous research methods, they can elicit knowledge that can be used to inform and advocate with gatekeepers of community cultural practices such as TBAs. In addition, Indigenous social workers and researchers can use the privilege resulting from formal education to support Indigenous ways of knowing, methods of knowledge development, practice, and research (Simpson 2000).

Promoting Interdisciplinary Dialogue Nigerian community development social workers are encouraged to champion and facilitate interdisciplinary meeting opportunities such as symposia, town hall meetings, and debates, which will support interdisciplinary dialogues. Such activities include various healthcare providers and organizations, such as medical practitioners, public health workers, social workers, funding organizations, community leaders, and TBAs. The goal of these meetings is to support a better understanding and appreciation of each participant’s role and functions. An additional goal is the creation of a space to support knowledge sharing on best practices, new information, and emerging challenges related to birthing practices and services in the community. If such conversations continue, communities will benefit, with improved maternal and child health.

Advocacy for TBA Training Social workers may serve as advocates for TBAs to be included in the paramedical training that could enhance better care of their clients. Community development social workers may enlist TBAs and their various associations in mobilizing traditional communities in the process of advocating for the acquisition of critical education and the development and implementation of additional supportive collaborative strategies. Incorporating TBAs as key players in community mobilization is invaluable. Such mobilization would assist in the sensitization of the community to the need to fight harmful practices, as well as assist skilled health workers in building good relations with the community (AMREF 2017).

Promoting a Mutually Integrated Referral System AMREF (2017) recommended that TBAs partner with skilled health providers by being attached to a specific health facility for supervision. Such steps would foster a

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mutual referral system, linking TBAs to facility-based clinical care (Goldenberg et al. 2007). Stakeholders in the TBS should be encouraged to implement prompt referrals of patients with complicated or high-risk pregnancy to skilled health facilities. For example, an initiative in Cross River State, Nigeria, provided incentives to TBAs for every client they referred (Ana 2011). Social workers could facilitate a mutual referral system that stems from the multidisciplinary dialogue, which could result in the referral of cases from medical facilities to TBAs. As revealed by the study respondents, there were situations where TBAs assisted in resolving birthing challenges, which Western medicine was unable to resolve. The mutuality of a referral process would affirm, empower, and foster a balance of power, ensuring that users receive optimum care. Such partnerships would incorporate supportive supervision and skills to recognize and refer high-risk pregnancies in a timely manner (Ebuehi and Akintujoye 2012).

Inclusion in Social Work Education Curriculum Geçkil et al. (2009) proposed that midwifery and nursing education curricula include culturally specific knowledge to enable reinforcement of positive cultural practices and the discouragement of potentially harmful ones. This recommendation may also be extended to social work education in Nigeria. There is a clear need to incorporate Indigenous birthing practices as cultural practices in the context of community development curriculum. This knowledge could also be designed as a specialized module in the curriculum for classes in public health social work, Indigenous social work. The utilization of TBA clinics for field/internship options should also be viewed as a critical element of this process. The development of such modules would provide a knowledge base, exposure to paradigm shifts, with an acquisition of skills and values. Such inclusion of these in-class educational elements and experiential activities in the field would equip Nigerian social work graduates for culturally competent practice in communities.

Conclusion The traditional birthing system is a community cultural practice that predates Westernized medicine. This system is grounded in self-help, reliance, growth, and participatory processes that meet the needs of the people who use TBA services. As respected members of the community, TBAs are bearers of cultural traditions and practices, who respect and utilize Indigenous knowledge as they provide services in communities. To support safe childbirth practices, TBA processes should be affirmed and their services enhanced via systematic trainings. An increase of TBAs’ critical clinical knowledge, skill building opportunities, and strengthening of the referral process for complicated/high-risk pregnant clients are significant goals for these educational processes. Social workers practicing in Nigerian native communities must support the enhancement of the well-being of those they assist – individuals, families, groups,

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and communities – and efforts to decrease maternal and infant mortality rates, with the inclusion of TBAs as active participants in the process. TBA training sessions must use Indigenous knowledge, be accessible, and build awareness and trust in order to enhance and support the community. As a community member, as well as professionals with a critical skills set, social workers have a vital role in bridging the divide between Eurocentric and traditional birthing practices. This is feasible via the implementation of Indigenous research, promotion of interdisciplinary dialogues, advocacy for the training of TBAs, and the inclusion of TBS knowledge into the social work education curriculum.

Cross-References ▶ Anti-oppressive Community Work Practice and the Decolonization Debate ▶ Community Practice and Social Development in Botswana ▶ Wise Indigenous Community Development Principles and Practices ▶ “Seeing Everyone Do More Than Society Would Expect Them”: Social Development, Austerity, and Unstable Resources in South African Community Services ▶ Social Protection and Social Development ▶ Social Protection and Social Development in Swaziland ▶ Social Change and Social Work in Mongolia

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Ofili AN, Okojie OH (2005) Assessment of the role of traditional birth attendants in maternal health care in Oredo local government area, Edo State, Nigeria. J Com Med Prim Health Care 17:55–60 Ojua TA, Ishor DG, Ndom PJ (2013) African cultural practices and health implications for Nigeria rural development. Int Rev Manage Bus Res 2:176–183 Oladipo JA (2014) Utilization of health care services in rural and urban areas: a determinant factor in planning and managing health care delivery systems. Afr Health Sci 14:322–333 Qamar MA, Zareen H, Malik MM (2016) Pakistani women’s dietary and behavioural practices in postpartum period. Pakistan Journal of Phy 12(2):15–18 Rodriguez J (2014) 10 unique customs you’ll only find in specific cultures. LTD: Lifestyle Listverse. https://listverse.com/2014/10/11/10-unique-customs-youll-only-find-in-specific-cul tures. Accessed 9 Mar 2019 Saravanan S, Turell G, Johnson H, Fraser J, Patterson C (2011) Traditional birth attendant training and local birthing practices in India. Eval Progr Plan 34:254–265 Simpson L (2000) Anishinaabe ways of knowing: aboriginal health, identity, and resources (165–185). Winnipeg: Departments of Native Studies and Zoology, and the Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Manitoba Strauss A, Corbin J (1998) Basics of qualitative research: techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory. Sage, Thousand Oaks Teach Africa (n.d.) The oral traditions of Africa. World Affairs Council of Houston. Houston. https://static1.squarespace.com. Accessed 8 Mar 2019 Teachers’ Curriculum Institute (2011) The cultural legacy of west Africa. In: History Alive: the medieval world and beyond. Bookshare-Beneficent Technology Inc, Palo Alto. https://www. neshaminy.org. Accessed March 6, 2019 Titaley C, Hunter CL, Dibley MJ, Heywood P (2010) Why don’t some women attend antenatal and postnatal care services? A qualitative study of community members’ perspectives in Garut, Sukabumi and Ciamis districts of West Java Province, Indonesia. BMC Pregn Child 10:61 Truter I (2007) African traditional healers: cultural and religious beliefs intertwined in a holistic way. SA Pharm J 74(8) Turinawe EB, Rwemisisi JT, Musinguzi LK, de Groot M, Muhangi D, de Vries DH, Pool R (2016) Traditional birth attendants (TBAs) as potential agents in promoting male involvement in maternity preparedness: insights from a rural community in Uganda. Reprod Health 13:24. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12978-016-0147-7 US Agency for International Development (USAID) (2009) Sierra Leone. Training traditional birth attendants educating pregnant women and mothers. USAID, Washington, DC. http://www. usaid.gov/sl/sl_new/news/tba.htm. Accessed 7 Mar 2019 WHO (2004) eMaking pregnancy safer: the critical role of the skilled attendant: A joint statement by WHO, ICM and FIGO. International Confederation of Midwives & International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO). WHO, Geneva. http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/ 10665/42955/9241591692.pdf?sequence=1. Accessed 15 Mar 2019 Wilson S (2001) What is an indigenous research methodology? Can J Nat Ed 25:175–179 World Health Organization (WHO) (2018) Global health workforce alliance: Country response – nigeria. http://www.who.int/workforcealliance/countries/nga/en/. Accessed 8 Mar 2019 World Health Organization (WHO) (2013) WHO traditional medicine strategy: 2014-2023. Geneva

PART III Social Development Theory and Practice

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Social Protection and Social Development James Midgley

Contents Understanding Social Protection: The Historical Context . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Contribution of Social Protection to Social Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Social Protection and Poverty Eradication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Social Protection and Sustainable Economic Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Social Protection and Social Justice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Enhancing the Contribution of Social Protection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cross-References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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This chapter discusses the role of social protection (also known as social security or income protection) in social development. It traces the expansion of social protection over the last two decades and shows how cash transfers and similar innovative programs are promoting social development by reducing poverty, fostering sustainable economic development, and promoting social justice. The chapter points out that its contribution can be significantly enhanced by improving coverage, administrative efficiency, financing, and integration with national development objectives. These improvements are needed if social protection is to contribute effectively to the goal of achieving well-being and social justice which have long characterized social development policy and practice. Keywords

Social development · Social protection · Cash transfers · Poverty · Redistribution · Social justice · Gender · Economic growth J. Midgley (*) University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 S. Todd, J. L. Drolet (eds.), Community Practice and Social Development in Social Work, Social Work, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-6969-8_7

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From its early beginnings in the Global South in the years following the Second World War, social development has evolved as an eclectic field of practice in which various interventions are used to promote social well-being. Most social development interventions are implemented at the community level, but some are directed at households or at the national level. Many social development programs are supported by international donors and international development organizations. Prominent among the many interventions associated with social development are community development projects, programs to enhance gender equality, asset building initiatives, cooperatives, preschool education, maternal and child health programs, local economic development activities, and many others. These programs are distinctive for linking economic and social interventions in a multifaceted development process. Until recently, social protection was not viewed as a part of social development, primarily because social protection programs, which were introduced during colonial times, were very limited in scope, catering to workers in the modern sector of the economy or to destitute people in the cities. They were also believed to be unaffordable and detrimental to economic growth. However, the situation has changed dramatically since the 1990s when some governments in the Global South launched innovative social protection initiatives targeting low-income families in both urban and rural areas. Among the earliest and best documented are conditional cash transfer programs like Mexico’s Prospera program (originally known as Progresa and subsequently as Oportunidades) and Brazil’s Bolsa Família program, India’s public works program established as part of the 2005 Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), and South Africa’s Child Support Grant. In addition, some developing countries have introduced universal retirement pensions and asset savings schemes, and micro-insurance initiatives have proliferated. Today, it is widely accepted that social protection is an integral part of social development, and, indeed, the expansion of these programs throughout the Global South is a remarkable addition to the social development practice repertoire. The priority given to these programs by international donors and organizations such as the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the World Bank shows just how popular they have become. However, many issues arising alongside their expansion should still be debated. Of particular importance are the economic effects of social protection. Critics on the political right contend that social protection programs may have desirable humanitarian goals but that they impede economic growth since they divert resources from much-needed productive investments. Others claim that the issue of affordability has not been carefully considered and that, unless checked, these programs would become prohibitively expensive. Social development writers challenge these arguments by pointing out that social protection contributes to sustainable economic development. In addition, they contend that social protection plays a vital role in poverty eradication in the Global South and that it can be used to promote social justice by directing resources to vulnerable groups, redistributing resources and enhancing gender equity.

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This chapter considers these and other issues. First, it defines social protection by describing the different types of programs that have evolved over the years. Next, it discusses the role of social protection in social development by focusing on three ways social protection contributes to the field. These include reducing poverty, fostering sustainable economic development, and promoting social justice. The chapter points out that these contributions can be significantly enhanced by improving the administrative efficiency of social protection, as well as its financing, coverage, and integration with national development goals. These improvements are needed if social protection is to contribute effectively to the wider goals of achieving well-being and social justice for all which have long characterized social development policy and practice.

Understanding Social Protection: The Historical Context The term social security emerged in the Western countries in the 1930s to refer to government social insurance and social assistance schemes designed to protect families against loss of income during times of adversity. The term social protection is of more recent origin, gaining popularity in the 1990s as a descriptor for a variety of income transfer programs sponsored by both government and nongovernmental organizations. These programs not only provide a safety net that helps families facing financial risks, but they also subsidize incomes in order to reduce poverty. Having a wider remit than social insurance and social assistance, they include food for work programs, agricultural subsidies, asset savings accounts, famine relief, and microinsurance, among others. Although the terms social protection and social security are often used interchangeably, the International Labour Organization (ILO) (2014) points out that the term social protection is now widely used as a broad, generic term for a large number of income transfer programs. Following this approach, conventional social security schemes such as social insurance and social assistance are subsumed under the broader heading of social protection. However, it should be recognized that the nomenclature of social protection is very imprecise and that many other terms such as economic security, income protection, cash transfers, transfer payments, social grants, entitlements, and welfare are also used in the literature. Although this complicates matters, there is agreement that the most distinctive feature of these programs is that they transfer resources, either cash or in kind, to individuals and households. These transfers are referred to as benefits or benefit payments. The term contingency refers to the needs and risks these programs seek to address, which include social problems such as hunger, homelessness, and poverty that are not necessary the result of adversity but of wider structural inequalities. Resource transfers have characterized social protection programs ever since they first emerged millennia ago. Originally, social protection comprised culturally institutionalized practices and was found in the earliest human societies. Kin and community obligations to care for those in need were well-defined among hunter

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gatherer and nomadic people, and, with the advent of settled agriculture, practices such as channeling charitable giving through temples and religious organizations or setting aside communal land for needy people became commonplace. These practices still persist today. For example, Patel et al. (2012) reveal how in Zimbabwe the Zunde raMambo system in which village chiefs allocate land to cultivate crops for widows, orphans, and elders without means of support coexists with the government’s formal welfare system. Although early forms of social protection comingled with religious charity, governments were also involved by enacting statutes protecting vulnerable people or requiring that those in need be provided for. Mesa-Lago (1978) reveals that both the Inca and Aztec empires required rural communities to cultivate communal plots to feed needy people. However, almsgiving was largely dictated by religious practice and seldom involved the state. One exception was the treasury or Beit-ul-Mal established by the Caliph Omar in the seventh century, which collected and distributed zakat payments, a religiously mandated form of giving incumbent on all Muslims. However, since zakat was previously a private matter dictated by conscience, the government’s involvement proved to be controversial, and the practice was eventually abandoned. Another exception was the enactment of legislation by medieval European monarchs to require the payment of tithes to the church. In England, these laws laid the foundation for the Elizabethan Poor Law of 1601, which created the first nationwide program of poverty relief administered by local parishes under the supervision of the national government. It is widely recognized as a major development in the history of social protection. The Poor Law was introduced in a few British colonies during the imperial era and was subsequently emulated by some governments in the Global South. It was also important for codifying the principles of social assistance. Among the most important of these is the principle that benefits shall be provided by the state to those who meet statutorily defined conditionalities including limited income and assets. Although social assistance has changed radically since the Elizabethan Law was enacted, the means test has remained its most distinctive feature. Other conditionalities such as age and citizenship are also used to determine eligibility. The innovative conditional cash transfer programs introduced in Latin American countries in the 1990s extended these conditionalities to require school attendance, immunization, and health checkups. Similar conditional cash transfer programs have been established in many other developing countries. They are often contrasted with what are sometimes called unconditional transfers, which is a misnomer since all social assistance schemes impose conditionalities. Social insurance is another important type of social protection. Its historic roots can be traced to the communal funds established by artisans in the ancient civilizations. These funds collected regular contributions from their members, which were pooled and used to provide benefits when members faced adversities such as illness, accidents, or death. The funds laid the foundations for the subsequent worldwide evolution of mutual aid associations. These became quite large in Europe in the nineteenth century, providing financial support as well as medical services to industrial workers. In England, these associations were known as Friendly Societies, and they enrolled millions of members, paving the way for the introduction of health

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insurance by the British government in the early twentieth century. In Germany, they inspired Chancellor Bismarck’s social insurance initiatives in the 1880s. Unlike social assistance, which is dependent on a means test, social insurance benefits are paid on the basis of a contribution record. After the ILO was established in 1919, social insurance was given high priority, and many of the organization’s member states introduced these programs to maintain the incomes of workers when faced with illness, disability, maternity, unemployment, retirement, and other contingencies that would interrupt, reduce, or terminate income derived from regular employment. Since then, most countries have established social insurance programs that now cover hundreds of millions of people around the world. Mandates have been an integral part of social protection for many years. They are statutory requirements imposed by governments on employers to pay benefits to their workers when specified contingencies arise. They first emerged in the late nineteenth century to mandate payments to workers who were injured at work. Workers’ compensation, as this approach is known, is still widely used today. However, mandates were also imposed to compel employers to grant leave to workers who became ill or who were expecting a child and to mandate severance or redundancy pay when workers were laid off. More recently, governments have mandated the payment of minimum wages in order to improve the living standards of working families. They were first introduced in Australia and New Zealand at the end of the nineteenth century but have now been adopted in many other countries. In the United States, many states and municipalities have introduced their own income mandates, which are widely known as living wages. Some governments have also established universal social allowances, which pay benefits to those meeting specified conditions without using a means test or contribution record. These demogrant or categorical programs, as they are also known, were first introduced in the Western countries in the mid-twentieth century to supplement the incomes of families with children irrespective of their income or extent of need. Originally called family allowances, they are now usually referred to as child benefit or child allowance programs. Universal programs have also been used on a limited basis to pay benefits to people with disability and, in a few cases, to elderly people. Willmore (2007) notes that the governments of some developing countries, including Bolivia, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, and Nepal, have recently introduced universal pensions funded from general revenues. However, in most countries statutory pensions are provided through social insurance or social assistance. A recent development is the introduction of tax-funded benefits by which governments direct resources to taxpayers for various social purposes. These benefits flow primarily through income tax credits which reduce the tax liability of qualifying households and accordingly raise their disposable income. Historically, households with children have received credits of this kind, but the benefits have been extended over the years to help families meet the costs of caring for elders or disabled relatives. Tax benefits are also used to encourage employers to provide pensions or retirement savings schemes for their workers or otherwise to subsidize their wages. Wage subsidies through the tax system have expanded rapidly in recent years. In the

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United States, the earned income tax credit (EITC) is paid to workers whose earnings fall below a specified level in the form of refundable credit which they claim when filing annual tax returns. Currently, approximately 27 million workers benefit from this program (United States, Inland Revenue Service 2017). Other Western countries have introduced similar programs, but they are uncommon in the developing world for the obvious reason that relatively few people pay income tax. Taxadvantaged savings accounts have also become popular, providing incentives for people to save for retirement. These schemes allow for tax liability on interest to be sheltered until withdrawals are made at the time of retirement. Some governments have promoted commercially managed retirement savings accounts as an alternative to statutory social insurance. In 1981, Chile’s military government under General Pinochet was one of the first to introduce these accounts to replace the country’s social insurance retirement system which dated back to the 1920s. The governments of a number of Latin American and some Eastern European countries emulated this development, and it was actively supported by the World Bank (1994), which claimed that conventional social insurance programs were unlikely to meet their obligations because of aging populations. In addition, it was argued that commercially managed retirement accounts provided investment choices and were more efficient than state-managed social insurance schemes. However, these schemes do not permit resource pooling meaning that the accumulated deposits plus interest are the sole source of retirement income. The provident funds introduced in some former British colonial territories after the Second World War are similar to commercial retirement accounts but they are state managed. Over the years, many provident funds have been converted into social insurance, but some, such as Singapore’s Central Provident Fund, continue to function. Commercially managed funds in several countries have either been discontinued or significantly modified, since it is now apparent that they have not met the retirement needs of most workers. Individual savings accounts for low-income families, known as Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), have also become a part of social protection. They match the deposits of poorer savers and permit them to accumulate resources for education, housing, small business start-ups, and other approved purposes. Invented by Sherraden (1991), IDA programs are usually managed by nonprofit organizations and often complement the social services they provide to their clients. These programs facilitate asset accumulation rather than meeting immediate consumption needs and in this way help families to meet future contingencies. In addition to IDAs, other asset programs such as child and youth savings accounts, which provide tax-advantaged opportunities for young people and families to save for the future, have been established. Often, they help families to save to meet the costs of higher education. In some cases, governments provide the initial deposit, which is then augmented with family savings. A range of other initiatives including food for work, famine relief, microfinance, agricultural commodity subsidies, and micro-insurance have augmented these core social protection programs. Also important are public works programs which have been established in many low-income countries, primarily to alleviate poverty and

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food insecurity. Micro-insurance programs have proliferated, as grassroots savings clubs and mutual aid associations have adopted formal operating procedures and benefited from having access to banks and technical assistance. Although some writers believe that preschool education, HIV prevention programs, rural health clinics, and community development projects should also be regarded as forms of social protection, there is a risk that the term becomes so broad as to be meaningless. In addition, this usage makes it difficult to distinguish between social protection and social services, causing confusion as well as administrative and budgetary difficulties. For these reasons, most scholars link social protection directly to the payment of benefits either in cash or kind. Indeed, many prefer the term cash transfers to social protection.

The Contribution of Social Protection to Social Development Although social protection is now widely regarded as an integral part of social development, it cannot be taken for granted that its contribution has always been positive. Several examples can be given of incompatibility of social protection with social development. Social insurance programs in many developing countries still provide limited coverage and cater only to the small proportion of workers in the modern sectors of the economy. Similarly, conventional social assistance schemes based on the colonial poor law approach still operate in some parts of the Global South, imposing harsh conditionalities on poor families and failing to raise their incomes to basic subsistence levels. Clearly, the role of social protection in social development requires more careful analysis. There is also a good deal of evidence to show that social protection has fostered social development goals. Evaluations of conditional cash transfers and other social protection programs, such as universal pensions, micro-insurance, and public works projects, show that they have improved the well-being of millions of families around the world. Qualitative ethnographic studies confirm these findings and support the contention that social protection contributes positively to social development. The following elaborates by discussing three ways in which social protection achieves this objective: poverty eradication, promoting sustainable economic development, and achieving social justice.

Social Protection and Poverty Eradication Reducing poverty has been a major objective of social development since the 1950s, when community development was first introduced in the Global South. Most governments at that time were committed to reducing poverty through industrialization, which was believed to draw labor out of the subsistence agricultural sector and create remunerative wage employment on a sufficiently large scale to eradicate poverty. However, the results of industrialization were decidedly mixed, and only a few countries recorded high rates of economic growth and a significant decline in

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poverty. For most others, the promise of industrial development was not fulfilled. For this reason, leading development economists like Myrdal (1970) and Seers (1969) urged governments to reassess their commitment to industrialization and address the problem of poverty directly. Hall and Midgley (2004) report that by the 1960s, many governments in the Global South had already augmented their budgetary allocations to the social services and that school enrolments as well as health conditions were gradually improving. Unfortunately, many borrowed heavily on international markets to fund their services, with the result that their indebtedness grew, requiring emergency aid from Western countries as well as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. This resulted in the 1980s and 1990s in the imposition of structural adjustment programs in many countries, with negative consequences for social development. As government programs were retrenched, social conditions deteriorated and poverty increased, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Structural adjustments also fostered the imposition of liberal market ideas, which further undermined government social programs. It was in this context that the United Nations convened the World Summit on Social Development in Copenhagen in 1995 to reassert the international community’s commitment to raise living standards throughout the world. The Summit resulted in the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals and the prioritization of poverty eradication (as well as improvements in health, education, and nutrition). By setting a target of reducing global poverty by half by the year 2015, the United Nations and its member states affirmed the historic social development goal of improving social well-being for all. A variety of antipoverty programs were identified, but no mention was made of social protection as a potentially useful means of achieving this goal. At the time, the idea that “just giving money to the poor” could reduce poverty was not discussed, largely because it was both ideological unpalatable and budgetarily improbable (Hanlon et al. 2010). The introduction of conditional cash transfers in Brazil and Mexico and the expansion of social assistance in South Africa challenged these assumptions, and in the early years of the new century, it became apparent that social protection was having a positive impact. Since benefits were quite low, the proportion of the national budget allocated to these programs was relatively small, and despite predictions that the injection of cash into the economy would result in inflation and have other harmful economic effects, income transfers actually made a positive contribution to economic development (Midgley 2008). These findings influenced thinking about the role of social protection in poverty eradication, and many donor governments, as well as international organizations such as the World Bank, now began to promote their expansion. Although conditional cash transfers led the way, other initiatives such as the expansion of China’s dibao social assistance program, the enactment in India of the MGNREGA in 2005, and the creation of universal pensions in a number of lowincome countries have significantly extended social protection. Another important development was the formalization of mutual aid, which resulted in the recognition

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of micro-insurance as an effective social protection intervention. Today, many hundreds of millions of people around the world receive cash benefits that have raised their incomes and reduced poverty. Xu and Carraro (2017) observe that in China alone, the dibao program assists approximately 20 million people (up from four million in 2000), while Hall (2017) reports that Brazil’s Bolsa Família conditional cash transfer program pays benefits to more than 13 million families with about 50 million members (or more than a quarter of the country’s population). Asher and Bali (2014) point out that India’s Employees’ Provident Fund, which collect retirement contributions from workers in regular wage employment, has more than 80 million members (of whom 40 million are active participants). In South Africa, Patel (2015) reports that social grants of various kinds now reach about 17 million people. Even micro-insurance programs now cover many more families. In the Philippines, the micro-insurance program CARD MBA has more than 700,000 members (Alip and Amenomori 2011). In India, the Self-Employed Women’s Association, originally established in Gujarat to campaign for improved fees and working conditions for women bidi or cigarette rollers (Chen 2008), has expanded its operations to provide a variety of micro-insurance schemes that now cover more than a million women workers in several states. Although increased coverage does not necessarily reduce poverty, a good deal of research has now been undertaken to show that social protection has indeed had a positive impact on the poverty rate. Most studies focus on the effects of these programs on recipient households, but some have attempted to determine whether programs have reduced the incidence of poverty at the national level as well. One of many early examples of studies of the impact of social protection on households is Hulme and Moore’s (2008) randomized study of a cash transfer program operated by the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, which found that the incomes of households receiving cash benefits rose and that their nutritional status improved. Barrientos (2013) provides another early example of randomized study of the effectiveness of social protection by reporting that Mexico’s Progresa program raised the incomes of households in the experimental group by 7.5% in the first 2 years of the program’s operation, while poverty among the control group only increased slightly. A major international review of evaluations of conditional cash transfers by the World Bank (2009) confirms that most of these programs reduce the incidence of poverty among recipient households. Although not as extensive as household impact studies, the findings of research into the effects of social protection on the aggregate, national-level poverty rate are also positive. Reviewing data obtained from household surveys in Brazil, Soares (2013) concludes that social protection programs including social insurance, meanstested social assistance, and Bolsa Família lifted 13.2% of the Brazilian population out of poverty. Examining the impact of social protection on poverty in Namibia, Levine et al. (2011) reach similar a conclusion, finding that social protection reduced the national poverty rate by about 22%. Patel (2015) reports that South Africa’s various social protection grants lowered the country’s poverty rate, especially in the rural areas. However, she cautions that the nation still has an unacceptably high rate

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of poverty which cannot be solved by income transfers alone. While social protection makes a major contribution to poverty eradication, sustained economic development is needed to raise standards of living for all.

Social Protection and Sustainable Economic Development As mentioned earlier, social development is distinctive because it directly links social interventions and economic growth policies. This has been a feature of social development since the 1950s, when community development first combined economic and social projects in order to raise living standards at the local level (Pawar 2014). Similar ideas were implemented at the national level when governments adopted growth policies that transcended their formative preoccupation with industrialization and focused instead on poverty reduction and on expanding health, education, and social welfare services. Since then, the idea that the economic and social components of development should be integrated has been augmented by the inclusion of political, gender, and environmental dimensions, resulting in an even more inclusive conception of the development process (Midgley 2014). Although many economists still ignore those aspects of development which are not directly concerned with economic growth, most development writers agree that development should be an inclusive and sustainable process. The adoption of the term Sustainable Development Goals as a successor to the Millennium Development Goals by the United Nations in 2015 reveals that this broader conception of development is now widely accepted in development circles. To achieve development in the fullest meaning of the term, economic growth must be accompanied by social programs that reduce poverty and enhance health, education, housing, and social well-being among the population as a whole. It also requires full participation in democratic decision-making, a commitment to human rights and gender equality, and economic growth policies that preserve the environment for future generations. Together with other programs, social protection makes a vital contribution to achieving sustainable economic development. Social protection promotes sustainable economic development by investing in human capital, which is a precondition for growth. Today, most development economists believe that economic development is not only dependent on financial capital but requires human capital investments in the form of education and skills training. In addition, the productive economy needs a healthy and well-nourished labor force. Although many governments originally increased budgetary allocations to social services for political purposes (Hall and Midgley 2004), the idea that social spending generates positive returns to the economy was gradually accepted, providing an economic rationale for government welfare. This owes much to Schultz’s (1959, 1962) pioneering research into human capital, which demonstrated the positive economic effects of investing in health, education, and nutrition. He showed that antimalarial campaigns in India improved the health of farmers and resulted in higher crop yields and how improved nutrition raised labor productivity. During the presidency of Robert McNamara, the World Bank embraced the human capital

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theory and adopted its recommendations (World Bank 1975). Since then, investing in human capital has become a high priority in economic development. However, it was only with the introduction of conditional cash transfers in Brazil and Mexico that the role of social protection in mobilizing human capital was recognized. As Papadopolous and Leyer (2016) point out, these programs were intentionally designed to promote human capital by requiring that the children of households receiving benefits attend school regularly, are immunized, and have health checkups. Reviewing a number of studies into the impact of conditional cash transfers, Barrientos (2013) reports that they raised school attendance, lowered dropout rates, and improved the health and nutritional status of recipient families. Although he cautions that increased enrolments do not result in improved educational standards if schools lack qualified teachers and are badly managed, the evidence shows that these programs are contributing to human capital and sustainable economic development in many parts of the world. Social protection programs that do not impose school attendance and other similar requirements also contribute to the mobilization of human capital. Mutatkar (2013) reports that nutritional schemes directed at poor families have been in existence in India for many years, enhancing the food security of many millions of poor families. In addition to subsidizing basic staples, the country’s national network of community-based Anganwadi childcare centers has reduced child malnutrition. Ellis et al. (2009) observe that ameliorating hunger is given high priority in many social protection programs in African countries where paying cash transfers are increasingly preferred to emergency food rations. Patel (2015) reveals that many evaluations of South Africa’s Child Support Grant show that school attendance and nutritional standards improved even before conditionalities were first imposed in 2010. Social protection also promotes sustainable economic development by stimulating employment and self-employment. Although hotly disputed by market liberals and many policymakers who believe that social protection programs foster worklessness and long-term dependency, many examples can be given of how they promote employment and self-employment. The most obvious is unemployment insurance, now quite common in higher-income developing countries, which maintains income when workers are unemployed and helps them sustain a decent standard of living while they seek work. Without these programs, they may become homeless and destitute, harming their chances of finding employment. Social assistance payments to unemployed people have a similar function. By preventing them from being relegated to the fringes of the subsistence economy, these programs assist them to find productive work. More generally, there is evidence to show that social assistance programs that subsidize family income, such as conditional cash transfers, do not negatively affect work. Barrientos and Villa (2016) point out that most recipients of conditional cash transfers in Latin American countries are engaged in full-time work. Similarly, Patel (2015) reports that employment rates among families receiving pensions and the Child Support Grant in South Africa actually increased, with the highest increase being recorded among women. These findings challenge the neoliberal claim that

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social assistance has a negative impact on work incentives. Instead of trying to survive on meager benefits, families combine these payments with income derived from work and in this way improve their livelihoods. Employment is also created by public works programs, which are widely regarded as a way of subsidizing household income in poor developing countries. As mentioned earlier, the MGNREGA program in India has attracted a good deal of attention for providing work to poor families in the country’s rural areas. The program guarantees paid employment for 100 days annually, and if no employment is provided, a cash benefit is paid. The scheme was launched in 2006 and was gradually extended to cover the whole country. Mutatkar (2013) notes that the program has created remunerative work for many poor rural families and is quite well targeted, focusing resources on the poorest communities and on women who are guaranteed a third of all places on the program. In fact, the enrolment of women exceeds this quota. However, although surveys show that the program is popular with rural people, operational and funding difficulties have hampered its effectiveness. In addition, many rural people are still unaware of their right to participate in the program. Although public works programs have also been introduced in other countries, their impact is mixed. Reviewing these programs in Africa, McCord (2012) finds that many are poorly managed and jobs are often allocated on the basis of patronage and family networks. Nevertheless, efforts are being made to improve their effectiveness. Social protection programs also promote self-employment by providing resources for microenterprises. In addition to well-established microcredit programs such as those operated by the Grameen Bank and other nonprofits, studies show that many recipients of social protection use some of their benefits to establish small businesses. Nyanguru (2008) reports that many elders receiving the government pension in Lesotho use some of their pension income to acquire small livestock, which are then raised and sold at a profit. Similarly, Patel and Trieghaardt (2008) note that elders gathering to collect their pensions at rural distribution points in South Africa also take the opportunity to trade and sell agricultural and other goods generated by their pension income. These “pension day markets,” as they are called, also attract other traders as well as buyers and sellers and have become lively centers for business and social activity in many of the country’s deprived rural areas. In some countries, governments have encouraged the use of social assistance benefits to establish microenterprises. Queita (2003) reports that the Employment Assistance Program in the Philippines allocates social assistance funds to create cooperative enterprises among women who would otherwise be reliant on benefit payments. Another way social protection promotes sustainable economic development is by fostering economic stability. It is widely recognized that volatile business cycles are economically harmful and, based on Keynes’ insights, many governments now use monetary and fiscal policies to counteract downturns and prevent the economy from overheating. Skidelsky (2009) points out that the Great Recession, which began the autumn of 2007, prompted the reintroduction of Keynesian remedies, which not only invested in infrastructural projects but also used unemployment and social assistance

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benefits to stimulate demand. The Chinese government pumped billions of dollars into the economy to counteract the effects of the Recession, while in the United States, the Obama administration combined infrastructural investments with cash transfers to unemployed and low-income families. Seniors receiving Social Security pensions were paid a one-time benefit of $250; this sum was distributed to more than 50 million pensioners and injected a sizeable amount of money into the economy. Grunwald (2012) shows that the Obama administration’s stimulus package, although disputed by many critics, contributed significantly to the country’s economic recovery and impressive decline in unemployment. On the other hand, Blyth (2013) points out that the failure to adopt countercyclical policies based on Keynesian principles resulted in high levels of unemployment and economic stagnation in some other Western countries.

Social Protection and Social Justice Although social development is primarily focused on the practical ways of enhancing people’s well-being, Midgley (2014) points out that it has also been committed to social justice. However, this term is poorly defined, with the result that rhetoric rather than practical policy proposals tend to pervade the field (Fleischacker 2004). Nevertheless, many scholars adopt Rawls’ (1971, 2001) insights to define social justice as “fairness.” In this conception, social justice requires that people are treated equally under the law, enjoy full opportunities to realize their potential, and have equitable access to resources, education, employment, respect, and primary goods. The notion of fairness or equity also involves a redistributive process that favors those with the greatest needs and seeks, as the British social democratic writer Crosland (1956) suggested, to reduce the “distance” between those who are privileged and those who are disadvantaged. It is regrettably obvious that few countries have achieved these ideals and that injustice characterizes societies all over the world today. Legal rights are flouted in many countries and discrimination is widespread. Dictatorial governments stifle democracy and deny their citizens the opportunity to participate in the political process. The oppression of women, ethnic minorities, and indigenous people is common, and slavery is still practiced in some parts of the world. Educational opportunities throughout the world are skewed in favor of elites, and income and wealth inequality have increased exponentially in recent years. There is widespread recognition today that social protection should actively promote social justice. Indeed, social protection programs that meet this objective have recently been given high priority. The minimalist, safety net approach which provides meager, time-limited benefits to families in dire need is being replaced by programs that improve living standards among the population as a whole. Conventional social insurance programs are also being extended to cover more workers, including domestics and women in the informal economy (Pellissery and Walker 2007). These initiatives are strengthening the redistributive role of social protections and addressing discriminatory practices that have characterized some programs in

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the past. In this way, social protection seeks to achieve what Sabates-Wheeler and Devereux (2008) describe as a “transformative” function. To fulfill this function, social protection should, as Drolet (2014) emphasizes, be a human right guaranteed by law and justiciable through the courts. However, not everyone has equal access to these programs; historically, social protection has discriminated against women and people living in rural areas who are not always aware of their rights and often have difficulty claiming benefits. Although many governments have acceded to human rights treaties that explicitly reference social protection, much more needs to be done to ensure that the right to social protection is fully implemented. The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals is an important step since the extent to which social protection is available to all citizens will be internationally monitored, pressurizing recalcitrant governments to meet their commitments. On the other hand, it should be recognized that the right to social protection is legally enforceable in some countries where activists energetically assist claimants to secure favorable judicial rulings. One example is South Africa, where the courts have regularly intervened to ensure the right to social protection (Patel 2015). To promote social justice, social protection should also redistribute resources equitably. Social protection programs involve resource flows which are often very substantial, and in countries such as China and India, where large numbers of people receive benefits, they redistribute resources on a huge scale. They also involve complex processes involving the flow of resources in multiple ways. Social protection may redistribute resources raised through taxation to people who do not pay taxes or, in the case of statutory pensions, redistribute resources from workers to retired elders. Similarly, conditional cash transfers direct resources to families with children, and many child allowance programs benefit women. However, studies of the redistributive impact of social protection reveal that social protection has not always been equitable. Many years ago, Midgley (1984) showed that social protection programs in many developing countries actually exacerbated inequality by directing resources to urban dwellers at the expense of the majority of the population. Similarly, conventional social protection schemes have historically discriminated against women (Holmes and Jones 2013); for example, Borzutzky (2002) exposed the extent to which women were disadvantaged by the privatized Chilean retirement system. As these problems have been recognized, steps have been taken to enhance the egalitarian impact of social protection. A major development was the campaign launched by the ILO in 2001 to extend coverage to those traditionally excluded. More recently, the adoption of the Social Protection Floors Recommendation (No. 202 of 2012) by the organization’s member states urged the creation of national social protection systems that guarantee a minimum standard of coverage for all. The extension of coverage has been accompanied by policies that enhance the redistributive impact of existing programs. The reforms introduced by the Bachelet government in Chile addressed the blatant inequities of the privatized retirement system (Borzutzky 2012). In addition, equity is being promoted by innovative program such as conditional cash transfers. As a result of these developments, social protection is

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helping to reduce income inequality in some countries. Soares (2013) reports that income inequality in Brazil (as measured by the Gini coefficient) declined significantly between 1995 and 2009, not only because of economic growth and increased employment but also because of the country’s social protection programs. He calculates that, overall, these programs reduced income inequality by about 25%. Although Bolsa Família paid relatively small benefits, it accounted for a 14% decline in inequality. Reviewing studies from different countries, the ILO (2014) also found that social protection reduced income inequality, but it cautioned that the impact of these programs on inequality was not as strong as on poverty. On the other hand, some studies show no effect. For, example, Levine et al. (2011) found that income inequality in Namibia had not fallen as a result of the country’s social protection programs. Social protection also promotes social justice by increasing opportunities to access to education, healthcare, and employment, all of which foster egalitarian ideals. Conditional cash transfers increase school enrolments among poor children, and other cash transfers that subsidize household income have a similar effect. Since pension and child benefits in developing countries are likely to be pooled with other sources of household income, children are no longer required to work, allowing them to attend school. Patel (2015) notes that by subsidizing the incomes of poor families, social protection in South Africa frees up resources for education, medical services, and small business investment. Also, by targeting mothers and carers, the Child Support Grant contributes to improved health and educational outcomes for women. A majority of the Grant recipients are women with children who are living on their own, with the result that it facilitates their autonomy and economic independence. However, as Holmes and Jones (2013) point out, increasing opportunities for women do not address the wider problem of gender inequity which continues to plague societies all over the world. For this reason, social protection needs to be viewed as just one component of a more comprehensive approach that fosters social justice for all.

Enhancing the Contribution of Social Protection This chapter has shown that social protection is now an integral part of social development and that it contributes positively to achieving social development goals. However, as was noted earlier, much more needs to be done to improve the effectiveness of social protection. Administrative problems, funding limitations, policy inappropriateness, and other challenges impede the attainment of the objectives of social protection and need to be addressed. It is easy to get the impression from the literature that social protection has dramatically improved social well-being around the world, but many challenges still need to be met. One of these challenges concerns funding. Although conditional cash transfers and similar social assistance programs currently consume a relatively small proportion of national budgets, issues concerning their long-term affordability have been raised by critics who believe that these programs harm economic development by

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fostering dependency and worklessness. Patel (2015) observes that, despite the popularity of social grants in South Africa, unfounded claims about their negative behavioral effects on recipients are frequently reported in the media. The Child Support Grant has even been criticized on the ground that young, unmarried women deliberately have children so that they can increase their income. Similarly, it is often alleged that young adults who could find work prefer to access social assistance instead. If these allegations are not vigorously challenged, there is a risk that they could undermine public support for social protection, resulting in budgetary reductions. This has already happened in some Western countries like the United States. A related problem is that social protection programs in some countries are inadequately funded or that these programs do not reach their recipients. Ellis et al. (2009) observe that many community-based social protection initiatives in Africa are financed by international donors and nonprofit organizations on a time-limited basis, with the result that their long-term sustainability is in doubt. Another factor is that many governments fund their conditional cash transfer programs by borrowing from international agencies such as the World Bank, raising questions about their fiscal viability. Financial difficulties caused by adverse macroeconomic events also put pressure on social protection budgets. The recent economic crisis in Brazil has raised questions about whether funding for the country’s Bolsa Família program will be maintained. Funding difficulties also affect programs in countries with healthier economies. As mentioned earlier, Mutatkar (2013) reports that the MGNREGA scheme in India has encountered funding difficulties and that many families who are unable to secure employment under the scheme do not receive the cash payment to which they are entitled when work is not available, even though this is explicitly guaranteed by the program. The problem is compounded when resources are siphoned off by politicians and administrative staff. Corruption can deprive people living in poverty of the benefits to which they are entitled, and some governments have sought to deal with this by imposing rigorous audits and independent reviews. Dutta et al. (2010) report that anticorruption initiatives in India have had some success but that it is still not unusual for claimants to pay what is euphemistically known as an “administrative fee” to staff processing their applications. Ellis et al. (2009) observe that this practice is widespread in some African countries, where local politicians and civil servants require payment of a “commission” from those submitting applications. In addition, a lack of administrative efficiency arising from a poorly paid and badly trained civil service hampers the effectiveness of many social protection programs. Many governments that were subjected to structural adjustment programs are still recovering from their devastating impact on the civil service, which can be decimated by budgetary retrenchment. Accordingly, claimants often wait many months for their applications to be processed, and this problem is exacerbated by misplaced records and other administrative problems. Although computerization is alleviating some of these difficulties, administrative challenges continue to hamper the effectiveness of social protection in many parts of the world. Although some social protection initiatives like conditional cash transfers originated in the Global South and represent an indigenous response to social need, others

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were imported from Western countries, often with assistance from international organizations like the ILO and World Bank. Many social insurance programs in the Global South are based on ILO recommendations, while the World Bank has promoted commercially managed retirement accounts around the world. Since these and other types of social protection are often poorly suited to the economic, social, and cultural realities of the Global South, space needs to be made for approaches to begin to emerge from the ground up that meet the unique local needs. It is particularly important that policymakers explicitly address the issue of equity. It was previously mentioned that social protection often fails to promote social justice by redistributing resources or favoring urban workers over rural people or disadvantaging women. These problems must be resolved if social protection is to enhance the well-being of the world’s people. Finally, the fragmentation of social protection in many countries needs to be addressed. Few governments have formulated comprehensive social protection policies that coordinate the schemes operated by different government levels and agencies, let alone the multiple projects introduced by nonprofits, international donors, grassroots organizations, and commercial providers. Consequently, problems of poor coordination, duplication, and fragmented coverage are widespread, impeding the effectiveness of social protection. This problem has been already been recognized by the ILO, which has urged the formulation of comprehensive social protection policies that integrate these different initiatives within a coherent system of provision. Similarly, the World Bank (2012, p. xv) has encouraged governments to adopt what it calls “a systems-oriented approach” that knits together a coherent portfolio of programs into a comprehensive national social protection plan. However, it is equally important that a national initiative of this kind be cognizant of wider social development policies and programs and that social protection be properly integrated with health, education, nutritional, community development, housing, and other social policies to promote social well-being and social justice for all.

Cross-References ▶ Social Protection and Social Development in Swaziland

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From Development to Poverty Alleviation and the Not-So-Sustainable Sustainable Development Mel Gray

Contents Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Coming and Going of Social Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Advent and Demise of Sustainable Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Environmental Sustainability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . MDG Progress on Environmental Sustainability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SDGs and Environmental Sustainability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sustainable Livelihoods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Reviving Sustainable Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . What Can Social Workers Do? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Abstract

This chapter views sustainable development as environmentally friendly. It explores policy on social and sustainable development and examines issues of environmental sustainability within contemporary approaches to poverty alleviation. It reviews development policies that prioritize growth and production over social and ecological justice and calls for an extension of sustainable development to embrace environmental sustainability within frameworks that emphasize economic and human development outcomes. Environmental sustainability concerns issues surrounding economic growth, human development, environmental decline, and building a bridge between economics and ecology. The chapter ends with a discussion of social work, arguing that, due to its humanistic focus, it is highly unlikely that environmental justice, or radical ecological justice, would become more important than social justice and human development, while M. Gray (*) University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW, Australia e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 S. Todd, J. L. Drolet (eds.), Community Practice and Social Development in Social Work, Social Work, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-6969-8_6

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poverty and inequality remain. The best we can do in social work is learn from practice by documenting what social workers are doing to further sustainable social development and environmental justice, cognizant that most social workers are not engaged in such work and social workers are small players in this terrain. In addition, those in the profession promoting developmental and green social work constitute a minority, albeit growing, voice. Hence, we should avoid overambitious claims and instead seek to establish the effectiveness of what we do. The goals of social work are wide-ranging, and its practice is so diverse that it is difficult to articulate exactly what it is that social workers do. This is possibly one reason why social workers around the world feel their work goes unrecognized and the profession lacks the respect not only of politicians but also local communities and service users of all ilk. Keywords

Social development · Sustainable development · Environmental sustainability · Ecological justice · Social work

Introduction This chapter views sustainable development as an environmentally friendly development in this Anthropocene era (Crutzen and Stoermer 2000), in which humans have been blamed for causing climate change and environmental damage on an unprecedented scale. With policy weighted increasingly toward human development (UNDP 1992), humans’ relationship with the environment and the interdependence between human behavior and the physical environment have become central to the normative vision of sustainable development and ecological justice. As Cox-Shrader (2011, p. 270) observed, “the transition to sustainability is a transition to a worldview grounded in ecological justice, in which humans are part of our ecosystems.” Living in harmony with the environment as a condition of survival for human and all living and nonliving things has long been a central tenet of Indigenous cosmologies. For Indigenous peoples, “sustainability is circular, complex; it is about harmony, relationships and rhythms. It is not an accounting exercise for rationing how we use the planet’s resources” (Bullard 2011, p. 142). Sustainable development, whereby human development is contingent on protecting or replenishing Earth’s fragile ecosystems and finite resources, holds potential for progressive, modernizing development to be brought into line with age-old Indigenous ecological perspectives. As Sneddon et al. (2006) remind us, the ideals of sustainable development are “equity within and across generations, places and social groups; ecological integrity; and human well-being and quality of life” (p. 264). These are similar to the goals of social development in the Copenhagen Declaration (United Nations, World Summit for Social Development 1995), but sustainable development emphasizes the connection between sustainability and environmental awareness, protection, and conservation as well as issues of economic growth, social development, and the

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environment. It calls for a return to comprehensive development, as outlined in the Copenhagen Declaration, which was lost in the subsequent narrow focus on poverty alleviation in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) (Correll 2008). Sachs (1999) attributed the dismal progress toward environmental sustainability to sustainable development’s intransigent focus on development. Since the Brundtland Commission (World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED 1987)), scientific research has increased our knowledge of sustainability, yet sustainable development is neither sustainable nor development (Luke 2005). Bullard (2011) wonders whether, “confronted with collapsing ecosystems, toxic environments, soil depletion, climate chaos, disappearing species and finite fossil fuels, does sustainability even make sense when there is so little left to sustain?” (p. 141). As to the development side of the equation, exactly what constitutes development is possibly even more difficult to fathom (Sneddon et al. 2006). There was a time when sustainability meant community projects would survive beyond the funding period and development was about ownership and engagement, collaboration and partnership (Moseley 2011). As Bullard (2011, p. 141) noted: Perhaps the greatest challenge we face is not so much about how we understand sustainability, but rather how we understand development. When we consider the state of the world and the routine failure of ‘development’ to feed, house, clothe, educate and care for the invisible majority, the word no longer has any moral or even practical content.

Acero’s (2011) view of development as “equitable and sustainable growth . . . [and the] expansion of human capacities . . . (Sen 2001, 2009)” makes its success all the more unattainable, since it rests on “the transformation of social gender relations, and transversally, racialism, sexism and all forms of discrimination” (p. 205). The intractability of patriarchal relations in the Global South has made progress on “women’s political participation and visible organized engagement” (Acero 2011, p. 207) challenging, at best (see also Rankin 2001). As Banuri (2013) observed, sustainable development is “difficult to operationalize . . . without an underlying political consensus over equity” (p. 209). However, Sneddon et al. (2006) perceived a lack of political will to pursue models of development that would guarantee the invisible majority a decent quality of life, address inequalities, or make the kind of decisions that would lessen the uninterrupted downhill slide of environmental degradation. As long as economic development trumps environmental sustainability, sustainable development – in policy discourse and development practice – will remain a myth. Using Brown’s (1991) four types of sustainability, balanced sustainable development would take into account: • Ecological sustainability and ensure that Earth’s renewable and nonrenewable resources would not be depleted for the sake of short-term improvement. • Economic sustainability and ensure equity in resource distribution to minimize poverty. • Political sustainability and strive for the maintenance of power relations supportive of sustainable development.

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• Cultural sustainability and ensure that local cultural values, expectations, norms, and practices support progress (see Hawkes 2001). Rather than sustainability, however, successive post-world war policies, including the MDGs, followed the modernizing path of social and economic development and a pattern of relationships to create conditions for constant industrial progress and economic growth. Thus, the so-called underdeveloped or third world, where 80% of the world’s population resides, was set on a path of universal development to improve living standards. International organizations introduced development and foreign aid policies to coerce and cajole national governments to implement economic frameworks favorable to the developed nations. They saw underdevelopment as a problem of the “undeveloped” nations, which needed the “guidance” of the more developed nations to set them on a path to progress and development in keeping with Western progressive ideals (Escobar 1995; Sachs 1999). The most coercive and destructive iteration of these policies was seen in the structural adjustment programs, which were designed to force underdeveloped nations to follow the social and economic practices of wealthy nations, without concern for national or local priorities, cultures, traditions, values, and beliefs. The idea that industrial progress would lead to social and economic development went unquestioned. Thus, industrial productivity, consumptive individualism, scientific progress, free trade, and economic growth became the hallmarks of development best pursued in a representative democracy. These priorities were set by the Bretton Woods Institutions (BWIs) that emerged in 1944 – the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (later the World Bank) and, their offspring in 1948, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT 1986). The BWIs promoted trade by instituting fiscal policies, controlling exchange rates, reducing trade barriers and tariffs, and creating an international bank to assist balance of payment deficits. This international banking system held national governments to ransom through conditional foreign aid contingent on the development of a free-market economy, so that wealthy countries controlled international trade. Development entailed looking at other worlds in terms of what they lacked, ignoring the wealth of Indigenous cultures (Sachs 1999). In the decades that followed, development and foreign aid to address poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition, infant mortality, and life expectancy, in effect, benefited the donor nations more than the beneficiaries (Sachs 1999). Successive commissions orchestrated development policies, with the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) their most recent iteration. All variants of sustainable development were “anthropocentric, as they tried to figure out how humanity could live decent, dignified lives without trashing the planet” (Bullard 2011, p. 141).

The Coming and Going of Social Development At the World Summit for Social Development (WSSD) held in Copenhagen in March 1995, governments reached a new consensus on the need for people-centered development, pledging to create an enabling environment for social development by

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working toward eradicating poverty, achieving full employment, and fostering social integration. One hundred and seventeen world leaders committed themselves to these overriding objectives of social development. In so doing, they agreed to develop integrated development strategies in line with global policy that conceptualized development as a comprehensive, multisectoral approach based on multistakeholder engagement and partnership. The United Nations (2005) defined social development as “the continuous promotion of more equitable distribution of opportunities, income, assets, services and power in order to achieve greater equality and equity in society” (p. 5). However, the United Nations (2005) also noted that, “since the Summit, the traditional dependency of the ‘social’ on the ‘economic’ has been inverted” (p. 6) and “the concept of social development has gradually become less comprehensive” (p. 8). The WSSD vision was an integrated approach to social development; however, structural adjustment made economic and market reforms the cornerstone of development. Correll (2008) argued that social development had fallen off the agenda completely by the time of the MDGs, which he described as “a sad and minimalist collection of random targets, disconnected from development” (p. 453) that ignored “any commitment to social development” (p. 460): Gone is the commitment to social development being central to the needs and aspirations of people throughout the world . . . Gone is the enabling economic environment aimed at promoting more equitable access for all to income, resources and social services. Gone is the commitment to full employment. Gone is the concept of universalism. (p. 460)

Following the WSSD, the emphasis swung from development to poverty alleviation, at a time when, following the Washington Consensus, developing countries had embedded neoliberalism into their economies. As O’Connor (2002) observed, however, poverty and development were in fact two sides of the same coin; without poverty, there would be no need for development. The focus on poverty alleviation drew attention away from comprehensive development and universal public services. Instead, it led to targeted social protection programs focused on groups perceived as being at high risk of poverty and social protection floors as the main means of addressing absolute poverty. Correll (2008) believed that: The MDGs and poverty eradication have successfully diverted attention from the much broader goal of individual country social agendas . . . Not until each nation has succeeded in laying a value base and has established coherent and integrated social development policies will we have a society for all and a sustainable means to overcome poverty. (p. 461)

More optimistically, Cook and Dugarova (2014) claim there was “evidence of a shift from interventions that target the poor to social policy principles and practices that expand welfare provisioning and lean more towards universalism” (p. 33), though they did not say exactly where this was occurring. Secondly, they claimed that “several countries in Africa and Latin America have started to reframe development and poverty reduction strategies [in the direction of social policy], building links to the productive sectors and promoting transformations towards higher-value production and decent employment” (p. 33), though again they did not say where. Cook and

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Dugarova (2014) saw social development as contingent on social policy favoring universal social protection, recognition of people’s right to development and participation, and “policy coherence and responsiveness, across the domains of economy, society and the environment” with the proviso that “environmental protection goals are balanced with human welfare considerations” (p. 35). Thus, social development was human development supported by social protection policies and welfare service provision. Its goal was social justice, social inclusion, and social solidarity with those excluded from the benefits of social progress. Midgley (2017), too, was more optimistic, seeing a close link between economic development and social welfare. He observed that social development used “economic growth for social ends by implementing projects that combine economic and social activities, mobilizing popular participation for development and investing in individuals, families, and communities” (p. 21). For Midgley (2017), economic development was part of social development.

The Advent and Demise of Sustainable Development The Brundtland Report, Our Common Future, integrated environmental and social strategies into economic development and expanded the ambit of development practice beyond the Global South. It required “countries of the North and South, rich and poor, to participate in international sustainability policies” (Dylan 2013, p. 68) and to recognize that “ecological, economic and equity questions are deeply interconnected” (Sneddon et al. 2006, p. 255). As Raghuram (2011) noted, “for practice to guarantee equal futures, sacrifice by the wealthy nations is needed; they must understand the consequences of their actions for people whom they do not know” (p. 145). The report defined sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (WCED 1987, p. 43). Intergenerational justice was high on its agenda, along with concern for the poor in every generation. Sen (1999, 2013), prime advocate of human development, noted it shifted the focus to human beings but showed a lack of concern with the environment and attendant ecological issues (Sneddon et al. 2006). For Sen (1999), development should facilitate human freedom and not be measured solely in terms of aggregated levels of economic growth. Others have noted the need to focus on sustainable human consumption and the ecological limits to human freedoms (Heap and Kent 2000; Hoque 2014). This was an ethical issue for present and future generations. Instead, development has focused on production and growth as stimuli for the economy. In sub-Saharan Africa, where most poor people live in rural areas and earn their livelihoods from subsistence farming, development policy has continued to focus on productive agriculture, that is, on the generation of surpluses for trade and export. International development agencies have supported this by providing highyield seed varieties, chemical fertilizers, and machinery to encourage large-scale production, thus squeezing small-holder farmers engaged in cash and food crop production out of the market. This has led to commercial farms growing large

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plantations of single crops, such as coffee, cotton, tobacco, or tea, which threatens food security. The National Agricultural Advisory Services program in Uganda is a case in point, where the government is attempting to increase agricultural productivity while reducing its environmental impacts (Benin et al. 2007) and finding that “there are few ‘win-win’ opportunities to simultaneously increase production and reduce land degradation” (Pender et al. 2004, p. 767). Yet improving Uganda’s Human Development Index rests crucially on agricultural development, given that most of Uganda’s population lives in the rural farming areas. The human development focus went hand in hand with poverty alleviation with the WCED (1987) declaring “sustainable development requires meeting the basic needs of all and extending to all the opportunity to fulfil their aspirations for a better life” (p. 16). The United Nations introduction of the Human Development Index (HDI) continued to privilege economic development (UNDP 2014). Influenced by Sen’s (2000) work, the HDI provided a nationally aggregated measure of development in terms of social outcomes relating to health, employment, education, and life expectancy, but the major means of achieving these outcomes were still economic, for example, through productive agriculture, employment participation, economic liberalization, deregulation, and privatization (Chang and Grabel 2005; Fosu 2010; Fukuda-Parr 2011, 2016; Lemanski 2016; Pender 2001; Poku and Whitman 2011). Though the focus on human development was a welcome shift, it has not been helpful in addressing environmental concerns, not least due to improvements in people’s quality of life being measured in terms of a Western lifestyle, e.g., having an increased capacity to consume, access to Western health and education systems, and rights-based democratic systems of governance. Though three sustainable development pillars subsequently emerged – economic, social, and environmental (World Bank 2012) – the focus on human development supports economic growth and social improvement to the detriment environmental protection. In theory, environmental sustainability has been given equal priority to economic and social development goals, but the changes in attitudes, social values, and aspirations that the Brundtland Report urged did not emerge on the scale required (WCED 1987). Thus, sustainable development adhered to the very paradigm that had led to environmental problems in the first place, making the integration of environmental concerns with sustainable development “self-defeating” (Sachs 1999, p. 28). Further, as Sneddon et al. (2006) observed, following the Brundtland Commission in 1987, many: did not foresee the decline in the legitimacy of authoritative science or the rise of a more discursive, democratic science. They did not predict the breakdown in the philosophical underpinnings of the market paradigm or the grass-roots opposition to globalization. They did not anticipate the rise of ecological economics and political ecology or the new thinking generally in the social sciences stimulated by failures of equating development with economic growth. (p. 254)

They noted that the debate between mainstream advocates of sustainable development and its critics was more than just differences in “value positions and attendant political goals” (p. 260). The advocates had specific views on “knowledge

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production (epistemology) and research design (methodology).” It demonstrated tendencies toward “individualism, economism and technological optimism in assessing how knowledge about the social world is brought into being . . . [and] place[d] a great deal of faith in quantitative representations of complex humanenvironment relations, in part because of a desire to present generalizable knowledge to policy makers” (Sneddon et al. 2006, p. 260). The critics adhered to a social constructivist perspective, “arguing that knowledge of the world always represents a series of mediations among human social relations and individual identities . . . [and were] . . . apt to stress the historical contingency of development processes, and undertake qualitative studies grounded in a case study methodology” (Sneddon et al. 2006, p. 261). While the former saw the policy process as a pathway to reform, the latter had lost faith in state-dominated institutions’ ability to change. Hawkes (2001) noted that the debate on sustainable development “is about values; it is a cultural debate” (p. 11). Regardless of their differences, however, supporters and critics alike would agree on the goal of a socially just and ecologically sustainable world (Sneddon et al. 2006). They disagreed on the means of getting there, not the ends and values. As Gleeson and Low (2000) observed, sustainable development concerned “the achievement on a global scale of three principles: economic development, social justice and ecological responsibility” (p. 6). Estes (1993) enumerated the goals of sustainable development as follows: 1. The formulation of new paradigms of social, economic, political, cultural, and ecological development 2. More rational development approaches that take account of the long-term costs of short-term improvements 3. The judicious use of Earth’s nonrenewable physical resources 4. A balance between economic, social, cultural, and physical development 5. The realization of integrated development strategies that bring relevant sectors and actors into a common framework of local, national, regional, and international action However, Bullard (2011) believed it was too late for this, highlighting several challenges to sustainable development: 1. Our understanding of ‘development’ is simply wrong. We can no longer think of society as separate from nature, nor the economy as separate from the material base of production (nature). Growth as we know it is no longer possible. 2. Earth is too degraded and fragile to be talking about ‘sustainability’. We must start talking about regeneration and restoration. 3. The international political and economic order stands opposed to the rights of peoples and Mother Earth and it must be transformed. (p. 142)

Like Correll (2008), who perceived the end of social development (SD), Escobar (2011, p. 137) claimed that “flawed from the start, the SD movement can be said to have arrived to its natural end.” Radical transition discourses replaced the discourse

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of sustainability, calling for a new paradigm, “a transition to an altogether different world” (Escobar 2011, p. 138, emphasis in original). They called for “a ‘biocentric turn’ away from the anthropocentrism of modernity” (Escobar 2011, p. 138) to “post-fossil fuel economies” (Escobar 2011, p. 138). In alignment with pluriversal studies, it was “an altogether different intellectual and political project [on a] transformative . . . path towards more ethical and ecological” (Escobar 2011, p. 139) worlds.

Environmental Sustainability Ecologists view sustainable development as “unforgivably anthropocentric and thus unable to dissolve the false barriers between the human sphere of economic and social activities and the ecological sphere that sustains these activities” (Sneddon et al. 2006, p. 260). The environmental paradigm advances radical rather than reformist approaches to ecological and human well-being that go against the sustainable development mainstream. It accepts the limits of nature and believes in the interdependence of various life forms. It defines success in terms of sustainable solutions, where “sustainable” means environmentally friendly. It promotes livelihoods that support local development, such as community-supported agriculture, and environmental conservation and protection through locally managed conservation efforts (Hopkins 2009). It eschews over-productive employment measured solely in terms of economic success. It calls for responsible government rather than corporate (self-)regulation. It favors trade policies that privilege local interests over corporate greed. Successive efforts toward environmental sustainability following the 1999 Earth Summit were doomed to failure as powerful political and economic interests blocked a search for strategies encouraging countries in the Global North and South to live within their ecological means and to explore alternatives to modern, high-consumption Western lifestyles (Sachs 1999; Sneddon et al. 2006). The universal belief that all countries were on the same development path, with some further along than others, had little regard for environmental sustainability. Sustainability would need to rest on: • Recognition and acceptance of the biophysical limits of Earth’s resources (Falk 1972). It would take five to six planets to provide resources for everyone to achieve the equivalent of a Western lifestyle and absorb waste (Hoque 2014; Wackernagel and Rees 1996). • The extent to which natural resources were preserved, conserved, and managed to meet current and future human needs. There remains an uncomfortable fit between the aspirations of economic and social development and the goals of environmental sustainability. Economic and social development seek short-term improvements to achieve measurable results, e.g., within results accountability and outcome-based measurement frameworks

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like the Human Development Index that ranks countries into four tiers of human development based on life expectancy, education, and per capita income indicators. As Fukuda-Parr (2017) highlights, governments eager to demonstrate that conditionalities have been met might “inadvertently encourage policies that fail to address the root of the problem in favor of finding short-term, quick-fix solutions” (p. 172). Economic and social development agents pursue goals regardless of whether they lead to the long-term conservation of ecosystems and natural resources. As Sachs (1999) observed, “sustainable development” implies “development that lasts,” but it is the development itself, rather than the environment, that is being sustained. Development agents and agencies manage and control the environment to support production and consumption that rely on excessive extraction of Earth’s finite resources. They pursue efficiency rather than sufficiency, without regard for living within ecological limits. Economic surplus is the primary goal. Though governments, corporations, and scientific institutions portray themselves as essential to environmental conservation, they have little regard for issues of ecological justice and equality and the need for less-consumptive lifestyles.

MDG Progress on Environmental Sustainability The MDGs provided ample proof that environmental policies and programs did little to change economic and social practices. Like attempts before them, the MDGs had patchy success, but they performed most dismally in relation to environmental sustainability. They related clearly to aspirations to improve human development, measured on the HDI, which aggregated data relating to social outcomes – income, education, and life expectancy – adjusted to account for social and gender inequalities (UNDP 2014). MDGs laid the groundwork to expand the HDI measures of social and economic development while setting goals related to poverty reduction, primary education, gender equality, and health outcomes. Aspirations for environmentally sustainable development were far more contentious and discordant with dominant aid and development ideologies. The dismal progress on environmental sustainability was an indication of the tenuous links between evidence and policy making and the “values, beliefs, assumptions, taboos and other group pressures, hidden power and in/exclusion in what are often portrayed as neutral processes of research and debate” (Green 2012, p. 409). MDG 7 on ensuring environmental sustainability recognized how political, socioeconomic, and cultural factors interacted with environmental conditions to influence human well-being and environmental sustainability (Whitehead and Dahlgren 2007). Its targets related closely to population health, especially its social determinants; however, sustainable population health depended not only on investments to reduce poverty and social inequalities but also on the viability of Earth’s life-supporting systems, that is, on environmental sustainability (Sachs and Reid 2006). Along with health, MDG 7 related to food security and the eradication of hunger, the reduction of infant mortality, improvements in maternal health, and the fight against preventable infectious diseases (McMichael and Butler 2006).

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Researchers attributed the lack of progress on these MDG 7-related issues to several factors. They included socioeconomic inequalities; deteriorating infrastructure; deficient management; a lack of economic investment in water and basic sanitation; contamination of water sources through unsafe industrial and agricultural practices; and a lack of political will to address climate change and environmental issues (Donat Castello et al. 2009). Adams et al. (2004) observed that, while industrialization – as a major indicator of progress – led to increased incomes, it also led to deforestation and soil degradation to achieve enhanced food production. Of the 50 countries preparing Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs), in keeping with World Bank development policy surrounding the Millennium Development Agenda, Bojö and Reddy (2003) found only 12 of the 28 final PRSPs contained information on baselines and targets for MDG 7 and these dealt exclusively with water and sanitation. None of the 22 interim PRSPs discussed longterm environmental sustainability. Bojö and Reddy’s (2003) analysis of available data showed the rate of deforestation had declined marginally, with minor improvements in forest cover in Central Asia but with a continuous loss in Africa. Protected land areas had grown significantly with additional areas brought under legal protection, but there was modest progress on secure tenure. The proportion of people relying on traditional fuels remained high, particularly in rural Africa, while growth in access to safe water remained low in several African countries, and most would not reach sanitation targets. Reported progress on MDG 7 revealed important gains in relation to targets most closely related to human development. It achieved the target of halving the proportion of people without access to drinking water ahead of schedule, as it did the target of improving the lives of slum dwellers. However, Nayyar (2013) observed that reports on achievements were misleading and demonstrated the problems and inconsistencies in indicator measurement. While the percentage of urban residents living in slums was reduced, the overall number of urban residents living in slums increased substantially, from an estimated 650 million people in 1990 to 863 million people in 2012 (United Nations 2014a). The UN attributed the increase to ongoing urban migration, as poor people increasingly moved to the city in search of employment, healthcare, and education – the major indicators of human development. Worryingly, loss of environmental resources and biodiversity continued at an alarming rate (Adams et al. 2004). Renewable water sources continued to be withdrawn beyond sustainable levels in North Africa, with many regions within Asia approaching levels equated with water scarcity. There was a reduction in the annual net loss of forest globally, from an average of 8.3 million hectares lost annually in the 1990s to an average yearly loss of 5.2 million hectares between 2000 and 2010 (United Nations 2014a). The UN attributed this largely to the sustainability policies and practices of countries like Brazil, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Rwanda, and Vietnam. Once again, the “developing” rather than the “developed” countries bore the weight of the minimal progress achieved. There were major achievements in eliminating ozone-depleting substances and a large increase in the percentage of protected terrestrial and marine areas, from 8% worldwide in 1990 to 14% in 2012. However, biodiversity loss continued to worsen, with corals,

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amphibians, mammals, and birds all recording worsening rates of species survival (International Union for Conservation of Nature 2014). One of the most dismal failures of the MDGs was the increase in global emissions of carbon dioxide by almost 50% since 1990 (United Nations 2014a). The UN attributed this increase, in part, to the growth in emissions from both developed and developing regions. It highlighted the difficulty in achieving environmental sustainability within a paradigm where economic and social development correlated closely with industrialization and commercialization. The lack of progress against indicators that related less tangibly to economic or social progress suggested that the notion of sustainable development had not, within the framework of the MDGs, sufficiently captured environmental sustainability, for environmental sustainability required trade-offs that were not easily compromised.

SDGs and Environmental Sustainability The SDGs reflected a growing emphasis on sustainability as a general principle and on environmental sustainability specifically. The SDG text indicated some recognition that unsustainability was an (unintended) consequence of the historical focus on economic and social development. For example, SDG 2 to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture recognized that ending hunger entailed not only achieving food security and improving nutrition but also promoting sustainable agriculture. The destruction of the natural environment for short-term food production would likely decrease the potential for food production for future generations. Thus, SDG 2 could not achieve the humanistic goal of ending hunger without considering environmental sustainability. Garrity (2004) described the relationship between agroforestry methods and poverty alleviation: soil fertility and land regeneration improved the capacity to produce food and create assets and income opportunities for the rural poor. Ecologically sound farming practices were more likely to achieve the multiple purposes of achieving food security, generating income, conserving biodiversity, and improving land use. The MDGs had failed to recognize these explicit connections between human well-being and environmental sustainability. The SDGs seemed to offer increased recognition of these interdependencies, though they were no clearer on the exact meaning of “sustainability.” For example, it was unclear whether SDG 8 on sustainable economic growth referred to economic sustainability or also entailed social and environmental considerations. Unlike the MDGs, some of the SDGs offered specific, environment-related goals that were primarily about ecological rather than human well-being, including: • Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts (acknowledging that the United Nations Convention on Climate Change was the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating a global response to climate change). • Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development.

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• Goal 15: Protect, restore, and promote the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems and sustainable forest management; combat desertification; halt and reverse land degradation; and put an end to biodiversity loss. (United Nations 2014b)

SDGs 13–15 related specifically to the areas in which the MDGs struggled to gain progress. They offered specific and explicit goals related to the protection of the environment. Unlike the MDGs, the SDGs offered a glimpse of what sustainable development might look like when conceived as environmentalism rather than shortterm humanitarianism. However, would the global SDGs overcome the implementation challenges that plagued the achievement of MDG 7? Bello (2013) believed that it was not enough simply to add new goals relating to human rights, peace and security, environmental integrity, and equality to the SDG agenda, because corporate-driven globalization was perpetuating poverty, inequality, and marginalization. Instead, Bello (2013) proposed a seven-point agenda of climate stabilization, financial re-regulation and debt cancellation, inequality reduction, food security, de-commodification, comprehensive social protection, and industrialization. In contrast, the SDGs, while admirable in their promise, failed to articulate how governments, nongovernment organizations, and international institutions with mandates to enact sustainable development would challenge the destructive ideological and economic powers of global corporations. The three pillars of social, economic, and environmental sustainability were, in rhetoric, beginning to gain equal attention, but the systems underpinning global exchanges continued to emphasize economic development. Disappointing progress toward environmental targets established under MDG 7 would likely continue under the SDGs, without international consensus and substantial action to address the serious issues of climate change and environmental degradation. The lack of progress on environmental sustainability reflected ongoing tensions between economic, social, and environmental conceptualizations of sustainability. As Banuri (2013) noted, neoliberalism sought to jettison social protections, while sustainable development sought “to protect human welfare including by modifications in the economic and financial systems” (p. 208). The former assessed development and poverty alleviation outcomes in terms of economic processes, while the latter used the HDI to determine outcomes using gross national income per capita, schooling, and life expectancy as measures of human well-being (UNDP 2014). The response was a call for integration of economic, social, and environmental development (Banuri 2013). However, ongoing tensions among economic, social, and environmental notions of sustainability were sustained by the myth that economic development and environmental sustainability were mutually exclusive and by resistance to the understanding that environmental degradation was an unavoidable consequence of “human progress.” While some in the Global South had benefited a great deal, most people in the Global North and South found themselves at the wrong end of the income gap. The focus on economic growth retained the modern worldview that put all nations and people on the same path to development. In this view, underdevelopment was a problem of those with less rather than those with more.

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The lack of progress toward environmental sustainability lay squarely in the court of the failure of “development as economic growth,” applied universally through foreign aid and development policy, to the detriment of local cultures, local knowledge, and local environments. Neither economic development nor science could solve the interconnected problems of poverty, ill health, illiteracy, maldistribution of wealth, low social development, and ecological injustice, the solution to which lay in concerted national and international action. Underconsumption and the lack of goods and services in the so-called developing world were as problematic as overconsumption and materialism in the so-called developed world, where the bulk of the population had more than it needed to live a full and flourishing life. The Global North world was called upon to do with less material goods; to focus on happiness and well-being rather than consumption; and to seek social justice (equity) and ecological well-being, without which, priority would continue to be directed to economics and exploitation of various kinds, and climate change and environmental degradation would escalate. Although MDG 7 was a commitment to environmental sustainability, the prioritization of economic growth over social and ecological justice hampered its implementation. The SDGs offered some recognition by policy makers that environmental problems were the responsibility of the developed world. However, the continual externalization of ecological issues and environmental sustainability demonstrated the absence of political will to take determined decisions and make firm commitments to lessen the uninterrupted downhill slide of environmental degradation and make progress against climate change and its accompanying social problems.

Sustainable Livelihoods Livelihoods, or what people do to make a living, constitute a long-standing preoccupation in international development (Moseley 2011). The Sustainable Livelihoods Approach was a poverty assessment framework that emerged in the 1990s, following its adoption by the UK Department for International Development, Oxfam, and a host of agencies and nongovernment organizations (Scoones 2015). Chambers and Conway (1992) defined a sustainable livelihood as “one which can cope with and recover from stresses and shocks, maintain or enhance it capabilities and assets, while not undermining the natural resource bas” (p. 5). Like Sen’s (1999) capability approach that followed, the sustainable livelihood framework focused on assets, and one of the most productive assets, given that most of the world’s population is engaged in subsistence farming, is land. Land is valued for its productive potential, regardless of the costs to the environment and notwithstanding other considerations, such as gender imbalances with land ownership benefiting males within discriminatory patriarchal cultures in many countries in the Global South (Lawson et al. 2006). Given the power play in constructing a sustainable livelihood, Scoones (2015) claims that the socioeconomic and ecological negotiation of forming a sustainable livelihood is political, not least because livelihoods the world over “are caught up in

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the crises of capitalism” (p. 80), not to mention the ramifications of development. Midgley (2017, p. 30) noted: Advocates of the livelihood approach believe that poor families are rational actors capable of making decisions and pursuing actions that enhance their wellbeing. However, because of poverty, many lack the resources to achieve a good standard of living. The solution to this problem does not lie in in the provision of government services or the mobilization of community participation for development projects but in increasing individual and household capabilities to access resources and engage in livelihood enhancing economic activities.

Capacity building includes transformation of agriculture from subsistence farming to productive agriculture supported by microcredit, education, and technology development.

Reviving Sustainable Development Atkisson (2013) believes that, to advance a sustainable future, sustainable development requires a global reset to “reassert its more radical role for non-negotiable rights of people and planet – its primary position with regards to, rather than instead of, green economy or green growth” (p. 52). How likely is it that environmental concerns will be a priority? Strategies that prioritize environmental sustainability are important if we are to work toward goals that expand the current needs and aspirations of humankind, such as environmental conservation and biodiversity preservation. In addition, there are important potential gains from improved equality for the economic and social well-being of humans globally, such as increased standards of living for the world’s most marginalized peoples. The future of the planet, and of humankind, is dependent on an acceptance of the essential interconnection of people and the rest of nature and having considerable awareness of the impacts of climate change and environmental events on people’s lives. Importantly, international organizations and national governments concerned with social development and meeting the SDGs targets need to develop and implement policies and strategies aimed at preparing for the worst effects of climate change, pollution, the depletion of natural resources, food insecurity, and the displacement of people and ill effects of government subsidies for fossil fuels. Strategies that promote ecological and social well-being will necessarily include better use of local resources for local benefit, as well as policy interventions at the national and international levels. In recent decades, sectors in the environmental movement have attempted to work with businesses and governments to find a balance between the need for profit and growth and the need to reduce dangerous and polluting emissions. Most pollution, overharvesting, and environmental degradation, not to mention violations of human rights and social justice, emanate from industrial activity. However, the consistent and steady increases in greenhouse gas emissions over the last decades have exposed the futility of such efforts. Clearly, effective action and policies on social

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development and environmental sustainability connect to economic issues and require intervention in the economic, social, and political arenas. To achieve sustainable development, in its multifaceted sense, environmental needs must take precedence over profit. The failure of growth-focused initiatives leads to the importance of governments not only setting mandatory standards but also stimulating a national dialogue to promote an alternative to extractive, profit-driven economic and political processes. To move toward sustainability and a healthier environment for all species, social development and environmental policies should strive to support the emergence of an “alternative economy based on very different principles and values” (Klein 2014, p. 405). Attempts to balance environmental goals within an economically focused paradigm have been unsuccessful, and thus the paradigm must change, moving toward a way of life that focuses on regeneration rather than domination, on renewal rather than depletion, and on thriving rather than mere survival (Klein 2014). Such a worldview recognizes that humanity’s future requires a healthy planet. Further, recognizing the connection of all things and the essentiality of supporting and living within Earth’s regenerative and restorative capabilities (see Berry 1988; Coates 2004), an alternative set of policies and actions could lead toward life-enhancing policies, sustainable business practices, a sustainable environment, and social justice. Gray et al. (2017) proposed possible actions and policies, including the following: • • • • • •

Remove the social license from extractive and toxic industries. Promote environmentally conscious investment. Support local agriculture. Revitalize public transportation. Enhance the social safety net. Develop environmental protection, prevention, and mitigation strategies, such as mangrove replanting programs, ecosystem regeneration, and responsible fishing. • Introduce community controlled land management. • Value traditional environmental knowledge.

What Can Social Workers Do? Social work has embraced the notion of social development, yet few social work education programs include discussions of sustainable development. International financial institutions and nongovernment organizations exert an enormous influence on national development policy in the Global South, and the exact nature of the relationship between development, foreign aid, and poverty alleviation has been a matter of ongoing debate. The tripartite relationship between these three domains hinges on how each is conceptualized and defined and shifts in understanding of exactly what each seeks to accomplish. What is the purpose of development, for example? Is it economic growth or poverty reduction or an enhancement of people’s quality of life? As already argued, development policy has focused mainly on

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economic growth, notwithstanding the various shifts in focus from industrialization and modernization to human development and poverty reduction with the advent of the MDGs. The same question pertains to foreign aid. Is its primary objective to help developing economies to embed modern Western systems of economic management and political governance or to reduce poverty and increase people’s quality of life? The argument has been that economic growth is the best way of achieving these outcomes, but history has proven that instead it has brought gross inequality, with millions of people still mired in poverty worldwide. Thus, ideas on the best way to reduce poverty hinge on ideas about the purpose of development and foreign aid, which, so far, have focused on developing countries having strong systems of governance, a sturdy social infrastructure, and sound economic management. The core areas of the debate surround the discourse of poverty alleviation and the role of foreign aid and development. Midgley (1995) presented social development as an alternative welfare model. Implicit in this developmental welfare model is the economic as part of, rather than distinct from, social development (Midgley 2017). For example, Drolet and Sampson (2017) claim that “the social development approach involves processes, activities, and institutions working together to develop the social and economic capacities of individuals and communities . . . [and] is effective in addressing social and economic needs” (p. 63). Gray (2017) argued that too much had been made of the move from a welfare to a developmental paradigm in Africa, without any serious interrogation of what this meant in relation to the development discourse or evidence of proven effectiveness. To understand the meaning of a development paradigm – and social work’s role in, and contribution to, social development – requires an exploration of the discourses shaping approaches to development, foreign aid, and poverty reduction in Africa. Social work uses a value-driven approach undergirded by human rights and social justice. Based on these values, its emancipatory claims are self-justifying: social workers champion the rights of vulnerable and oppressed people and work toward poverty alleviation but without serious consideration of how they do this when located in government or nongovernment organizations with diverse goals and missions. As Matthies (2012) observed in her review of Dominelli (2012), the assumption is that social work is “an autonomous and self-organized profession,” yet the profession’s goals are often far removed “from the common expectations of the employers and clients of social workers” (p. 248). Rather than study social development within its broader context, or set realistic goals within the parameters of what most social workers do, and are expected to do, social work tends to take a normative stance. This, too, is how it is approaching issues of environmental sustainability and ecological justice. The problem with this normative stance is there is little room for serious debate and critique, as it pursues the cause with missionary zeal rather than scholarly enquiry. Areas of environmental and climate change science are hotly debated and by no means conclusive. In books, conferences, and electronic discussion lists, there is an element of preaching to the converted and a great deal of within-group encouragement and promotion such that a climate change denier would be a pariah. There are people with left- and right-wing leanings within social work, yet its discourse carries a largely leftist, emancipatory

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ethos. There is a need to be deeply critical of social work’s stance and to deconstruct initiatives in order to open the door for discussions on an ecocentric foundation that prioritizes environmental justice in approaching equity, poverty reduction, and social development. For change to take place, social workers of diverse political persuasions need to be involved in the discussion. Concerns about the environment need to move from the margins to the mainstream, bearing in mind that, as Matthies (2012) observed, “in many countries, social workers themselves are part of, and dependent on, the unsustainable neoliberal industrial model and its power structures” (p. 248). The Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development exemplified the kind of solidarity, rather than constructive critical debate, that dominates the social work profession. It was a political vehicle to establish social work’s credentials in social development, despite several key international bodies already occupying this space, including from within social work, such as the International Consortium for Social Development (Gray and Webb 2014). As claimed by Jones and Truell (2012), the Agenda was “designed to strengthen the profile of social work” (p. 454, emphasis added). Dominelli (2014) reiterated the Agenda’s aims to eradicate poverty, promote social justice, and further sustainable development by protecting “the physical environment for the use of current and future generations of the Earth’s peoples, flora and fauna” (p. 339). She added environmental justice to the bow of social work’s Global Agenda. As Matthies (2012) observed of Dominelli’s (2012) argument: “If social work takes its global agenda and professional role seriously, it cannot remain separated from the issues of environmental justice” (p. 248). It must “hold accountable multinational companies that exacerbate socio-economic inequalities by exploiting land, labour and resources at least economic cost, thereby maximizing profits from investments while claiming to meet human needs” (Dominelli 2014, p. 339). Dominelli (2012, 2014) names the underlying or perhaps overriding issue that social workers must address as neoliberal capitalism. However, her presentation of green social work as a grassroots movement that takes place at the macro community level through community development seems far removed from the realities of daily practice for most social workers. Further, as the transition discourses outline, those in social work pushing for a renewed ecological perspective signal the need for a new paradigm completely different from the modernist one currently underpinning social work. Yet, as Dewane (2013) observed, most social work professionals identify as direct care practitioners, while Dominelli (2012) speaks primarily to macro community developer practitioners and is highly critical of individualizing direct practice (clinical casework) as detached from structures and the environment. The question remains: how can “social workers who are paid to work in public or private services in the current economic model . . . change into mobilizing people towards the collective problem-solving of environmental conflicts and economic injustice” (Matthies 2012, p. 248)? This applies equally to contemporary social work literature on social development, environmental sustainability, and ecological justice. The last one is related to, but far more ecologically radical than, social work’s notions of social justice and environmental justice, which are based on human rights and needs and reflect social

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work’s humanistic ethos. Ecological or deep justice attributes inalienable rights to nonhuman entities in the natural world. Besthorn (2012) concluded that this kind of deep justice is “the proper and necessary framework for social work as it moves into the troubled waters of a world on the edge of environmental and economic collapse” (p. 255). This hortatory, apocalyptic discourse needs testing against the reality of daily social work practice. Bearing in mind the political nature of the discourse on sustainable social development and environmental social work, contributors in Gray (2017) wrote repeated accounts of how they were trying to embed developmental social work in Africa while being hampered by legislative environments where social workers lacked a collective voice, a political platform, and professional legitimacy.

Conclusion Though undoubtedly poverty also exists in the Global North, the bulk of the world’s people living in poverty are located in the Global South. Social development and environmental sustainability have as their main objective the struggle against poverty and inequality. Until we address issues of poverty and inequality, it is highly unlikely that environmental justice or radical ecological justice will trump social justice and human development. We need more practice examples documenting what social workers are doing to further sustainable social development and environmental justice. Those in the profession promoting developmental and green social work constitute a growing albeit minority voice. Therefore, it is wise to avoid overambitious claims and, instead, seek to establish the effectiveness of what we do. Though its goals are wide-ranging and its practice is diverse, social work offers a unique perspective that needs to be better articulated, not only to policy makers and fellow professionals but also to local communities and service users. By demonstrating the effectiveness of their interventions, social workers around the world will earn the recognition for the good that they do.

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Contents Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Climate Change and Environmental Disasters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Impacts on Health and Wellbeing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Livelihoods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . People Displaced . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Population Movements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Reshaping Geopolitical Landscape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Food and Water Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Factors Exacerbating Vulnerability to Environmental Impacts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Poverty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rurality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gender . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Fundamentalism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Climate Policies and Climate Change Scepticism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Neoliberal Policies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Social Work, the State and Environmental Advocacy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Moving Forward . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cross-References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

172 173 175 176 176 177 178 178 179 179 179 180 180 180 182 183 184 185 185

Abstract

This chapter discusses the importance of environmental advocacy for social work. It does this by assessing the nature of environmental disasters and the consequences for people and the places in which they live. The chapter examines the impact of climate changes, environmental disasters, populations movements, food and water security, and rising fundamentalism and notes the critical significance of rurality and gender in the context of widespread M. Alston (*) University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW, Australia e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 S. Todd, J. L. Drolet (eds.), Community Practice and Social Development in Social Work, Social Work, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-6969-8_9

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environmental uncertainty. These factors are shaping a world where food and water security are threatened in many parts of the world and thus have not only destabilized national governments but are challenging the geopolitical landscape. The chapter discusses the impacts for social work, drawing out the complexities inherent in social work’s relationship to the state and the way this might constrain our responses to environmental challenges particularly with the dominance of neoliberal ideological positions shaping and constraining policy development. Nonetheless, the chapter notes the need for social workers to engage in environmental advocacy and to prioritize the environment in social work practice. Keywords

Environment · Advocacy · Climate change · Disaster · Population movement · Water security · Gender

Introduction The social work discipline has moved rapidly to embrace the environment as a critical factor affecting practice largely because of the significant impacts of environmental degradation on people’s health and wellbeing. In previous papers (see, e.g., Alston 2015, 2017; Alston and Besthorn 2012; Alston et al. 2016b), we have also noted that the physical environment has become more “visible” to social workers because of the increasing frequency and intensity of environmental disasters and the significant impacts of these for the people affected and the landscapes in which they live. Across the world we are seeing significant environmental challenges emerging as a result of natural and human-induced causes and because of the ongoing threat of climate changes and increasing populations. Social workers are being drawn into places and spaces where consequent environmental degradation has created fundamental, catastrophic and often very sudden changes to the places that people call home. This has led to immediate threats to human and ecological health and well-being and a destabilization of the certainties on which people base their lives and livelihoods. Thus there is a growing recognition within the social work discipline of the significance of the physical environment (McKinnon 2008; Gray et al. 2012) and a movement within the profession to recognize the fragility of ecosystems and the need for greater harmony between people and nature (see, e.g., Coates 2003; Besthorn 2011). It is therefore no surprise that the integration of the physical environment as a factor in practice is recognized in the Social Work Global Agenda (IFSW et al. 2012) where “working towards environmental sustainability” is noted as one of the four key social work areas. This prioritization of environmental health emerges not only because environmental disasters expose the relevance of these challenges to practice, but also because social workers are increasingly recognizing the need to advocate on behalf of environmental health. In this chapter I take up this need

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for environmental advocacy. In so doing I explore the nature of environmental degradation, the impacts of population growth and other factors that magnify these challenges and the inadequacy of political debate and policy development both nationally and globally, driven largely by neoliberal priorities. I argue the need for the profession to become critically aware of global efforts to address environmental challenges and to demonstrate leadership in global environmental policy forums. Further while social workers are building expertise in environmental advocacy and post-disaster community development approaches, there is a need to ensure that social work education incorporates these skills. Yet this transition to environmental advocacy is not a neat and simple process of becoming aware of the relevance of the environment to human health and wellbeing nor of suddenly having a light bulb moment about the impacts of human actions for ecological health. Rather there is much soul-searching to be done by the discipline driven largely by our links to modernity and our relationship with the state, particularly our strong identification with the welfare state, a system under immense pressure. As social work theorists remind us (see, e.g., Boetto 2017; Coates 2003; Alston and Besthorn 2012), this creates fundamental, and indeed uneasy, barriers to environmental advocacy for social work. If we are to move forward with international relevance, we may need to reconsider some of the foundational truths of our profession. This chapter moves from a discussion of environmental disasters and their effects on health and the sustaining certainty of everyday life, to a critical examination of factors that exacerbate this uncertainty and finally to a discussion of the factors shaping social work’s capacity to advocate for environmental health.

Climate Change and Environmental Disasters There is now irrefutable scientific evidence that the world’s climate is changing and that this will have major repercussions for the health of the environment (see, e. g., IPCC 2014). Climate change is occurring because of the increasing amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere caused in part by human interventions associated with industrial development. These gases are causing temperature and sea level rises and affecting weather patterns across the globe. While there is general acceptance within the scientific community that global temperatures will inevitably rise because significant damage has already been done, what is not clear is by how much. It appears inevitable that there will be a 1–2 rise and that this will have widespread impacts including significant droughts, temperature and sea level rises, more frequent, and intense disasters and critical impacts on food and water security across the world. Without serious concerted global action, temperatures may rise further reaching tipping points that will cause irreparable damage (IPCC 2014). The 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement was designed to gain global agreement on limiting the rise to 1–2 . However, the subsequent withdrawal of the United States under President Donald Trump from the agreement will potentially have devastating impacts on the capacity of global players to limit these rises. This could well lead

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to widespread chaos as some countries will be disproportionately affected – for example, the Pacific Island nations that are currently subject to sea level rises, disappearing coastal areas and storm surges. While there are obviously growing concerns about global warming and the ecological health of the planet, more frequent and intense environmental disasters are already impacting many parts of the world (IPCC 2014). In 2017, Europe experienced a deadly heatwave that has been named “Lucifer” because of its intensity and widespread extreme conditions (Sky News 2017; McKay 2017). These environmental disasters are either catastrophic events such as Lucifer, or slow-onset events such as the devastating Australian drought, and they can be localized or wide-ranging. In understanding the nature of these disasters and their cause, it is useful to examine definitional environmental disaster categories (the following draws on definitions developed by the Johns Hopkins and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies n.d.). Firstly there are environmental disasters that result from natural causes. These might include earthquakes and shifts in tectonic plates that devastate communities through the event itself and subsequent flooding and destabilization of land. Examples include the Christchurch earthquake of 2011 that resulted in the deaths of 185 people (Ministry for Culture and Heritage 2016); the Tohoku quake that struck the Japanese island of Honshu in 2011 killing nearly 16,000 people (BBC 2012); and the 2004 Indonesian tsunami that resulted in nearly a quarter of a million deaths (The Guardian 2009). The scale and unpredictability of these events result in significant mortality, morbidity and the destruction of landscapes and communities. The second category includes disasters that result in some way from human intervention. Arguably these include environmental disasters resulting from climate changes as these result from the build-up of greenhouse gases in the environment and ultimately from human activity. Examples of climate-induced disasters are the long-running 10-year drought that blanketed Australia at the turn of the century (BOM 2015); heatwaves such as the 2003 French disaster (Bhattacharya 2003); floods such as those that battered Brisbane in 2011 (Moore 2016); and the 2009 Victorian Black Saturday bushfires (Teague et al. 2010). In this category we would also include disasters such as mudslides caused by land clearing and the desertification of previously fertile land caused by overgrazing. One example of such a disaster was the mudslides and flooding that occurred in Kuala Lumpur in 2014 (Sunday Daily 2014) and resulted from major illegal land clearing in the highland areas of the country. The third type of disaster includes those that directly result from actions by people. Included in this category are such events as chemical spills, terrorist acts and armed conflicts, all of which directly impact the environment and have devastating effects on the places where people live and their livelihoods and community stability. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 (Bryant 2011) is one example of a major disaster which impacted on a vast area and disrupted the livelihoods of people across the Gulf. The 2002 Bali bombing is another violent example that resulted in the deaths of over 200 people (Hargreaves

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2011). In many of these incidents, social workers have been dispatched to assist people during and after these events. Thus disasters that affect the environments where people live and work have a number of causes; they can be sudden and catastrophic in nature (such as the earthquake in Japan) or equally devastating but slow-onset (such as the Australian drought). They can cover large areas (such as the Indonesian tsunami) or be localized (such as the Bali bombing). Affected areas can be rehabilitated (such as the Australian bushfire areas) or be devastated for decades (such as the Gulf of Mexico oil spill region). In developing appropriate social work interventions, it is important to understand the cause, scale, geographic impact and expected rehabilitation time. Are people able to return home? How is the community affected? Is there support for rebuilding? Are people’s livelihoods affected? Is it necessary for people to migrate away from their “place”? As we have noted elsewhere (Alston et al. in press): Ultimately environmental disasters have devastating and often life changing impacts on the people and communities who call the affected areas ‘home’. Being aware of the nature of disasters and the importance of ‘place’, or the physical environment, to people’s health and wellbeing are critical factors in post-disaster work.

Impacts on Health and Wellbeing The World Health Organisation (WHO) notes that climate change is affecting clean air, access to safe water, food security and secure shelter (WHO 2017) and will cause an additional 250,000 deaths per year by 2050 from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea and heat stress. They predict that those in developing countries will be most vulnerable. Further, as Hallegatte et al. (2016: 1) note, sudden climate shocks can leave people with “irreversible health consequences.” In our own work, we have observed critical health impacts that follow disasters. These impacts include mental health crises (see, e.g., Alston and Hazeleger 2019) and a rise in vulnerability to other health issues. There are a number of known health factors associated with the disaster experience. For example, pregnant women are more at risk of miscarriage (Save the Children 2006), diarrhea, dysentery and skin diseases, and hygiene issues are exacerbated (WEDO 2008) and malnutrition increases. Insect and airborne diseases are also predicted to rise (Walter et al. 2014). In our work in Bangladesh (Alston 2015), the health issues noted by research participants included a rise in colds, coughs, breathing difficulties, skin problems, diarrhea, typhoid, reproductive health issues, malnutrition, high blood pressure, dehydration, jaundice, eclampsia, anxiety and mental health issues. As temperatures rise, heat stress is increasingly proving to be a major health issue especially for the very young and the very old (Walter et al. 2014). It has been estimated that the heatwave that blanketed Europe in August 2003 caused 35,000 deaths (Bhattacharya 2003). Meanwhile Lucifer, the current European heatwave, is having a major impact on vast areas of Europe.

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Livelihoods The impacts of climate changes and environmental disasters are evident in destroyed livelihoods which can be wiped out in an instant by catastrophic events. For example, the major Black Saturday bushfires in Australia in 2009 destroyed businesses, schools and communities across vast areas of the state of Victoria. The destruction of livelihoods is particularly evident in agricultural regions where crops and livestock are destroyed by environmental events or slowly eroded by droughts. Good examples include the lengthy drought in Australia at the turn of the century that had major repercussions on agricultural production across the continent for several years. This in turn affected the viability of businesses and small communities reliant on agriculture (Alston et al. 2004). Livelihoods can be equally affected in urban areas when major disasters occur, particularly those areas on low-lying land and in densely populated areas. This was evident following floods in Manila, Philippines, in 2012, and following Hurricane Katrina in the United States in 2005 when severe flooding occurred across several states. In both cases, vast areas were wiped out, destroying not only homes but also the small business enterprises dotted through these heavily populated areas.

People Displaced One of the most critical humanitarian elements following climate disasters is the impact on people, families and communities, often torn apart by loss of life, homes, infrastructure and destroyed livelihoods. Particularly where disasters occur suddenly and create major destruction, families must decide how to respond quickly. This often means relocating – firstly to shelters during the immediate danger period and then to temporary accommodation. It may also mean returning to home sites and trying to make homes habitable. In research following the devastating 2009 bushfires in Australia (Alston et al. 2016), we were made aware of the catastrophic suddenness of the bushfires, the loss of lives and homes and the destruction of communities. One survivor interviewed 5 years after the fires revisited the sense of disbelief that his house could be destroyed so quickly and so thoroughly. He describes making a phone call at the time to let people know. I said, “[the town] is gone. I’ve lost everything. I’m sitting blackened and bruised down at my neighbours’ home, [their house] got missed [by the fire], my house is gone, my animals are gone, everything I own is gone. . . . It’s gone.

In other research conducted in Bangladesh from 2011 to 2014 (Alston 2015), we were made aware of the efforts of people to make their former homes livable after extreme flooding washed away their village. Bangladesh is a country prone to disasters including flooding, and these floods, coupled with cyclones, can wipe away whole areas. In this quote a young woman relays the trauma of living through such an event with children.

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After dinner when we went to bed, there was a possibility that the river may take away my house. Water comes, we raise the upper bed mattress, bed sheets and other things so that they cannot get wet. We lift the bed and boxes. We ensure that the children do not fall into the water. We have to be careful about that. After the water lessens, our wooden furniture and the pillars of my cottage break after the flood. Soil makes the inside dirty and I need to clean them after a flood. I need to reconstruct my cottage. I need to clean everything. Someone in my family will be affected from diarrhea or cholera, it makes the clothes dirty. I need to clean them. That is what we have to do [after a flood]. (Young woman Gaibandha)

These first-hand accounts of the post-disaster environment demonstrate not only the shock of losing one’s home and possessions but also the trauma of suddenly having to decide how to move forward. How to provide shelter and comfort for family is an immediate consideration. For many this means relocating to temporary accommodation either in the community or at a distance from the disaster site. It also means assessing the impact on livelihoods and income generation. In both of the above examples, livelihoods were destabilized – businesses were lost, schools and health services were destroyed affecting the jobs of many people, and agricultural pursuits were severely impacted. For many of the farmers and fishermen who took part in our field research in Bangladesh, the loss of their agricultural base meant that they would not be able to restore their income for up to a year. Thus the impact of disasters often includes the need for income to be generated elsewhere. This leads to a steady outmigration of population seeking work to ensure that income can be sent back (or remitted) to the family remaining behind.

Population Movements As a consequence of disasters, there are massive population movements occurring within countries and across borders – these people are often known as climate refugees. In a study undertaken by the Norwegian Refugee Council (Norwegian Refugee Council, Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) 2015), it was noted that in 2013 alone, 22 million people were displaced by disasters and that on average 27 million per year were displaced in the previous decade. A surge in 2010 saw as many as 42 million rendered homeless by disasters in that 1 year alone (The Guardian 2015). The rise in the number of climate refugees is leading to significant population shifts within countries from rural to urban areas and across borders, particularly from developing to developed nations (UN Economic and Social Affairs 2015). Global population growth is exacerbating this trend. The world population has doubled since the 1970s and is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050 (FAO 2011). At the same time, urban populations have tripled. This represents a rural to urban migration trend that is putting enormous pressure on cities, particularly the sprawling metropolises in developing countries. Large slum areas are evident and growing in these centers and these areas become traps when disasters strike, and escape is difficult or impossible. This was evident following Hurricane Katrina in the United States but also in cities such as Dhaka, Mumbai, Karachi and Nairobi, to name a few,

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where people live on river banks and in areas prone to flooding and cyclones. These areas and the people who live there are extremely vulnerable to environmental disasters.

Reshaping Geopolitical Landscape Major population shifts caused or exacerbated by environmental disasters are reshaping the geopolitical landscape and causing significant tensions in many countries where anti-immigration feelings are intensifying. This has been evident in the United States of late where a rise in racism is fuelling anti-immigration sentiment and in Germany where the acceptance of nearly one million refugees in 2015 has led to significant tensions. Australia has a damning history of anti-immigration policies that have led to refugees being kept off-shore in island compounds where the process of assessing refugee status can take years. What is evident from these examples in that the mass migration of refugees across the globe is causing significant changes in global politics and also facilitating the growth of anti-refugee and racist groups and sentiments.

Food and Water Security Climate change, environmental disasters, population growth and migration patterns are also affecting food and water security across the world. Growing populations, changing diets and a decrease in agricultural land are expected to increase the demand for food by 70% by 2050, and dietary changes may see demand double in Asian countries (FAO 2011). Yet environmental disasters have destabilized food production in many countries. For example, the UN (2007: 3) notes that Drought and desertification are at the core of serious challenges and threats facing sustainable development in Africa. These problems have far reaching adverse impacts on human health, food security, economic activity, physical infrastructure, natural resources and the environment, and national and global security.

The precariousness of food security increases the need for irrigation water for agriculture by approximately 11% at the same time as there are increasing conflicts within and between countries over water access (UN 2007). This is leading to significant contestation over water access within and across borders. Australia provides one example where the Murray-Darling Basin region (also known as the food bowl of Australia) is experiencing significant environmental stress caused by reduced water availability as a result of droughts and an historical over-allocation of water for irrigation (Alston 2015). This has led to significant tensions between farmers, environmentalists and policy makers over the use of scarce water resources. Other evidence is not hard to find. India, for example, is planning to build dams on the border with Bangladesh, and, if completed, this will have serious

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ramifications for water access in Bangladesh. Vidal (2013) suggests that there is a water grab underway right across Asia, that 400 dams are planned and that these will destabilize water security in India, Nepal and Pakistan. Meanwhile a further 100 dams proposed by China will impact Tibet’s access to potable water. There is no doubt that water wars will intensify and that those most critically affected will be the poor, the homeless and the displaced. In summary agricultural production will be severely impacted by climate change as severe storms and droughts increase, agricultural production will be reduced, and water demand will be higher at the same time as it is less readily available (FAO 2011).

Factors Exacerbating Vulnerability to Environmental Impacts Poverty There are a number of factors that exacerbate the vulnerability of people exposed to climate changes and environmental disasters. Critically, poverty and climate change are intimately linked. Despite the efforts of the global community to address poverty, climate change threatens to undo highly successful poverty reduction initiatives. In 1990 one third of the world’s population lived on the equivalent of less than $1.90 a day (the recognized poverty standard). The introduction of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000 committed the global community to reduce the number of people living in poverty by half – a goal achieved by 2010, 5 years before the deadline set in 2000 (The World Bank 2016). The number of people now living in poverty has reduced to just over 10% by 2013. Thus more than a billion people have moved out of poverty since 1990 – chiefly in East Asia (led by China), the Pacific (led by Indonesia) and East Asia (led by India) (The World Bank 2016). The majority of the world’s remaining poor now live in sub-Saharan Africa. Despite major initiatives undertaken by the world community to achieve poverty reduction, climate change threatens to escalate extreme poverty with predictions that an additional 100 million will be living in extreme poverty by 2030 (Hallegate et al. 2016). Those living in such circumstances are more dependent on agriculture or associated industries such as fishing. Yet, with climate changes, weather patterns are destabilized, crop production is more uncertain, yields are lower, food security is threatened, food prices spike, and outmigration for income has become vital. Meanwhile health threats are exacerbated, and the capacity to cope and adapt to extreme weather conditions is diminished.

Rurality Notably the vast majority of those living in extreme poverty live in rural areas, have lower levels of education and are reliant on agriculture (Hallegate et al. 2016). Thus it is people in rural areas that are particularly vulnerable to climate impacts, uncertain weather patterns and food and water insecurity. The uncertainty

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surrounding agricultural production resulting from climate change has deep implications for rural areas. As noted elsewhere (Alston 2012), Molnar (2010) argues that rural areas have a greater propensity to be impacted by climate change and yet are more likely to be overlooked by policy makers. When rural areas are impacted by lengthy and severe droughts, as were Australia’s rural regions at the turn of the century and in East Africa in 2011–2012, or by flooding and river bank erosion, as were vast areas of Bangladesh following cyclone Sidr (2009), or by mudslides caused by overgrazing as in Malaysia, food production is affected, livelihoods destabilized, and families are divided by the need for outmigration.

Gender We have written extensively about the gendered impacts of climate change events (see, e.g., Alston 2015; Alston et al. 2016). There is little doubt that gender shapes one’s experiences of environmental disasters, and this has been proven time and time again in research projects across the world (see, e.g., Alston 2012, 2015; Dhungel and Ojha 2012; Enarson 2012; Enarson and Meyreles 2004; Eriksen et al. 2010; Ciampi et al. 2011; Morrow and Phillips 1999; O’Gorman and CliftonEverest 2009; Pincha 2008; Yonder 2005). These gendered impacts arise because of differential social and cultural norms that shape the way women and men live their lives in various societies. There is also research that indicates that women are significantly more likely to die in disasters (Neumayer and Pluemper 2007); that violence against women increases during and after environmental disasters (see, e. g., Parkinson and Zara 2013; Whittenbury 2011); and that women are more constrained by caring responsibilities in the aftermath of disasters. Men are deeply affected by the loss of livelihoods and by the potential need to outmigrate. There is also increasing evidence of men’s mental health being undermined by disasters (Alston and Hazeleger 2019).

Fundamentalism To add to the uncertainty and destabilization emerging across regions, where people are particularly vulnerable, is the growing religious fundamentalism which is shaping a harsher, less rights-based approach to human rights and equality issues. In our research conducted in Bangladesh, we were made aware that some religious leaders were blaming women’s newfound freedom to work outside the home and to travel away from home without a male escort (both now necessary in the wake of disasters that require women to work while men outmigrate) for climate events (Alston 2015).

Climate Policies and Climate Change Scepticism Nonetheless, while climate change has alarmed the scientific community and populations across the world, there have been a number of global policy actions designed to address the growing threat of climate change. These include the regular

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reports provided by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the IPCC (2008, 2014) and the signing by many countries including Australia of the Kyoto Protocol in 1992 committing countries to reduce greenhouse gases; the Hyogo Protocol in 2005 designed to build national resilience to environmental disasters; and the Green Climate Fund designed to support developing countries to build adaptive responses to climate change. Each year there is a Conference of the Parties (COP) meeting for countries signed up to Kyoto to discuss global actions. The 2015 meeting in Paris held promise of an agreement on binding actions. However, a binding agreement did not emerge, although there was voluntary support given by many countries. Yet there are emerging threats to global actions on the horizon. Across much of the developed world, there has been a growing swing to conservatism typified by the election of Donald Trump in the United States, the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom and a right wing backlash in Australia that has successfully toppled a number of Prime Ministers. At its core is neoliberalism, a set of policy principles that favors individualism (that the individual is responsible for her/his own actions) and that prioritize a market economy. Pyles (2017: 632) defines neoliberalism as: a family of social and economic policies that values unlimited growth, deregulation, commodification and privatisation of social services, and an individualistic approach to social problems, [and] is arguably part and parcel to the legacy of colonialism.

This reliance on individualism and market mechanisms defrays collaborative measures and reduces attention to human rights and social justice-based actions. As Pyles (2017) notes, when a neoliberal focus on unlimited constraint is brought to bear on the environment, it actually increases the risk of disasters because of a lack of alternative actions. Unsurprisingly this neoliberal focus has also built a strong oppositional discourse to the notion of climate change. It is very much shaped by climate sceptics – many of whom are also formulating national policies and responses to climate changes. Despite the Paris Accord, the dominance of conservatives in many developed country governments and, in particular, the election of noted sceptic, Trump in the United States, has reduced global urgency to address climate changes and certainly undermined the commitment to greenhouse reduction targets. Sceptics are emboldened by the imprimatur of global leaders and are actively questioning scientific understandings and metanarratives, for example, the idea that climate change may be caused by human actions. This undermines attempts by the global community to address the ever-increasing threat of climate change. Australia is no exception. The Chair of the Prime Minister’s Business Council, Maurice Newman, suggested in 2015 that climate change is an attempt to establish “a new world order under the UN” (Dunlop 2015). More recently, in 2017 the then Resources Minister, Matt Canavan, speaking on a national television program, argued that supporting coal mining is acceptable from a business perspective and will not affect Australia’s commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement because “we’re not burning the coal here, its being exported to other countries” (The Guardian 2017: 1) – his point being that this would appear on someone else’s

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Kyoto tally, not Australia’s! Australian conservatives, who currently dominate policy development, are very focused on ensuring that there are no brakes on business development, viewing the climate agreement and clean energy initiatives as anathema and as a potential “tax on coal” (Baxendale 2017). Nonetheless there are significant community-based projects driven by local people happening in Australia and across the world. A good example is the Green Belt Movement begun by Wangari Maathi in Kenya, a locally based environmental project built on empowering local women that earned her the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize. In summing up to this point, we have increased awareness of climate change and environmental disasters, of their social impacts and of those who are most vulnerable. There are global attempts underway to address these challenges. Yet these are often thwarted by the dominance of neoliberal conservatives who hold power in many developed countries. How then are social workers placed to address these challenges? In assessing the discipline’s readiness to advocate for the environment, for appropriate policies and for the people and communities affected when livelihoods are destabilized, it is important firstly to examine social work’s location in relation to the state.

Neoliberal Policies It is no accident that social work expanded rapidly as a profession in developed nations in the context of a burgeoning welfare state. Particularly following the Second World War, the welfare state expanded rapidly, and social workers were recruited to facilitate its development. This significant expansion was not without its challenges, and innate prejudices are evident in definitions of the deserving and undeserving poor that litter welfare policy discussions. For example, single mothers were not eligible for welfare support in Australia until the 1970s although widows were eligible from the 1940s. In many developed countries, including Australia, the cost of the expanding welfare system over time became financially unsustainable. During the 1990s this coincided with a stronger push by the conservative side of politics to reign in spending and to limit welfare generosity. A shift occurred in policy guidelines away from welfare support based on identified need towards the notion of mutual obligation in welfare support regimes. At the same time, in Australia at least, resentment towards welfare recipients grew. Labeling of the poor and disadvantaged was newly tolerated, and, in Australia, terms such as “dole bludger” became widespread. Indicating the depths of this move to demonize welfare recipients, the Howard conservative government ran a campaign to “dob in a dole cheat” in the early 2000s (Mendes 2008). Perhaps the conservative backlash was inevitable – but what was not so predictable was the vitriolic oppositional discourse fostered by right-wing conservatives. The notion of a safety net designed to ensure that the community looks after its own was disparaged. Rather, as Pollack (2010) notes, marginalized groups are expected to be risk managed by way of welfare systems

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such as child protection and mental health services and increasingly by punitive actions. The expansion of neoliberalism has matched the downgrading of the welfare state, and with this has come a rise in managerialism, an attack on welfare rights, a privatization of welfare services and an undermining of professional expertise (see, e.g., Ahmed-Mohamed 2013; Pollack 2010). Under neoliberalism many social services have been privatized, and increasingly welfare services have been provided under user-pays type models. Critically the marketplace is privileged, and economic gain (and therefore capitalist growth) over social stability is supported as is smaller government intervention. This has in turn led to reduced welfare support and indeed to a more punitive system of welfare entitlement. At the same time as the welfare state was being reigned in, modernity was being replaced by post-modernity and with it a questioning of a number of previously inviolable truths (Alston and Besthorn 2012). This included the undermining of professional knowledge and thus social work disciplinary knowledge.

Social Work, the State and Environmental Advocacy Critically, then, the link between social work and the state and the location of many social work positions within the instrumentalities of the welfare state has led to both a change in community perceptions of social work and constraints on the capacity of social workers to lead social change, and, as Ramsay and Boddy (2017: 81) note, this has led to “the demoralisation of social workers in many parts of the world.” This link to the punitive welfare state, together with the introduction of managerialist practices and the undermining of social work employment conditions, has weakened the ability of practitioners to openly critique certain policy positions adopted by the state. In fact, Coates (2003: 38) suggests that modern social work has become a “domesticated profession”– that is not one readily focused on radical social actions. Therefore, as we argued in a previous work (Alston and Besthorn 2012, drawing on Mosher 2009) social work has been so thoroughly indoctrinated in modernist ideas of control over nature, unending progress and unrestrained development that the profession has been reduced to being the hand-maiden of the dominant socio-economic order. . . .This approach cast social workers and many other professionals in the role of expert mechanics that, with technical skill backed by science, could control the vicissitudes of environment and the thorny problem of human relationships and thus repair the malfunctioning machine.

This view of social workers as handmaidens or expert mechanics indicates the heavy constraints on the activism of social workers and their capacity to not only work for environmental health but also to challenge neoliberal policies that cast the environment as a resource to be mined. Thus, as Boetto (2017) notes so well, the link between social work, modernism and the welfare state interrupts the discipline’s moves to embrace a transformative, ecologically sensitive, social work.

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How then does this affect social work attempts to engage in environmental activism and advocacy? There is no doubt that social work has been weakened by its close association with the state and is disorganized around environmental advocacy. Further, as Ramsay and Boddy (2017: 81) note, social workers who advocate for any form of systemic change can be particularly vulnerable in their employment. Thus, a tilt towards activism on behalf of the environment can be both unappealing and potentially damaging. Nevertheless, we can take heart from the burgeoning literature emerging from social work theorists in diverse parts of the globe, particularly since the turn of the century detailing both a renewed attention to the environment and also a commitment by social workers across the globe to community development and activism underpinned by environmental sensitivity. These have drawn attention to the need for a transformative ecologically conscious theoretical approach to practice (see, e.g., Matthies and Närhi (2017) in Finland; Peeters (2016) in Belgium; Coates (2011) in Canada; Dominelli (2012) in the United Kingdom; Besthorn (2011) in the United States; and McKinnon (2008) in Australia to name a few). In an excellent article summing up this emerging body of literature, Ramsay and Boddy (2017) note that social work academics are advancing a diverse range of theories relating to the environment. These include green social work, eco-feminist social work, spiritual and eco-spiritual, ecological social work, environmental social work and sustainable social work. Despite the diversity of these approaches, as Alston et al. (2016) note, these have more in common than differences. There are, for example, certain elements that all agree on. These include the need to focus on protecting the environment and, as Dominelli (2014) notes, to ensure that environmental justice becomes a significant cornerstone of practice. It also includes ensuring that we work to “create and maintain a bio-diverse planetary ecosystem which includes humans” (Ramsay and Boddy 2017: 82). Further, social workers agree that a focus on social sustainability in the context of climate change and environmental disasters is essential to ensure that attention is given to people and communities in the wider context of environmental and economic sustainability (Alston et al. 2016). Finally, it could be argued that all agree on the need to hold governments accountable (Pyles 2017).

Moving Forward In order to fulfill our commitment to the principle of “working towards environmental sustainability” (IFSW et al. 2012), there are a range of actions open to social workers. These range from those that are locally based to those that demand global interactions. Local civil society groups and organizations are facilitating actions such as clean energy solutions, disaster preparedness strategies, environmental education and clean and green strategies. These groups provide ready access to relevant environmental actions. At the same time, there may be local environmental concerns, for example, around air and water quality, that provide a focus to develop

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community actions. At global levels it includes political engagement in global forums such as the COP meetings. Critically, environmental advocacy can occur at all levels and not just in our capacity as private citizens but also as active members of the social work profession. It can begin with an acknowledgement of the crisis that is climate change and with an understanding of the nature of environmental disasters and their uneven impact across the world. It requires an understanding of vulnerability in the face of these global challenges and a commitment to working with policy makers and civil society groups to build knowledge and commitment. It requires an understanding and lack of tolerance of inequalities that may be exacerbated as a result of environmental disasters. It requires social workers to take a lead at whatever level is required and demanding governments not abdicate their responsibilities for citizens by hiding behind market rhetoric; and it requires walking with people during the nightmare of environmental disasters. It necessitates our social work representative groups engaging and facilitating actions by social workers through such strategies as information dissemination, resourcing and advocacy. Social work should be represented and present at debates whether they be at the COP or the local government level. Our challenge lies in pushing back against a dominant market discourse, facilitating a broader public debate, holding governments to account, challenging misinformation and assisting to build ecologically sensitive community actions. Critically we cannot do this alone and in our private time. It requires a whole of discipline understanding of, and commitment to, “working towards environmental sustainability.”

Cross-References ▶ Building Disaster-Resilient Communities ▶ Community Development in Greening the Cities ▶ Disaster Response Through Community Practice ▶ Environmental Injustices Faced by Resettled Refugees ▶ Social Change and Social Work in Mongolia

References Ahmed-Mohamed K (2013) Pragmatism and interest, immobilism of social work in the welfare state. Int Soc Work 56(4):456–466 Alston M (2012) Rural male suicide in Australia. Soc Sci Med 74(4):515–522 Alston M (2015) Women and climate change in Bangladesh. Routledge Women in Asia series, London Alston M (2017) Eco-social work: reflections from the global south. In: Matthies A-L, Narhi K (eds) Ecosocial transitions of society: contribution of social work and social policy. Routledge, London/Abingdon Alston M, Besthorn F (2012) Environment and sustainability. In: Lyons K, Hokenstad T, Pawar M, Huegler N (eds) Sage handbook of international social work international social work. Sage, London

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Community Development in Greening the Cities

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Green Social Work in Urban Areas Lena Dominelli

Contents Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Shaping the Cityscape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Case Against Hyper-Urbanization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Green Initiatives for Sustainable Cities: Sites for Social Work Involvement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Community Initiatives in an Urban Cityscape . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cross-References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Green social work offers social workers and community development workers a new holistic perspective in greening a city to reduce its carbon footprint. Addressing the matter is urgent given that cities consume the bulk of the world’s resources, emit the highest levels of greenhouse gases, and contain the majority of the world’s population. This chapter argues that green social workers have major roles to play at the macro-level raising consciousness about climate change and the dangers of greenhouse gas emissions to people, plants, animals, and the physical environment. These include holding decision-makers including politicians and entrepreneurs accountable for the policies and actions that place lives at risk, cause biodiversity loss, and pollute skies, soil, and water, and advocating for alternative sustainable green solutions to high consumption lifestyles and the exploitation of nature for profit. Green social workers can make important contributions in creating sustainable living spaces and reduced carbon footprints

L. Dominelli (*) Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 S. Todd, J. L. Drolet (eds.), Community Practice and Social Development in Social Work, Social Work, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-6969-8_10

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at meso- and micro-levels by mobilizing communities as the two case studies indicate: one on recycling materials and one on renewable energy use. Social workers thus promote and facilitate the greening of cities in many ways. Keywords

Cityscape · Green social work · Greening urban areas · Resilient communities · Sustainable development · Greenhouse gases · Pollution · Environmental issues · Biodiversity loss · Social justice

Introduction The majority of the world’s population currently lives in cities. Most urban spaces are divided into geographic communities or neighborhoods, which can be contested and exclusionary or harmonious and inclusionary. As megacities grow in size and people move toward them, the countryside is becoming depleted of people and skills. Moreover, the numbers living in city slums are growing – around a billion – and rising, according to some estimates (UN Habitat 2016). This (under)development is confining more and more of humanity to life in spaces without basic amenities or even unfit for human habitation which, combined with neglect by nation-states, constitutes a deprivation of human rights. Hyper-urbanization, a recent reversal of humanity’s history of living mainly in rural areas, raises questions about the kinds of urban living and development that are sustainable and resilient for people, plants, animals, and planet earth. These are: 1. Is living in hyper-urbanized cities with high population densities and people residing in multistory apartments desirable and/or sustainable? What are the total environmental costs of such developments? 2. Are the disparities in wealth that exist in megacities (metropolitan areas with over ten million people) between the wealthy few and those living in urban slums or townships acceptable in a world that claims to respect human dignity and human rights such as the right to food, clothing, shelter, education, and health? These rights are stipulated in articles 22 to 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in which nation-states have accepted the “duty to care for their citizens.” 3. Who is going to define sustainability and hold accountable nation-states and global corporations that have used the earth and its natural resources as a means to an end, namely, that of making profits that benefit the few? This chapter considers these questions from a green social work perspective, arguing that decisions about sustainability should be made at the local community level by those directly affected. Such decision-making may endorse living in small, environmentally friendly cities, towns, and villages. And, it presents examples of city-based interventions in which social workers, particularly those working as community development workers, have been involved. These are usually

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community-based initiatives aimed at greening cities and either preserving the physical environment or reversing its degradation. The chapter concludes with a call for green social work action in human and social development in urban areas and the pursuit of knowledge that keeps the earth green by including it in mainstream social work curricula in the academy and the field in projects.

Shaping the Cityscape The United Nations (UN) claims that there were 3 megacities in the world in 1970; now there are 31 (UN 2016). These are projected to increase by a third by 2030, and most of them will be in the world’s least developed countries (LDCs). The World Urban Forum (WUF) was organized by UN-Habitat (Human Settlements Programme) in 2002 to analyze rapid urbanization and its impact on cities, communities, and economies and affect change in policies, especially those relating to climate change. WUF argues that by 2030, Tokyo will be home to 37 million people, and seven out of ten of the world’s largest cities will be in East and South Asia (UN Habitat 2016). Yet, social work’s role and voice in such deliberations are virtually invisible, although social workers have been and will be continuing to work with UN-Habitat on improving lives for slum dwellers in many countries, for example, Dr. Gidraph Wairere at the School of Social Work at the University of Nairobi in Kenya. Cities act as centers of innovation, educational advancement, and culture. However, the concentration of industrial and commercial development in the city – urbanizing the cityscape – creates complex, intractable problems for people across the world and their governments to resolve. These are varied and many, but a central one is the wellarticulated problem of climate change (IPCC 2014). This indicates that the environment is heavily and often adversely impacted by systems to maintain city functions. These systems include transportation to get commuters into work, communication systems, street lighting for dark evenings, water for drinking purposes, collecting wastewater, sanitation facilities, and arrangements to heat and cool buildings according to weather variability. The costs of heat islands, infrastructures for industrialization with its attendant commercialization of goods and services, and air, soil, and water pollution aggravate the negative tally. Added to these costs are those involved in upholding mechanisms to enhance cultural development and create sustainable employment structures. In other words, all human activities carry a price tag in environmental terms and require changes to find equitable solutions that balance human (in)action with the imperative to maintain a healthy planet earth. These all require energy, and cities consume inordinate amounts of it. Today’s city dwellers produce 68% of the carbon dioxide emissions linked to fossil fuel consumption, use 60% of residential water, and utilize 76% of wood (Grimm et al. 2008). And, a single individual living in a hyper-urbanized environment is estimated to consume 10,000 kWh of energy per year. This is equivalent to 36 GJ per person living in such cities. Of course, each location would be slightly different depending on various factors including temperature outside, level of industrialization,

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efficiency of energy sources, and the equipment that people use to lead a decent standard of life. A multipronged approach is necessary to respond to the environmental problems that cities create. These will ultimately devolve to community or local levels, opening up opportunities for community development workers to shift discourses toward sustainability and resilience if they are well-informed and act knowledgeably. Change can often be initiated in local, small-scale communities where individuals and groups can interact with each other and explain the advantages and disadvantages of particular forms of action to each other face-to-face. In one initiative in Stockholm, Sweden, for example, a number of companies having large numbers of computers have come together in partnership with a local government agency Fortum Värme to form Stockholm Data Parks. This project collects heat generated by computers when in use, and this energy is being utilized to heat homes. The venture is expected to generate 10% of Stockholm’s heating needs by 2035 (Ceurstemont 2017) and can easily spread from one community to another. Green social workers could assist in ensuring that communities become aware of such possibilities and are given a chance to contribute to and engage with such schemes and hold those developing them accountable. They can also build consciousness of the environmental benefits that cities can also provide in some circumstances, e.g., protecting some species from extinction through green corridors that run alongside roads (Scarborough 2008). Social workers can mobilize communities around such ventures and other more well-known green initiatives such as promoting urban community gardens and rooftop gardens to green a city. Given the anticipated rapid urbanization of many existing rural areas, issues of disease, disposing of wastewater, flooding, droughts, shortages of potable water, and rising levels of energy consumption are all factors that are likely to increase vulnerabilities among people and other living beings within urban settings. Governments will find that they cannot rapidly construct sufficient built infrastructures including housing, education and health facilities, and water, energy, transportation, and communication systems in order to cope with the demands of large numbers of people moving from rural areas into cities in search of work (Yao et al. 2004). Inadequate responses are likely to exacerbate existing social inequalities and the differentiated deleterious impact of disasters on women, children, older people, and disabled people (Dominelli 2012). Addressing these issues requires a holistic approach involving all stakeholders, some of whom will have vested interests in maintaining the status quo, especially if bottom lines on ledger sheets are affected. Green social workers or green community development workers have much to contribute to addressing these concerns, because green social work (Dominelli 2012) has a holistic, integrated approach to bringing environmental justice into social justice and ensuring that people and governments enact their “duty to care” for all peoples, animals, plants, and planet earth itself. China is the country that is facing the largest internal movement of people as huge numbers of people leave the countryside for the allure of the city with its promise of jobs, wealth, culture, and excitement. The reality is often different, not least because if someone does not get permission to change their place of residence through the

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houkou system of government registration, they are not entitled to social resources such as housing, education, and health services (Yao et al. 2004). There are currently about 277.5 million rural migrants in Chinese cities (Chan and Li 2016), and they have placed great pressure on city resources, especially the built infrastructure including residential dwellings, schools, and transportation (Yang 1999; Yao et al. 2004). The growth of megacities and gigantic leaps in industrialization have produced air, soil, and water pollution that has reached critical levels and promoted the central government to consider renewal energy and other steps to clean up the air, including requiring cars to take turns in staying off the roads. However, this reality reveals the limits to industrialization that treats the environment as a means to an end – achieving modernity without respecting mother earth and the bounty it provides. Such stresses are likely to intensify as other countries seek to industrialize to eliminate poverty. India provides another example of a country with a rapidly expanding population and urgent industrialization objectives to reduce poverty and catch-up and take its proper place in international governance structures. There is no question that poverty must be eradicated. The issue is one of whether large-scale models of development such as those advocated in the West are better than smallscale local initiatives. The question has to be considered locally and local solutions found to promote the enhancement of people’s lives without costing the earth and access the green technological developments that are available to help them in achieving their goals. Community development can begin such discussions with rural populations and offer a more realistic appraisal about what can actually be achieved in the city and what type of local development might be better suited to meeting their needs. Green social work (Dominelli 2012) offers community development workers an important tool for addressing these issues. I developed green social work to critique environmental and ecological social work for failing to consider industrial models of urbanization as part of the problem to be addressed in responding to urban challenges. I define green social work as: a form of holistic professional social work practice that focuses on the: interdependencies amongst people; the social organisation of relationships between people and the flora and fauna in their physical habitats; and the interactions between socio-economic and physical environmental crises and interpersonal behaviours that undermine the well-being of human beings and planet earth. It proposes to address these issues by arguing for a profound transformation in how people conceptualise the social basis of their society, their relationships with each other, living things and the inanimate world. (Dominelli 2012, p. 25)

The green social work perspective ensures that the interdependencies that exist between people and all living and inanimate beings are acknowledged, respected, and brought to the discussion table for action alongside arguments for an equitable distribution of the earth’s resources. Moreover, green social work argues for a transdisciplinary approach that brings together natural scientists ranging from geologists to engineers and social scientists from economists to sociologists, artists, and local residents to coproduce innovative solutions to these substantial and difficult challenges. Other things that can be done include searching for innovative solutions

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already in the public domain. One example could be to use permeable pavements that can collect and filter waste and runoff water and recycle the clean end product. Some firms, e.g., Taiwan Din Tai Co., Ltd., are claiming that they can purify water of vehicle-emitted pollutants to assist in smog control and produce clean water. But such firms seldom talk to social workers and even more rarely enlist their help in cleaning up the urban environment and mitigating disasters including flooding and drought conditions. There is much work to do on all sides to facilitate such discussions and initiate partnership working on these issues.

The Case Against Hyper-Urbanization There are many signs that hyper-urbanization and patterns of overconsumption promoted by multinational global corporations have impacted badly on the environment. For example, glacial melt and rising sea levels have opened the northern sea route to shipping, which will increase water pollution in the Arctic, and the additional emissions produced by the ships that will use such waterways will exacerbate existing deleterious oceanic trends. Such developments have recently meant that the Christophe de Margerie, a Sovcomflot vessel, was able to cut through thinning sea ice to travel from Norway to South Korea in 19 days – a record time, compared to 31 days going via the Suez Canal. And, in a capitalist system, time is money. So, saving time produces financial savings for global corporations, but what are the costs for the others, including the environment? Green social workers can help address such questions by mobilizing communities to (a) ask environmental questions; (b) hold decision-makers accountable for the damage they cause to the environment; and (c) engage with multiple stakeholders to resolve any challenges that the community identifies and promote sustainability. In other instances, city life is becoming more precarious for many. For example, in New Delhi, India, eight people per day are dying from air pollution. According to Climate Weekly (2017; WHO 2018), much of this is driven by the use of a petroleum derivative, petcoke, which is highly toxic, emits more CO2 than coal, and contains sulfur which discharges high levels of sulfur dioxide and harmful particles into the atmosphere resulting in measurements of 72,000 ppm (parts per million), way in excess of the 4,000 ppm thought safe by city officials. Most of India’s petcoke comes from the USA, which previously exported much of it to China. Both countries are reducing their consumption, and so US refiners are looking for alternative markets. Meanwhile, Japan’s import of petcoke is continuing at its usual levels. From a green social work perspective, the burning of such petroleum derivatives should be banned for the harm they do to people, plants, animals, and the physical environment. Additionally, it asks how public health issues can rise further up the resilience agenda by becoming defined as social issues rather than an individual concern as an item of health to be consumed, experienced, and protected by a specific person. Schumacher’s (1973) “small is beautiful” approach is relevant in reducing today’s hyper-urbanization. His stance against overconsumption, which he deems the end point of capitalist development or modern economics, endorses the view that small,

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aesthetic places are best for people to live in. Schumacher (1973, p. 79) advocates “production by the masses over mass production” and entreats people to undertake “the conscious utilisation of our enormous technological and scientific potential for the fight against misery and human degradation. . . in intimate contact with actual people, with individuals, families, small groups, rather than states and other anonymous abstractions.” Thus, he would see megacities as anathema to the development of a just, comprehensibly inclusive society. Bangladesh is a disaster-prone country, especially with regard to flooding and higher sea levels. The country has seen Dhaka’s population rise to 19 million over the past 20 years. Ponds, canals, and other sources of natural drainage have been concreted over in the process, adding to the likelihood of flooding. Slums are becoming an accepted adjunct of city life. Between 1997 and 2014, the number of slum dwellers surviving on the edges of cities like Dhaka rose to 2.2 million (BDNEWS 2015). They were driven by flooding following cyclones, which are increasing in frequency, and sea level rises as well as the usual attractions of city life, especially jobs. The numbers living in slums show that the allure of the city is a mirage for many. Yet, if sea levels rise to the projected 1 meter this century, Bangladesh will have about 30 million internally generated “climate migrants.” Climate migrants have no protection under international law. Moreover, other sources of migration are also likely to contribute to these figures. For example, at the time of writing, a million Rohingya refugees have escaped from violence in Myanmar to safety in Bangladesh, stretching the scarce resources of this disasterprone country further (UNHCR 2017). Other issues include the substantial growth in the global population, which the United Nations (UN) estimates will reach 9.7 billion by 2050 (DESA 2015). This will be accompanied by a growing and more affluent middle class that will demand more consumption goods and is more likely to live in cities. Current estimates are that rapid urbanization will bring in more than one billion new residents to the world’s cities in the foreseeable future (Ritchie and Rosser 2018). While there is a danger that such discussions can assume a Malthusian or eugenicist orientation, this risk should not foreclose discussions about how to best cater for a globally expanding population and engage in the more equitable distribution of resources than has been the case hitherto. Green social workers who seek to be inclusive and facilitative of dialogue have an important role to play in creating safe spaces for such difficult matters to be considered. The hyper-urbanization of cityscapes must not continue unchallenged.

Green Initiatives for Sustainable Cities: Sites for Social Work Involvement A global development facility was established during the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to address environmental issues by encouraging groups and organizations to form partnerships for this purpose. This initiative aimed to bring together multiple stakeholders including the public sector to innovate around sustainable development and

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partnership formation. It aimed to reduce fragmentation by engaging participants in more strategic thinking about eliminating the drivers of environmental degradation, not just its effects. Complex issues need to be addressed in an integrated manner that includes the reform of land use systems and food production systems, both of which reduce biodiversity, can be a starting point for collaboration that transforms how land is used and what is grown on it. Agriculture, including the use of herbicides and pesticides, especially in urban gardens has a damaging effect on water tables and soil health. Of course, the impact is much greater in rural areas where agribusinesses often operate with scant regard for the environmental degradation, soil erosion, and loss of biodiversity that such products can cause. For rural inhabitants, the question of how to feed city dwellers is critical and cannot be ignored. But agribusinesses that ignore environmental concerns cannot proceed unless they address all potential environmental impacts and convince local people that they have done so. Again, community development workers with green perspectives can assist in this task. Social workers have a history of becoming involved in greening the city. Their endeavors have included promoting allotments, building city gardens, turning car parks into farming areas, creating rooftop gardens, recycling waste, and otherwise caring for the environment. For example, over a century ago, Jane Addams convinced the residents in East Side, Chicago, to collect and recycle waste and see it as a source of income generation, especially for children (Kennedy 2018). The World Wildlife Fund and the World Urban Forum are two initiatives aimed at greening the city. They offer opportunities for social workers/community development workers to play significant roles in mobilizing local communities in favor of sustainable urbanization and the protection of green spaces. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is an NGO originally concerned with the natural habitat, which now has acquired a strong commitment to the development of sustainable cities through a program called the One Planet City Challenge. The Challenge currently covers 320 cities in 20 countries. Its precursor was the Earth Hour City Challenge, which aimed to get cities to reduce electrical energy consumption for 1 h during a particular day, usually toward the end of March. In 2017, about 178 countries participated in this event. One Planet Cities are encouraged to develop holistic plans for tackling climate change and using renewable energy. Accepting the reality that there is only one planet with limited resources that have to share equitably and inclusively, the WWF asks people to acknowledge that the earth needs to be protected. WWF’s program also seeks to facilitate cities’ transitioning from exploiting and degrading the earth environment to developing a future that is harmonious with nature by protecting biodiversity, creating green spaces, using renewable resources, reducing pollution, and avoiding wasteful consumption. The World Urban Forum (WUF) is a multilateral agency that has developed a New Urban Agenda to promote the building of better cities so that they can act as drivers of prosperity, cultural and social well-being, and environmental sustainability, including offering guidance for realizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities) (UNDP 2015 source). WUF works closely with UN-Habitat and has set itself the following key outcomes: raising awareness about sustainable urbanization; creating a platform

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to facilitate discussion among multiple stakeholders and organizations; enhancing collective knowledge; increasing collaboration and coordination among diverse players interested in sustainable development in cities; and helping to plan and implement local action. It claims a participatory, inclusive approach to spatial development so that food security, value chains, and markets are harnessed toward sustainable economic growth that eliminates poverty and provides decent work for all. These are goals that social workers, particularly green ones, would endorse. These similarities make it crucial that community development workers begin to engage with WUF as professionals and not simply rely on individual practitioners becoming WUF members. Green social workers ought to target conferences where they can present their work on the environment and create alliances with those who have long-standing commitments and experience of addressing such anxieties. Such interventions can also assist in highlighting the profile of social work in green initiatives. Other cities, e.g., Bangkok, try to generate energy from footfalls (walking) and use remote management devices and the Internet to cut back on energy use (Scott 2013). Other initiatives include the use of depolluting paint based on a photocatalysis of titanium dioxide which can be activated in the presence of oxygen and moisture to produce free radicals that can degrade nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide in the air. Cooling with paint that can absorb heat and transmit the ensuing heat for use in other purposes is also possible (Service 2018). Such ventures can reduce emissions from motor vehicles and other human activities, although this particular photocatalytic reaction can reduce paint durability. Known as chalking, the oxidization of paint is a process that can be reduced by having an inorganic film over the paint. However, this begs the question of whether such technologically driven solutions are creating more problems than they solve. Should humanity not be seeking safe ways of providing heating, lighting, and transportation that are compatible with life on the planet, sustainable livelihoods, and resilient, enduring communities that encompass the physical environment within their remit, rather than going for technological fixes first? Getting the right balance between diverse equations of harm and benefit requires transdisciplinary approaches, whereby expertise is shared among multiple disciplines seeking to achieve a common goal, in this case one of creating liveable cities that do not stress the environment and living things. Some companies have realized that they can use solid waste management practices to produce biogas fuel, which is a source of income and reduces reliance on fossil fuel. Green community development workers can hold such firms to account by monitoring health outcomes among those living in near proximity to the plant and the “waste” it produces or discharges into the environment. Other companies are thinking of how to manage projects and implement environmental improvements at the same time, such as constructing civic buildings that protect their bottom line while contributing some sustainable elements such as planting trees. For example, in Brazil, a company is planting trees in a park in Fortaleza, the capital city of Ceará province, and reducing waste during their construction processes to make profits and provide sustainable housing construction (Moro and Westerkamp 2011). Some

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businesses are keen to become climate activists because this helps with their bottom line. The realization that renewable energy production is a source of income and can generate substantial profits has become an argument used by environmental activists trying to convince entrepreneurs that “business as usual” is a dire substitute for moving into alternative, more sustainable pathways for generating income and livelihoods. These are queries that green social workers should assist people to address locally; though so far I have highlighted more ambitious schemes for green social work action, most of their activities are small scale and local, as I describe below. The global challenge to the global commons is of great concern. The risks associated with the development of open, public spaces appear to be escalating out of control. This means that “business as usual” is not an acceptable approach to their continued existence. Transformative system change is needed, and green social workers need to be involved in protecting and advocating for the global commons. Crucial questions here are who has access to these commons and how? How are costs covered? Realizing women’s capacity to earn an income and make decisions about what constitutes a healthy city for human and other life is another area that green social workers can promote at a global level. In this, they can work with banks, entrepreneurs, and other financial institutions to provide credit for women to facilitate capacity building, improve living conditions for communities, and lift people out of poverty. This would also enable green social workers to contribute toward the fulfillment of a number of SDGs including SDG1, ending poverty; SDG5, gender equality; and, SDG11, sustainable cities and communities. There are 17 SDGs, all of which offer opportunities for green social work engagement and range from ending hunger to living in peace globally.

Community Initiatives in an Urban Cityscape I have highlighted more ambitious schemes for green social work action in the previous section. However, most of their activities are small scale and local as I describe in the two subsections within this section. Green community and social development practitioners are keenly aware of the disadvantages of hyper-urbanization and the imperative of addressing environmental issues, especially at the level of the neighborhood or similar locales. Many of their endeavors aim at greening the city, and these ventures are small scale and replicable, e.g., allotment or rooftop gardens, renewable energy sources for household equipment and consumption, sustainable livelihood initiatives, and recycling schemes. These usually seek to utilize local resources, curtail consumption of goods with large carbon footprints and green car parks, and produce goods and services that are coproduced with local residents. Two schemes that can involve social work practitioners in greening the city are recycling and using renewable energy sources for household equipment and consumption. These draw on practitioners’ transferable skills of mobilizing

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communities around issues of concern to them and coordinating people and resources to achieve specific objectives. The patterns of utilizing goods and services under modernity emphasize overconsumption such as obtaining the latest gadgets, built-in obsolescence, and dumping unwanted goods in landfill sites. Attempts to engage people in recycling initiatives are not new. Jane Addams, a founding mother of the profession, engaged women and children to recycle materials in Chicago, thereby providing children with an independent source of income (Kennedy 2018). The two case studies that follow describe small-scale community initiatives that had important effects.

Case Study #1: Recycling Materials and Equipment Howard (fictitious name) was an experienced community development worker in an urban neighborhood estate of 6,000 inhabitants. He was concerned about the broken bottles which littered pathways, the local park, and the derelict land left by businesses that had relocated in other countries where cheap labor and lax labor laws were plentiful. These latter locations provided sites for substance abuse, discarded syringes, and other signs that meant that people feared for their safety and refused to enter them. These issues kept coming up in community meetings, but none of the local people seemed able to organize residents into doing anything about it. Howard decided it was time for him to intervene, and so he called a community meeting with the aim of establishing a community task force that would engage residents in street-by-street discussions on how to clean up their specific area and encourage recycling of bottles, furniture, and small electrical goods that were being dumped on pavements and derelict lots. Howard saw his role as one of facilitating discussion and helping residents to achieve their goals. In one of these street-bystreet meetings, a resident suggested that they establish a workshop that could repair and recycle furniture and electrical goods and make these available cheaply for purchase to avoid their joining others in the landfill graveyard. People endorsed this idea, and several retired electricians and engineers agreed to train young people in the relevant skills for free, and a carpenter committed to training young people in restoring and building furniture. This was seen as providing income generation and social engagement activities for young people, as well. A group of women and young people said they would organize a cleanup campaign to deal with the broken bottles. Moreover, they also said they would encourage the local police to enforce the anti-litter laws and levy immediate fines on transgressors. And, they committed to involving local people in local cleanup campaigns. Howard was pleased with these outcomes and said he would monitor progress and give monthly reports that would highlight how much carbon dioxide these initiatives had saved from being spewed out into the atmosphere by not requiring new consumer goods. These initiatives proceeded well. Shortly afterward, a group of women started to grow vegetables on what had become disused allotments. Within a year, they set up a cooperative to sell excess vegetables, and then they formed a baking group that made savories which they sold through the cooperative. News of the new look to the estate traveled across the city,

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and soon people from outside the area came to see for themselves what regeneration had occurred and bought local produce. Eventually the savories became favorites, and the cooperative had to consider whether or not it would expand its activities.

Case Study #2: Renewable Energy to Reduce Fossil Fuel Consumption Solitayre (fictitious name), a newly qualified social worker, lived in a rapidly industrializing city which had modern apartments with the latest conveniences for those with money and poor houses that relied on burning wood and dung in courtyards to boil water to cook food and brassieres to warm up houses. Air pollution both indoor and outdoor was high, and a number of people, especially frail elders and young children with respiratory ailments, died each year in this neighborhood. Solitayre was keen to do something about this problem. She had tried to advocate for medical treatment for sick people as part of her job, but usually this was too late for considerable improvements in their health status. Moreover, she was aware that this was tinkering at the edges, because many other people had mild (at this point) respiratory problems which included regular bouts of bronchitis, sneezing, wheezing, runny eyes, and other symptoms which indicated that health needs were being disregarded, an issue that was not helped by the lack of health professionals and access to local medical services. She felt that a more radical solution was needed, but had no idea what this might be. A chance discussion with an engineering student, Tom (fictitious name), who lived in the poor neighborhood, suggested that trying to find funding for renewable energy sources might be a more effective solution. Tom suggested that if Solitayre would organize the meetings where there could be an exhibition of renewable energy gadgets such as wind turbines and solar panels to explain different options to residents, he would organize this and bring relevant equipment and people to help him. Tom and Sally proceeded to realize this ambitious plan and had a number of roving exhibitions which got people talking about renewables – an area that had been a black box to them. Children were encouraged to play games on smart meters that showed them how much electricity they used to boil a cup of water, and young people rode energy-producing bicycles which showed how much a person needed to pedal to light a lightbulb. Women cooked rice on a solar-powered stove. Water that had been heated by solar panels enabled men to enjoy hot water baths after a hard day working at a local mine. After about 6 months, people held a community meeting in which they decided that given what they had learnt about renewables, and that they enjoyed plenty of sunshine, they would opt for solar- powered heating, lighting, and stoves. However, most of them did not have enough money to purchase these gadgets. So Solitayre and Tom approached several NGOs to explore whether any could provide funds to purchase these outright or get a substantial subsidy so that the equipment would become inexpensive enough for people to buy for themselves. These took an inordinately long time, but eventually, all the people in the neighborhood had access to renewable solar-powered equipment, and the air became noticeably cleaner and their respiratory health improved.

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Conclusions The examples considered above are small scale and not earth-shattering. However, they demonstrate that greening the city is a relevant issue for green social workers to pursue and that their plans can range from the ambitious and innovative to more small-scale, achievable projects that can improve lives and the environment at the level of community. With regard to city living and hyper-urbanization, this chapter has shown that these two trends have many negative dimensions that cannot be ignored. It suggests that how each human being lives, produces, and consumes needs rethinking to develop more humane and urbanization strategies and sustainable city living. Given the enormous resource intensity of megacities, the issue is particularly pertinent today and offers social workers a perspective from which they can engage in solving intractable contemporary social problems: green social work. Community development workers, take note. Community practices in the environmental arena and greening the city are important areas of intervention now and in the future.

Cross-References ▶ Environmental Injustices Faced by Resettled Refugees ▶ From Development to Poverty Alleviation and the Not-So-Sustainable Sustainable Development ▶ Social Work and Environmental Advocacy

References BDNEWS (2015) Number of slum dwellers in Bangladesh increases by 60.43 percent in 17 years. BDNEWS.com. https://bdnews24.com/bangladesh/2015/06/29/number-of-slum-dwellers-inbangladesh-increases-by-60.43-percent-in-17-years. Accessed 3 May 2016 Ceurstemont S (2017) The mosque that powers a village. BBC News. http://www.bbc.com/future/ story/20170927-can-a-place-of-worship-power-a-village. Accessed 15 Nov 2017 Chan KW, Li Z (2016) Chinese workers and their children. China Labour Bulletin. http://www.clb. org.hk/content/migrant-workers-and-their-children. Accessed 20 Nov 2017 Climate Weekly (2017) Petcoke: a looming public health threat. 29 September, p 10 DESA (UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs) (2015) World population projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050. https://www.un.org/en/development/desa/news/population/2015report.html. Accessed 8 Apr 2016 Dominelli L (2012) Green social work: from environmental degradation to environmental justice. Polity Press, Cambridge Grimm N, Faeth S, Golubiewski N, Redman C, Wu J, Bai X, Briggs J (2008) Global change and the ecology of cities. Science 319:756–760 IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) (2014) Climate change, 2014: synthesis report. https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/05/SYR_AR5_FINAL_full_wcover.pdf. Accessed 2 Jan 2015 Kennedy E (2018) Historical trends in calls to action: climate change, pro-environmental behaviours and green social work. In: Dominelli L (ed) The Routledge handbook of green social work. Routledge, London, pp 409–419

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Moro M, Westerkamp C (2011) The alien street trees of Fortaleza (NE Brazil): qualitative observations and the inventory of two districts. http://www.bioline.org.br/pdf?cf11077. Accessed 16 Feb 2015 Ritchie H, Rosser M (2018) Urbanization. https://ourworldindata.org/urbanization. Accessed 29 Dec 2018 Scarborough V (2008) Rate and process of societal change in semitropical settings: the ancient Maya and the living Balinese. Quaternary International 184(1):24–40 Schumacher EF (1973) Small is beautiful: economics as if people mattered. Blond and Briggs, London Scott M (2013) The power of footfall: how cities of the future will harness energy. The Guardian, 23 October. https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/footfall-cities-future-harnessenergy. Accessed 21 Nov 2015 Service R (2018) Cooling paint drops the temperature of any surface. Science, 27 September. https:// www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/09/cooling-paint-drops-temperature-any-surface. Accessed 3 Nov 2018 UN Habitat (2016) The slum almanac 2015–2016. https://unhabitat.org/slum-almanac-2015-2016/. Accessed 29 Dec 2017 UNDP (UN Development Programme) (2015) The Sustainable Development Goals. https://www. undp.org/content/undp/en/home/sustainable-development-goals.html. Accessed 21 Nov 2016 UNHCR (UN Humanitarian Aid Agency) (2017) Bangladesh Rohingya Emergency. https://www. unhcr.org/ph/campaigns/rohingya-emergency. Accessed 28 Dec 2017 United Nations (UN) (2016) The world’s cities. United Nations, New York WHO (World Health Organisation) (2018) World Health Organisation report on air pollution, 2017. Summary available on https://www.vox.com/2018/5/8/17316978/india-pollution-levels-airdelhi-health. Accessed 12 Mar 2018 Yang DT (1999) Urban-biased policies and rising income inequality in China. Am Econ Rev 89:306–310 Yao S, Zhang Z, Hanmer L (2004) Growing inequality and poverty in China. China Econ Rev 15:145–163

Disaster Response Through Community Practice

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A Social Work Perspective Robin L. Ersing

Contents Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Disaster Social Work and Community Practice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Community Vulnerability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Adaptive Capacity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Collective Efficacy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Social Work and the “Whole Community” Approach to Disaster Resilience . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Identify Assets to Reduce Vulnerability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Organize Community Assets to Promote Adaptive Capacity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Utilize Assets to Empower Collective Action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cross-References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Abstract

The social work profession has a long history aiding in disaster response and recovery. Interventions span several modalities including work with individuals, groups, and communities. Since 2005 and the catastrophic impact of Hurricane Katrina on the city of New Orleans and the adjacent Gulf Coast region, the role of social work has gained increased attention in the literature, particularly at the macrolevel through community capacity building and asset development. This chapter examines dimensions of disaster social work through the lens of macropractice in order to promote community resilience in recovery. Community-based disaster social work is discussed within the context of a “whole community” philosophy to reduce vulnerability and mitigate disaster risk. A common denominator between these approaches is the interconnection between people and place, R. L. Ersing (*) School of Public Affairs, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 S. Todd, J. L. Drolet (eds.), Community Practice and Social Development in Social Work, Social Work, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-6969-8_11

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which encourages a sense of community. Attention is given to the key concepts of community vulnerability, adaptive capacity, and collective efficacy and their relationship to macrointerventions in disaster social work. Keywords

Community resilience · Disaster recovery · Hazard mitigation · Adaptive capacity · Community social work

Introduction Community social work practice in the realm of natural hazards continues to evolve despite a long history of the profession intervening in the area of disaster relief and recovery (Zakour 1996). Arguably, the role of professional social work in disaster response is often thought of as clinically oriented to address mental and behavioral health needs of individuals due to trauma and grief resulting from the event. Although clinical social work intervention remains vital to the recovery of those impacted by a disaster or extreme crisis, the concept of community social work practice in contrast encompasses both predisaster planning as well as postdisaster recovery. In this regard, a framework is proposed to capture the perspective of disaster related community social work emanating from the concept of community resilience. Community resilience in hazards and disaster research literature has been defined in numerous ways including through individual, community, social, physical, and ecological perspectives (see Norris et al. 2008). The framework for this chapter seems most aligned with the definition of community resilience provided by Norris et al. (2008) which asserts resilience as “a process linking a set of adaptive capacities to a positive trajectory of functioning and adaptation after a disturbance” (p. 130). This definition links resources to outcomes which affirm the community social work perspective of disaster response in this chapter. Community resilience defined in this way emphasizes a process that requires the identification and application assets or resources through a collective action to achieve a successful recovery. To further the framework of disaster social work from a community practice perspective, three constructs are presented in this chapter which are found in the hazards literature: community vulnerability, adaptive capacity, and collective efficacy. Arguably each is recognized as a component relevant to community resilience. Vulnerability refers to characteristics that raise the potential for harm (Kapucu 2012), while adaptive capacity refers to needed knowledge and skills to promote recovery (UNISDR 2005) and counter disaster risk. Collective efficacy, as an extension of social capital, examines how communities work together to activate and apply local assets and resources (Babcicky and Seebauer 2019) and support resilience postdisaster. Finally, the framework of social work community practice in disasters is integrated with two important documents from the Federal Emergency Management

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Agency (FEMA 2011, 2018). Over time, FEMA has evolved its view on emergency management as resources have become more limited and the deleterious impacts of disasters have increased with regard to human casualties and property loss. According to Smith (2018), in calendar year 2018 alone the USA experienced 14 distinct billion-dollar disasters. These hazards included hurricanes, wild fires, tropical, and winter storms. The culprit for these costly weather events is attributed to increased exposure, vulnerability, and climate change. In 2011, then FEMA Director Craig Fugate, shared with the US Congress, “Government can and will continue to serve disaster survivors. However, we fully recognize that a government-centric approach to disaster management will not be enough to meet the challenges posed by a catastrophic incident” (FEMA 2011, p. 2). The community social work framework recognizes mutual goals with FEMA relevant to identifying and valuing local assets, building effective partnerships, and empowering community local action. Therefore, concepts from the Whole Community (FEMA 2011) and Culture of Preparedness (FEMA 2018) strategic models are discussed and linked to social work practice to promote community disaster resilience.

Disaster Social Work and Community Practice Social work in the United States has a strong tradition aiding in disaster response and recovery spanning three centuries from the late 1800s through present day. As Zakour (1996) points out, catastrophic events such as the Great Chicago Fire in 1871 and the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake as well as more recent devastating Category 5 strength hurricanes including Andrew in 1992, Katrina in 2005, and Michael in 2018 illustrate social work professionals in action immediately postdisaster and throughout the long-term recovery process. Disasters have been characterized through a social work lens as both “disruptions” (Streeter 1991) and “stressors” (McFarlane and Norris 2006), which upset conditions that promote a healthy environment including the daily functioning of individuals, communities, and larger systems. Specifically, this ecological perspective emphasizes the damage done to exchanges between person and environment as a result of the natural hazard. Social work professionals engaged in a community practice modality often use a two prong approach to first focus on ways to mitigate the threat of the hazard predisaster through decreasing vulnerability and second, to apply strategies during postdisaster recovery that further build capacity and increase levels of empowerment (Drolet 2019; Ersing and Kost 2012). Natural hazards are unique occurrences, and the resulting impact on a geographic community can vary depending on the scope of the event including the speed of onset, intensity, and duration. The term geographic community is used here to refer to a spatial area such as a neighborhood, census tract, city, or county. Social work practice at a community-level is often carried out in such geographically defined places. The impact of a natural hazard can manifest through a disruption to the physical, social, psychological, economic, and political functioning of a geographic place and the people who live and work in that place (Wisner et al. 2003). For

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example, a community exposed to a hazard that is more limited in scope might experience fewer disruptions in daily functioning and therefore require only minimal resources to recover. In contrast, an area that experiences a highly intense large scale hazard (e.g., landfall of a Category 3 or higher hurricane) is more likely to have a protracted recovery period requiring long-term resources to rebuild the physical infrastructure (e.g., housing, businesses) and address damage to the social and economic fabric of the community. In addition to the dimensions of a natural hazard, impact is also influenced by the level of predisaster functioning within the affected area along with availability and accessibility of local resources and supports to aid in recovery. This might include socio-economic demographics of the local population, characteristics of housing stock, presence of active social networks, and access to preparedness supplies (Lindell and Prater 2003). Social work is concerned with the psychosocial dimensions of human functioning that can bolster our ability to recover from a stressful event. Along with the provision of mental health oriented services to aid those experiencing symptoms of trauma and grief, social work professionals also draw on individual and collective strengths and mutual support survivors offer each other (Miller 2012). A social-ecological perspective of disasters provides a context for understanding the disruptions between person and environment attributed to the impact of a natural hazard. Social work interventions at a macrolevel can be directed at social, economic, and environmental factors to support the capacity of communities to recover, rebuild, and restore their way of life (Ersing 2019). This includes the organization and distribution of needed resources and supplies such as food, clothing, health care, and safe temporary housing along with assistance navigating social service systems. Social work is among the disciplines with practitioners trained in response and recovery and deployed to aid in the aftermath of a natural or man-made hazard. What makes disaster social work stand apart from other helping professions is the tradition to practice not only at a direct level with individuals and families, but also at a macrolevel with larger systems such as organizations and communities. While research continues to emerge to shape our understanding of the dynamics of disaster vulnerability and resilience within communities, disaster social work offers community-level interventions that emphasize both reduction of risk and vulnerability to a hazard and the ability to effectively recover postdisaster. According to Zakour (1996), “Social workers have important and unique contributions to make to disaster research through their expertise in ecological approaches, prevention, stress and coping, and promoting change in micro and macro systems” (p. 1). Indeed, the term disaster social work continues to gain notable attention in the professional literature particularly since 2005 and the catastrophic events from Hurricane Katrina and its long term impact on the southern Gulf Coast region of the USA (Gillespie and Danso 2010). The mission of social work aligns with disaster response and recovery through a focus on caring for vulnerable populations and ensuring the availability and accessibility of resources (Zakour 1996). Accordingly, the practice of disaster social work continues to gain visibility as the profession plays an important role through advocacy to change policies, promote social justice, and improve systems to

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be more responsive to the needs of marginalized communities negatively impacted by a disaster. In this regard, empowerment is a key value in carrying out disaster social work interventions (Miller 2012; Rajeev 2014). As part of the frame to discuss disaster social work using a community practice perspective, three constructs are presented from the hazards literature: community vulnerability, adaptive capacity, and collective efficacy.

Community Vulnerability The term vulnerability is often used to conceptualize the potential threat of risk posed by a natural hazard (Paton and Johnston 2001; Zakour and Gillespie 2013). Interest in understanding the role of vulnerability to reduce loss and increase recovery in the face of a natural disaster gained significant attention in the literature after 2005 when Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast region, particularly the city of New Orleans (Paton and Johnston 2006; Zakour and Gillespie 2013). In the field of hazards, the construct disaster vulnerability is broadly used to encompass the “circumstances of a community, system or asset that make it susceptible to the damaging effects of a hazard” (UNISDR 2005, p. 1). Wisner et al. (2003) define disaster vulnerability as the “characteristics of a person or group and their situation that influence their capacity to anticipate, cope with, resist and recover from the impact of a natural hazard” (p. 11). Cutter et al. (2008) view disaster vulnerability as the “characteristics or qualities of social systems that create the potential for harm” (p. 599). Social work practice draws on disaster vulnerability theory to examine the structure and function of community systems and understand factors that increase disaster risk and hinder the ability to be resilient. Indeed, work in this area points to systemic conditions which challenge the healthy functioning of a community prior to the occurrence of a hazard as a significant contributor to the resulting loss and destruction (Zakour and Gillespie 2013). Disaster vulnerability theory is frequently used to identify population subgroups and/or geographic areas that have become marginalized from the larger community thereby increasing the threat of risk. This socio-ecological perspective includes factors believed to influence the threshold of a community to the threat of a natural hazard. Four of these factors include social, economic, physical, and ecological vulnerability. The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction [UNISDR] (2005) suggests that the threat of disaster risk increases within a community when social, economic, and environmental systems are weak and therefore susceptible to the impact of a natural hazard. The four vulnerability factors are presented below. Social Vulnerability. Studies examining aspects of social vulnerability have found women, children and the elderly (Enarson 1999); low-income households (Fothergill and Peek 2004); those with limited education or English proficiency (Drolet et al. 2018); and persons with health or mental health disabilities (Bethel et al. 2011) to be most vulnerable to a disaster. Likewise, rural communities along with impoverished under-resourced inner city neighborhoods show increased vulnerability (Cutter et al.

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2016). Social vulnerability reflects an important social work lens to frame the heightened risk to a community resulting from the impact of a natural hazard (Pine 2009). Disparities relevant to age, gender, race, and culture are often viewed as key socio-demographic variables that influence susceptibility and exposure to risk during an extreme event (Morrow 1999). For example, children and the elderly (La Greca 2001; Ngo 2001) are thought to be particularly susceptible, as are women (Enarson 1998). African American and Latino populations are generally thought to experience greater hardships resulting from longstanding issues of racial and cultural inequality (Cutter et al. 2006; Perry and Lindell 1991). Economic Vulnerability. Economic indicators of vulnerability address losses to a community resulting from the impact of a natural hazard. Among these losses are affordable housing, employment, and transportation, resulting in increased costs to households. This is especially the case for those with low wage employment or living below the poverty line. In this case, economic disparity that exists prior to a disaster is only exacerbated, conspiring to compromise a family’s recovery postdisaster (Pine 2009; Wisner et al. 2003). The economic toll of a disaster is also felt by the business sector with local vendors often finding it difficult or impossible to rebuild and re-open. The inability to financially continue a business is an added vulnerability to both the overall stability of the community as well as residents who depended on employment (Lindell and Prater 2003). Physical Vulnerability. Indicators of physical vulnerability within a community include issues of injustice and inequity relevant to both the geo-physical setting as well as the built or constructed setting that is impacted by a natural hazard. The geographic location of a community and its subpopulations can increase the threat of risk to a disaster and the ability to recover (Enarson 1999; Masozera et al. 2007). Land deemed less valuable may expose residents to unhealthy conditions including poor drainage systems and flooding. For example, in Superstorm Sandy in 2012 roughly one-third of flooded census tracts in New York City recorded a poverty rate of 20% or higher (Faber 2015). With regard to Hurricane Katrina and the city of New Orleans, Logan (2006) reported similar findings with nearly 30% of people in areas with moderate or severe damages were living in poverty. Likewise, the quality of the built environment may decline as lower-come households lack the resources for regular maintenance or upgrades designed to mitigate climate related threats such as sustained high winds and rainfall, thereby adding to the level of vulnerability (Bernstein et al. 2006). The availability of affordable and disaster resilient housing poses a gender disparity with single female headed households most at risk (David and Enarson 2012; Enarson 1999). Ecological Vulnerability. Indicators of ecological vulnerability focus on the condition of natural resources and issues of both degradation and sustainability of the environment. Lack of access to clean drinking water, proper waste management, and sanitary surroundings free from pollutants and disease can expose communities to increased health risks postdisaster. This vulnerability was evident in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina impacted New Orleans (Todd 2006), and again in 2010 when Haiti experienced a devastating earthquake (Bassett 2010). Likewise, food security and the ability to access sustainable resources to meet nutritional needs is important

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to avoid forced migration of individuals and families in order to recover from the impact of a natural hazard (Ingram et al. 2006). Factors of ecological vulnerability also include concerns over climate change, sea-level rise, and scarcity of habitable land which all have the potential to threaten settlement space as well as the ability to reconstruct livelihoods postdisaster (Kein 2008). Besides assessing vulnerability as a method for understanding the potential to cope with a natural hazard, risk reduction models also assess capacities. This alternative approach emphasizes both internal and community-based strengths and assets that can be used to buffer the negative effects of a natural hazard.

Adaptive Capacity The concept of community resilience relates to how effectively a community is able to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a natural disaster (Holling 1973; Mayunga 2007). As stated previously, the ability to adapt is an important component in the process of promoting resilience postdisaster. Indeed, successful adaptation contributes to community resilience as a strategy to mitigate hazards through the application of personal and collective assets and resources (Manyena 2006). According to Whitney et al. (2017), “Adaptive capacity refers to the latent ability of a system to respond proactively and positively to stressors or opportunities” (p. 1). Adaptation can stem from new knowledge, coping skills, and connections that promote access to resources including untapped internal strengths as well as tangible services or goods. Social connections or networks formed both within and between communities are integral to building the capacity of individuals, groups, and organizations to achieve a level of predisaster functioning. The sense of community promoted through social networks helps to reduce social vulnerability and avoid a sense of isolation from others (Paton and Johnston 2001). Indeed, research examining the relationship between social ties and vulnerability to a natural hazard suggests that these networks can work to buffer or reduce the deleterious effects of a disaster and aid in rebuilding lives and communities postdisaster (Hawkins and Maurer 2010). Paton (2006) advances this concept of community resilience postdisaster through adaptation to an altered reality. He refers to the term “adaptive capacity” and identifies four interconnected components. First is the need of the community to supply resources necessary to ensure safety and the continuity of basic functions. Second is the use of competencies to mobilize and apply resources to solve problems and adjust to a new reality. Third is the need for a strategy or plan to capitalize on opportunities for growth presented through the changed environment. Fourth is to ensure the sustainability of competencies and resources over time to address ongoing changes in the community. Adaptive capacity draws on a strengths approach to empower communities as they work to mitigate a hazard by reducing indicators of risk and vulnerability. Although this area of research is still emerging, some studies suggest that the ability of a vulnerable group (e.g., women), to adapt to conditions posed by a disaster, can forge opportunities for social change. For example, Moreno and Shaw (2018) point

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to reduced gender inequity as women find new roles in grassroots leadership leading to broader social change. In other words, in order to adapt, one must be able to assess their personal strengths as well as the assets of their surrounding environment and develop a strategy for how to apply those assets to come through a hazard stronger and better off. Drolet et al. (2018) also found that adaptive capacity was an important factor in helping female migrant laborers after a series of hurricanes made landfall near their locale. The laborers were socially and economically marginalized from the larger community and lacked sufficient English proficiency to effectively communicate with local emergency management and disaster service organizations. Their ability to adapt resulted in an increased capacity to mobilize support networks which were used to gather and distribute supplies and food within their hidden population. This spontaneous effort further led to social change that reduced disparities in disaster management processes within the community. The ability to adapt and grow after exposure to a natural hazard does not occur by chance but instead requires an intentional commitment to develop both personal and social assets (Paton and Johnston 2001). Building the adaptive capacity of groups, organizations, and communities is an important aspect in disaster social work drawing on community-level practice strategies that emphasize the ecological perspective of person and place. Community practitioners are well suited to assess and intervene in social-ecological transactions within the context of postdisaster resilience. This is particularly salient to address issues of injustice and inequity throughout the recovery process (Tan and Yuen 2013). Accordingly, adaptive capacity can be thought of as a sustainable approach to empowerment that develops personal and social assets at the local grassroots level (Ersing 2012). In addition to the importance of capacity building, disaster social work also relies on community practice approaches that address predisaster mitigation as well as postdisaster recovery with an emphasis on creating systems change to promote resilience (Bauwens and Naturale 2017; Zakour 1996). This form of social action helps to empower local leadership.

Collective Efficacy The concept of collective efficacy is derived from the work of Bandura (1986) and the idea of human agency to manage situations. In his work, Bandura related collective efficacy to social action and the effort of a group to enlist resources in response to an external threat or demand. This shared response usually belies a set of mutual community values and norms that support engagement (Sampson 2004). Collective efficacy has a noted use in the research literature to examine issues of neighborhood crime and incivilities (Higgins and Hunt 2016; Sampson 2004). In general, collective efficacy refers to a level of social cohesion and trust within a community including an inclination to act on behalf of the greater good (Sampson et al. 1997). Collective efficacy acts as a bond that holds together the social fabric of a community including the norms and traditions residents embrace. Inherent to this idea of social cohesion is the extent to which neighbors get along and provide

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support to each other thereby building levels of trust, reliance, and cooperation (Higgins and Hunt 2016). In addition is the willingness of residents to take action and intervene in situations or behaviors that threaten or go against the accepted expectations established by the community (Ansari 2013). Collective efficacy aligns with the idea that successful disaster mitigation and recovery strategies are linked to increased levels of community engagement, cooperation, and active participation of stakeholders (Paton and Johnston 2001). As a form of social action, the focus is on creating structural changes in social systems to reduce disparity and promote more equitable access and distribution of resources. This approach aims to build or enhance resilient characteristics of communities and is evident in macrolevel disaster social work. For example, FEMA (2018) highlights the important role of citizen participation in creating a culture of preparedness, acknowledging that government institutions alone cannot carry out disaster response and recovery efforts. Massive disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires require a collective effort on the part of local communities to aid neighbors until trained first responders arrive. Indeed, emergency management employs the phrase, “all disasters are local,” to remind us that the National Response Framework (Homeland Security 2016) calls for a scalable, flexible, and adaptable model that begins at the community level. Collective efficacy, from a disaster social work perspective, expands the concept of social capital by considering how communities mobilize and activate social networks to provide resources at the local level that can aid in building resilience to a disaster (Babcicky and Seebauer 2017). The notion of social capital has been used across disciplines to understand the role of interpersonal ties and connections among individuals (bonding capital), social groups (bridging capital), and institutions (linking capital) to build levels of networks and leverage resources (Aldrich 2012; Putnam 2000). Bonding, bridging, and linking social capital have been examined in disaster affected communities to aid in collective efforts toward resilient recovery (Hawkins and Maurer 2010; Nakagawa and Shaw 2004). Social networks can be thought of as a tangible form of social capital, representing the formation of trusting ties between people and links to support systems that can help mitigate a disaster. Calling social capital into action is particularly salient for vulnerable groups threatened with the impact of a natural disaster. Collective efficacy in this form puts personal, group, and organizational assets and resources to use in order to begin the process of recovering from the impact of a natural hazard and attempting to achieve a renewed state of functioning as a community (Aldrich and Meyer 2015). The constructs of community vulnerability, adaptive capacity, and collective efficacy can be integrated into a theoretical orientation for social work community practice drawing on strengths-based theory (Saleebey 2002), community organization theory (Ross and Lappin 1967; Rothman 1979), and empowerment theory (Adams 2008; Rappaport 1981), respectively. Tenets of strengths-based theory in social work practice may counter the negative indicators of vulnerability and weakness through the lens of self-determination. Strengths are viewed in terms of skills, interests, and talents possessed by all individuals (Kretzmann and McKnight 1993).

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As such, individual and community assets can be used to promote resiliency against adversity (Saleebey 2002) and thus add support for a resourceful recovery in a postdisaster environment. Likewise, Rothman (1979) viewed community organization theory through the models of locality development, social planning, and social action with a common thread toward community building. Community organization theory in social work practice draws on principles that support the ability of a group brought together through shared space, interest, or concern, to work collaboratively and assess a problem, mobilize resources, and implement a strategy for change (Ross and Lappin 1967). This approach aids in disaster risk reduction through the development of adaptive capacity to promote hazard mitigation and preparedness planning. Finally, empowerment theory in social work community practice espouses the central belief of autonomy (Adams 2008). Indeed, advocating for change at both the individual and community levels is integral to overcome powerlessness and promote access to opportunities (Rappaport 1981). This is particularly the case for communities deemed to be marginalized and therefore deprived of their own authority and voice. Empowerment is important to mitigating hazard risk in socially and economically disadvantaged communities through collective efforts to generate grassroots leadership to advocate for policies and practices that promote disaster resilience (Drolet 2019). The theory of empowerment is important to populations at greatest risk of impact from a disaster yet often hidden from broader society including the poor (Kim 2012), elderly (Ngo 2001), immigrants (Drolet et al. 2018), and women and children (Enarson 1998). Collective action through empowered voices offers an opportunity to alter the consequences for these communities.

Social Work and the “Whole Community” Approach to Disaster Resilience In 2011, 6 years following the catastrophic destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina making landfall as a Category 5 storm along the Louisiana Gulf Coast, the federal government publicly released a new disaster management philosophy known as “Whole Community.” A year-long national dialogue, initiated by FEMA, was designed to learn from the experiences of communities as they prepared for and recovered from hazard events. The dialogue culminated in the development of Whole Community themes and “pathways for action” to promote local, state, and national resiliency (FEMA 2011, p. 2). At the time, FEMA leadership spoke to the US Congress about the need to move away from a government-centric approach to disaster management and instead embrace a model inclusive of all community stakeholders to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a hazard event (FEMA 2011). In other words, FEMA should be considered only one of many players in the realm of national emergency management. The broader collective must include partners at the federal, state, local, and tribal levels; along with nongovernmental organizations such as faith-based and nonprofit groups, as well as private industry. In addition, individuals, families, and communities are needed to contribute personal

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assets as citizen responders during a disaster (FEMA 2013). As a result, the Whole Community approach to national emergency management has shaped the strategies adopted by states, counties, and local governments to reduce hazard risk and promote resilient recovery across communities. A central goal of the Whole Community approach is to assess the unique characteristics and needs of communities and devise ways to “organize and strengthen their assets, capacities, and interests” (FEMA 2011, p. 3) in order to lessen vulnerability and better equip local communities to be resilient postdisaster. To achieve this, disaster plans should encourage the development of grassroots solutions that offer a variety of resources pertinent to a specific locale (FEMA 2011). Three key principles that underlie the Whole Community strategy seek to: (1) understand and meet the actual needs of the whole community; (2) engage and empower all parts of the community; and (3) strengthen what works well in communities on a daily basis (FEMA 2011, p. 4–5). Engagement of the community is woven across these principles, emphasizing the need to value diversity, strengthen local capacity, and empower local action. In this regard, the model of Whole Community fits with the social-ecological perspective of social work community practice. Indeed, community-based social workers are guided by the unique transactions between person and place and aim to apply a strengths-based approach to reduce disaster vulnerability through capacity building. Ultimately, disaster social work at the community-level strives for resilient recovery through grassroots empowerment. Also embedded within the Whole Community perspective are several strategic themes to guide implementation of the approach and create “pathways for action” (FEMA 2011, p. 5). FEMA uses the concept of pathways for action to recognize that a community-centric philosophy toward emergency management should embrace the distinctive socio-demographic, institutional, and cultural composition of communities and leverage respective assets to build grassroots capacity. In other words, pathways to action speak to the importance of being able to identify the unique strengths and challenges of every community; develop an array of services that best meet the needs for each community by incorporating their own assets; employ the capacity of every community to overcome local challenges through their own resourcefulness; tap social capital and networks to help every community bond locally as well as bridge partnerships with internal and external stakeholders; and embolden grassroots leadership through local action for change. FEMA further advanced its community-centric model of emergency management with their 2018–2022 strategic plan and a strategic goal to “Build a Culture of Preparedness” (FEMA 2018, p. 4). This latest plan emphasizes disaster resilience through self-reliance across individuals and their communities. In addition to preparedness, the plan also identifies goals of readying the Nation for catastrophic disasters and simplifying the bureaucratic complexity of FEMA and its programs. The idea of developing a broad Culture of Preparedness integrates well with community disaster social work and the objective of raising awareness so individuals can act to mitigate their vulnerability and reduce the risk of harm posed by a natural hazard. FEMA encourages us to develop preparedness plans that “understand our

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local and community risks, reflect the diversity of those we serve, and foster partnerships that allow us to connect with a diverse Nation” (FEMA 2018, p. 4). The desired outcome is to ensure a rapid and resilient recovery postdisaster. As the field of emergency management has evolved, the strategic philosophies of Whole Community and Culture of Preparedness show an interesting overlap with social work and methods used by macrolevel practitioners. For example, the emergency operations sector has placed a heightened emphasis on the role of local community residents as a vital part of the response and recovery effort. This provides a good fit with the community social work perspective that supports traditional change methods of locality development, social planning, and social action. Furthermore, both FEMA approaches underscore the importance of empowering communities to have a voice in hazards management and to take action in protecting life and property locally. These key concepts from the Whole Community and Culture of Preparedness frameworks assist community social work practitioners working in the area of disaster management with opportunities to further promote collective community resilience. Both emphasize a reliance on social networks and collective social support to bolster our ability as a nation to be better prepared. In this regard, the role of social capital to build community capacity is featured prominently in disaster social work, and indeed, a growing literature documents approaches to promote community disaster resilience and empowered recovery (Pfefferbaum et al. 2017; Whelan 2018; Yong et al. 2019). Although not created as a disaster preparedness and recovery tool, more than two decades ago Kretzmann and McKnight (1993) advanced an asset-based model for community development that certainly supports this work. Following a thread from FEMA’s Whole Community, the Kretzmann and McKnight asset model espouses a grassroots participatory approach to engage stakeholders in identifying existing strengths and capacities of residents, organizations, and institutions to empower local action and encourage sustainable change. Building from the principles put forth by asset-based community development (Kretzmann and McKnight 1993) a social work focused community-based framework is used here to highlight elements of empowered disaster recovery by linking community organizing, awareness raising, and social action (Ersing 2012, 2019). While this approach captures three elements of traditional community practice, it integrates them with the disaster resilience concepts of vulnerability, adaptive capacity, and collective efficacy discussed earlier. Next is a discussion on the social work community perspective to identify, organize, and utilize local assets to promote disaster preparedness and sustained resilient recovery.

Identify Assets to Reduce Vulnerability Social workers engaged in macrocommunity practice are familiar with methods to raise awareness and educate populations about social, economic, and environmental conditions that have a harmful impact on quality of life. The distribution of accurate information within marginalized communities can provide a source of power to influence decision-making (Ersing 2012; Ersing et al. 2015). The ability to identify

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personal and community assets is another approach used to raise awareness and lower vulnerability. Asset mapping (Kretzmann and McKnight 1993) is focused on recognizing individual and community strengths that can be turned into resources. This form of capacity building has gained attention in the field of disaster social work, encouraging a grassroots strategy to buffer hazard threats (Carafano et al. 2007). According to Paton and Johnston (2001), efforts to provide residents with information that will help them organize their response to the threat of a natural disaster contribute to enhancing coping capacities. Vatsa (2004) found households were better able to reduce vulnerability to hazards by identifying assets that could provide options to cope. A Florida case study on evacuation behavior (Collins et al. 2018) looked at the influence of a person’s personal assets on their decision to either evacuate or not evacuate in the days preceding the landfall of Hurricane Irma in 2017. This evacuation event was considered one of the largest in the history of the United States (Bousquet and Klas 2017). Collins et al. (2018) found that individuals identifying larger networks of social ties, as well as greater diversity among those social connections, considered these assets in their decision to evacuate thus reducing vulnerability to the impact of the impending hazard. In other words, the number and types of social relationships one has in their life may offer access to a broader array of resources and options to lessen one’s vulnerability. The role of social connections as assets during evacuations was also found during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, with the number and range of one’s social ties promoting the establishment of trust and information sharing among community members (Miller 2007). This method of disaster social work carried out from a community practice perspective supports the FEMA (2011) Whole Community principle which advocates developing a clear understanding of the distinctive needs of a population, including demographics, values, norms, and relationships. The better we understand the capacity of a local area, the more likely we are to engage stakeholders as participants in building disaster resilience.

Organize Community Assets to Promote Adaptive Capacity Another community-based approach to disaster social work involves grassroots organizing. Once assets are identified, community organizing can help determine how to maximize those resources and put them into a larger plan for hazard mitigation. This method supports the development of adaptive capacity within the local area as part of preparedness planning (Zukowski 2014). Adaptive capacity moves beyond the assessment or identification of indicators of local capacity by focusing on ways that a community can actually implement strategies to mitigate risks (Cutter and Corendea 2013). In other words, the ability to transform existing assets into new resources and apply those resources to address the threat of a disaster is an outcome of adaptive capacity. At a macrolevel, social workers are often able to engage community members as they take stock of their collective social networks and ties. The goal is to mobilize this local social capital and bridge with other

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organizations to build partnerships that will enhance community resilience in a disaster. This includes organizing members of vulnerable communities to connect with disaster service organizations such as the American Red Cross where there are opportunities to become a trained volunteer with skills in creating preparedness kits, providing mass care, and helping neighbors to shelter safely. Likewise, organizing the community to work collaboratively with county-level emergency management is an adaptive way to preplan for an immediate response to a hazard as well as the postdisaster aftermath. In 2004, Florida experienced an unprecedented hurricane season with four named storms making landfall in 44 days. Three of those hurricanes (Charley, Frances, and Jeanne) struck land along the Atlantic coast impacting Volusia County, a known agricultural area, leaving behind destruction totaling over $45 billion dollars (FEMA 2009). Migrant farm laborers comprised a significant hidden population in this community, with many having undocumented status and limited proficiency with the English language (Drolet et al. 2018). In this case study, it was not surprising that migrant families faced serious challenges during postdisaster recovery; however, women in this group provided examples of adaptive capacity through their efforts to organize their own local assets. Migrant families reported being overlooked by emergency management and therefore found it necessary to use mutual support to collect, organize, and distribute salvageable items such as food, clothing, diapers, and other personal health and wellness items not destroyed by the hurricanes. An impromptu grassroots group named Alianza de Mujeres Activas (Alliance of Active Women) was formed to reach out to the migrant community and locate those in need and provide items of basic care. As this recovery group took root, the capacity of migrant families grew, leading them to eventually engage with local faith-based and voluntary organizations to raise awareness of the need for culturally competent disaster response plans that reached all segments of the county and to educate people in other languages on how to prepare for a disaster. The community social work perspective to engage in local organizing to support adaptive capacity fits well with the Whole Community disaster preparedness and recovery model (FEMA 2011). Both support the notion discussed previously that effective solutions do not come in one size, but instead are based on the existing characteristics, relationships, and larger systems available in each community. Accordingly, Paton and Johnston (2001) suggest successful disaster mitigation strategies are linked with levels of community involvement and cooperation. Adaptive capacity is often able to leverage and apply local assets in unique ways to empower disaster resilience during and after a hazard strikes.

Utilize Assets to Empower Collective Action Collective efficacy involves the generation of social cohesion and trust within a community and the willingness of neighbors to use those bonds to take action on behalf of the greater good (Sampson et al. 1997). In the realm of emergency management, the concept of empowerment is often referred to in promoting resilient disaster recovery (Rajeev 2014). Paton (2007) found that levels of community trust

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were important to engaging residents and to communicate information on preparedness. Place-based resilience calls not only for the identification and mobilization of assets, but to put apply those resources in a way that generates leadership and supports advocating for policies and practices that promote sustainable change (Kemp and Palinkas 2015). Referring back to the case of Alianza de Mujeres Activas (Alliance of Active Women), this case example illustrates the importance of utilizing assets, particularly collaborative relationships within the community, to bolster recovery and reconstruction postdisaster. The Alliance was successful in channeling their adaptive capacity into collective efficacy, working to strengthen trust between the migrant farm labor community and public and private groups across the county to improve disparities in disaster management processes. Indeed, grassroots collective action was used to bridge the gap between formal emergency response plans and the often marginalized farm worker population (Drolet et al. 2018). The use of collective action to create a voice for a previously silent subpopulation is an important building block toward community resilience. Ongoing advocacy efforts focused on the need to include the voices and experiences of diverse communities in disaster preparedness planning and training, the distribution of aid during an emergency response, and longer-term recovery planning. As a result, this migrant community was able to obtain training for its own Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), to further reduce vulnerability to a disaster. The Whole Community (FEMA 2011) paradigm emphasizes the importance of engaging all segments of a community to empower local action. This can be achieved by viewing all members as having a role to play in reducing vulnerability and strengthening local capacity to mitigate hazard threats. According to FEMA, community engagement in emergency planning empowers people to become resilient through an array of unique and diverse assets including social and faith-based groups, voluntary organizations, public and private community institutions, and professional associations. Ending reliance on an over-burdened government-centric system opens the opportunity for meaningful community-based collective efficacy. Communities that have survived a large-scale natural disaster point to the importance of strong leadership through local individuals and voluntary groups empowered to recover (Drolet 2019; Drolet et al. 2018). In this regard, social work practitioners recognize that effective community work in disaster relief and recovery requires empowered local action. Skills in advocacy to change inherently unjust systems that prevent marginalized individuals and families from rebuilding their lives postdisaster are a necessary component in long-term recovery. Likewise, removing obstacles to resilience attributed to disparities derived through race, sex, and poverty is another underpinning of social work community practice.

Conclusion Natural hazards cannot be controlled, however the manner in which a community prepares can reduce the risk triggered by the event. A disaster occurs when resources are lacking to effectively prepare for and recover from the impact of the hazard.

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Therefore, building the capacity of a community to be resilient when faced with a natural disaster is critical. Social workers engaged in macrocommunity practice are important to helping communities become engaged in the process of emergency preparedness through identifying, organizing, and utilizing local assets and resources to reduce vulnerability. Scientists acknowledge that global climate changes will continue to exacerbate the risk of more severe impacts from natural hazards including sea level rise, air temperature, and precipitation (Goodwin-Gill and McAdam 2017). The threat of more severe hazard events has led emergency planners to alert communities that government alone is no longer able to provide all the services and resources necessary in the immediate aftermath of disaster. Instead, FEMA (2011) has developed a Whole Community approach that engages local communities to work with voluntary organizations and grassroots groups to support the work of professional responders. Social work is suited to assist in disaster contexts by empowering stakeholders as leaders to assess community assets and implement plans for robust postdisaster recovery. Community-based practitioners are also able to engage the resources of disaster service organizations to raise awareness of residents through disaster risk reduction strategies that promote collective efficacy and ensure an effective voice for all. Disaster social work within local communities fulfills an important role to reduce risk and support resilient recovery.

Cross-References ▶ Asset-Based and Place-Based Community Development ▶ Building Disaster-Resilient Communities

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A Contribution from the Global South Dorothee Hölscher and Sarah Chiumbu

Contents Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Coloniality’s Challenge to Anti-oppressive Social Work: The Case of South Africa . . . . . . . . . Contextualizing Anti-oppressive Community Work Historically . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Inequality, Unemployment, and Poverty as Structural Forms of Violence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Anti-oppression, Decolonization, and Community Work Practice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Anti-oppressive Community Work in Action: A Case Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Discussion: Decolonizing Anti-oppressive Social Work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cross-References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Abstract

This chapter serves to contribute to an enlargement of contemporary, anti-oppressive social work theories and notions of community work practice. It is motivated by apparent gaps in existing discourses concerning the experiences, perspectives, knowledges, and practices of colonized peoples. The central concept by which the chapter seeks to meet its objective is that of (de)coloniality. This concept denotes forms of oppression that are particular to the regions of the Global South and, it is suggested, require to be recognized as such. The chapter’s arguments are constructed around a case study, which narrates a community work intervention, conducted over a number of years by social work students at a selected South African university. To contextualize this, the chapter takes a historical perspective D. Hölscher (*) School of Human Services and Social Work, Griffith University, Logan, QLD, Australia Department of Social Work, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa e-mail: [email protected]fith.edu.au S. Chiumbu University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 S. Todd, J. L. Drolet (eds.), Community Practice and Social Development in Social Work, Social Work, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-6969-8_2

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and provides a situated account. Following an opening discussion of anti-oppressive theories and how these might benefit from decolonial scholarship, the contextual challenges for South African social work are examined with particular consideration of how these have arisen from the country’s history of colonialism and current reality of coloniality. The case study is presented thereafter using the anti-oppressive language favored by the students involved. Further reflections are presented using a decolonial frame. The chapter concludes that anti-oppressive theorizing and community work practices have an important role to play in locations of the Global South, such as South Africa. However, for social workers to respond meaningfully to the continued workings of coloniality in such contexts, a central professional binary – that of social worker/service user – may need to be unsettled. Keywords

Oppression · Coloniality · Decoloniality · Neoliberalism · Structural Violence · Social Work · South Africa

Introduction There will never be justice in South Africa while our children are still experiencing what we went through in the past. (Anonymous, cited in Majola 2017, p. 22)

Anti-oppressive practice (AOP) forms part of the tradition of critical social work (Healy 2014). According to Baines (2011), it is an umbrella approach that has been influenced by various theories in the feminist, Marxist, postmodern, poststructuralist, anti-colonial, and anti-racist traditions. Its point of departure is a twofold understanding of oppression: on the one hand, the term is seen as referring to situations where powerful persons or groups exert “a tyrannical influence over others,” while on the other hand, it denotes structural forms of injustices that arise “from (often) unintentionally oppressive assumptions and interactions” as a “result of institutional and social customs, economic practices and rules” (Clifford and Burke 2009, p. 18; brackets in original). As a result, oppression operates by forming interconnected patterns and processes that are continuously (re-)created on the intra- and interpersonal, group, community, organizational, and structural levels, within, between, and across societies. For this reason, AOP draws on methods from all levels of social work, including working with individuals, groups, communities, and structural social work (see, e.g., Dominelli 2002). Within this context, antioppressive community work may be considered a discernible form of practice; however, to have sustained, anti-oppressive effects, it must be integrated with other interventions. Young (1990, p. 48), whose ideas can be traced in a large number of anti-oppressive writings, asserted that, “all oppressed people suffer some inhibition of their ability to develop and exercise their capabilities and express their needs, thoughts and feelings.”

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Following “ordinary political usage,” Young (1990, p. 48) considered oppression to be “a condition of groups.” Thus, AOP generally and anti-oppressive community work practice more specifically speak to the experiences of people living on societies’ margins, where recognition of their experience and perspective, political voice, and access to resources are curtailed (see Fraser 2008). That being said, Baines (2011, p. 19) rightly acknowledged that “a notable gap in AOP is the question of the role of indigenous knowledges and practices.” This chapter seeks to assist in closing this gap by bringing together anti-oppressive and decolonial literature. The key concept through which this is achieved is that of (de)coloniality. This concept can contribute to an enlargement of AOP on two levels – epistemology and everyday practices. On the epistemological level, this chapter’s starting point is that to date, anti-oppressive theories have critiqued mainstream social work practice mainly from the perspective of the Global North, thereby “reproducing within its domains of thought and practice a coloniality of power/knowledge” (Grosfoguel 2007, p. 212). Anti-oppressive literature is concerned with how oppression operates, among others along the lines of race, class and gender, and with how this can be disrupted (Dominelli 2002). It thus articulates a powerful critique of contemporary societies in the Global North. Yet a scanning of the available literature suggests that contributions from the margins, for example, by Black African scholars, are limited and, thus, that a Euro-centered locus of enunciation continues to dominate. Under such conditions, anti-oppressive theorizing will be unable to articulate, let alone devise, means of responding to what Mignolo (2009, p. 3) has termed the “colonial wound.” A decolonial approach seeks to critique social injustices in ways that take into consideration a “colonial matrix of power” (Quijano, cited in Mignolo 2007, p. 156). According to Grosfoguel (2011), this matrix represents a global system of asymmetric power relations that distorts, among other things, who is speaking (body politics of knowledge) and from where (geopolitics of knowledge). Body politics has to do with the issue of race and racial ordering of the world, while geopolitics speaks of the need to abandon the universalist conception of knowledge and the need for marginalized and colonized people to speak for themselves. This chapter aims to disrupt this kind of patterning: its locus of enunciation is a country in the Global South, with one of its authors identifies as Black African, while the other identifies as nomadic (Braidotti 2013). Moreover, the chapter engages the field of anti-oppressive social work in a way that lends a voice to a group that is profoundly marginalized in the profession’s global discourse: Black South African social work students and unemployed social work graduates. To this end, this chapter relies considerably on “grey” literature, such as unpublished student works, online publications, and discussions. However, this merely underscores the need for an anti-oppressive theorizing that consciously addresses the prevailing body politics and geopolitics in its field. On the level of everyday practice, a decolonial approach can enrich antioppressive social work by acknowledging that there may be forms of oppression which are distinct to the Global South and which require equally distinct responses. In this context, the term coloniality has come “to have broad application in reference to social relations, structures, and processes which reproduce colonial modes of

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domination and exploitation in the present” (Tilley 2016, p. 68). A central aim of anti-oppressive practice is to help service users and service user communities understand the conditions that oppress them, as well as the processes by which this occurs. This serves as a prerequisite for people to gather the will and the energy to resist these conditions, to actively work toward developing alternatives, and to demand more equitable societies (Mullaly 2010). But what if the social workers themselves are oppressed? What if they experience forms of oppression that are historically grown and can be made sense of only once the social, economic, political, and cultural continuities are uncovered that bind, for example, South Africa’s postapartheid era to its colonial and apartheid past? Writers on the topic of anti-oppressive social work have stressed the importance of adopting a historical perspective (see, e.g., Clifford and Burke 2009). Invoking the concept of coloniality is useful in understanding historical conditions and how to respond to them in ways that are specific to the Global South. Coloniality helps in understanding how the postcolonial context of both social workers and service users is marked by “damnation”: poverty, civil wars, death, and inferiority, among other things (Maldonado-Torres 2007, p. 247; see also Fanon 1961). It is hoped that by introducing the concept of (de)coloniality into anti-oppressive discourse, this chapter will contribute to an enlargement of existing anti-oppressive theorizing and practices. To this end, the first section explores the historical and contextual conditions of South African social work, using both anti-oppressive and decolonial lenses. In the process, it finds a blurring of boundaries between those who are meant to render and those who are meant to receive social work services while demonstrating how both the dynamics and effects of this blurring can be made intelligible only in historical terms. Against this background, the second section presents a case study of a community work intervention, conducted by a group of social work students and intended both to express their solidarity with one another and to search for a shared understanding of their experiences of oppression – including the prospects of graduate unemployment and fears of remaining caught in intergenerational cycles of poverty – in ways that offer direction of how to resist. The case study is presented using the anti-oppressive language employed by the students themselves. A reflection on this case study follows, which is guided by an explicitly decolonial framework. The chapter concludes that anti-oppressive community work has a definite role to play in South Africa and, most likely, in other locations of the Global South as well. However, for social workers to respond meaningfully to the continued workings of coloniality in their own and their service users’ lives, a central professional binary – that of social worker/service user – needs to be unsettled. This is what this chapter seeks to achieve.

Coloniality’s Challenge to Anti-oppressive Social Work: The Case of South Africa In their discussion of anti-oppressive ethics, Clifford and Burke (2009, pp. 31–35) encourage social workers, among other things, to seek to understand “the specific social histories of individuals and groups involved,” to analyze “different kinds of

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power,” and to evaluate “the range and impact of social systems and relationships.” Guided by these tenets, this section serves to trace some of the contemporary afflictions of South African social work. Focusing on inequality, unemployment, and poverty, it considers how these afflictions emerged historically under conditions of colonialism, were deepened under apartheid, and have continued into the present within a welfare context that reflects the current neoliberal ordering of the world. It is posited that the thread that binds together past and present afflictions, experienced by both members of the profession and its service user communities, is South Africa’s history of conquest and coercion and the kinds of welfare system and power relations to which this history has given rise.

Contextualizing Anti-oppressive Community Work Historically The area that makes up present-day South Africa was inhabited from about 500 BC by the San and Khoikhoi and from about 500 AD also by Bantu-speaking peoples. European explorers arrived in Southern Africa at the turn of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The first permanent European settlement was founded in 1652 in the vicinity of today’s Cape Town, which was then expanded eastward over the following 120 years. Slaves captured in other parts of the Global South were imported from 1658 onward; after the abolition of slavery, this was followed by the importation of indentured laborers. Meanwhile, Portuguese slavers operated from today’s Maputo in Mozambique, with the first recorded export of Southern African captives dated 1709. As a result of the twin pressures emanating from both the east and west of Southern Africa, the region experienced several decades of large-scale violence, disruptions of livelihoods, and refugee movements that are commonly referred to as the Mfecane, or “the Scattering” (Reader 1998). In 1814, following alternating periods of British and Dutch colonial rule, the region was formally entered into the British Empire as the Cape Colony. When Britain abolished slavery in 1834, several thousand farmers and slave owners left for Southern Africa’s interior and eastern regions where they fought several wars with the resident population and displaced entire peoples in the process. Between 1839 and 1854, these settlers founded three independent republics, all of which were annexed by Britain. In 1910, these territories were formally united into the Union of South Africa and integrated into the British Commonwealth. The Union was granted full sovereignty in 1931. Following the 1948 election victory of the National Party, South Africa began to institutionalize the doctrine of apartheid, an increasingly expansive and elaborate system of race-based discrimination, exclusion, and exploitation. In 1961, a referendum held among South Africa’s white citizens led to the country becoming an independent republic (Giliomee 2003; Reader 1998). South Africa’s history has been shaped by the discovery of diamonds in 1867 and gold in 1885, in that its economy became dominated by the extraction of its mineral resources (Reader 1998). Within a period of less than 40 years, the exploitation of the country’s mineral wealth became a well-coordinated economy, concentrated in the hands of a small, politically powerful elite, and funded by foreign capital (Mbeki 2009). This created a huge demand for labor and was one of the key drivers of the

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successive expansion of colonial boundaries in the nineteenth century, the dispossession of Southern Africa’s indigenous people, and their forceful relocation to small, often unproductive “locations”: if indigenous people could be rendered indigent, they would need to sell their labor to survive (Reader 1998). By 1936, just under 400,000 men between the ages of 15 and 50 were working in the country’s mines. By 1986, South Africa’s gold mines alone employed well over 450,000 workers. In this regard, Reader (1998, pp. 512–513, highlights in original) observed that: The influence of the mines’ employment regime on African society . . . has been pernicious – and profound . . . It was never employment in the sense of a [mutually beneficial] relationship . . . but always the exploitation of . . . [a] resource . . . Farms, factories, government agencies and even employers of domestic labour perpetuated the system, in South Africa and throughout the continent.

By 1992, the South African economy experienced profound contractions, the background to which was a severe accumulation crisis that had beset South Africa’s mining and energy sector since the 1970s. Crush and Williams (2010, p. 9) described these contractions as the cumulative result of “declining ore reserves, rising cost and a stagnant gold price,” which caused the South African mining industry to enter “a long period of restructuring and downsizing.” These structural changes were a major contributor to the overall rise in South Africa’s unemployment rate from 20% in 1970 to 36% in 1995 (Terreblanche 2012), a level at which it has since remained. Parallel to this accumulation crisis, South Africa was faced with a growing global mobilization against apartheid, which led to sharp increases in net capital flight and convinced “the corporate sector . . . that the apartheid regime could not survive and ought to be abolished” (Terreblanche 2012, p. 12). To this end, negotiations began in earnest in 1986 and involved the African National Congress (ANC) and South African business leaders first and the South African state and foreign pressure groups later. These negotiations were central in determining the future of South Africa’s economic developments. Terreblanche (2012, pp. 64–65) described the process by which South Africa would be integrated into an increasingly dominant neoliberal ordering of the world as follows: The strongest foreign pressure on the ANC, in all probability, came from American pressure groups . . . The attitude was overwhelmingly that . . . every country in the world . . . [should adapt] as quickly as possible and as completely as possible to the American model of antistatism, deregulation, privatisation, fiscal austerity, market fundamentalism and free trade . . . The role of [these] pressure groups . . . included . . . [making] exaggerated promises . . . [and exerting] subtle threats that the US had the ability (and the inclination) to disrupt the South African economy if the ANC should be recalcitrant.

The negotiations culminated in South Africa’s first democratic election in 1994, which signified the beginning of what has since been referred as South Africa’s postapartheid era. In 1996, South Africa adopted a constitution that guaranteed socioeconomic rights alongside political and civil rights. This was seen as a tool to address

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the severe material, racial, and class inequalities that were South Africa’s colonial and apartheid legacy, but at the same time, it was increasingly counteracted by the ANC government’s adoption of a series of market-oriented economic policies in line with the negotiated settlement. While its first socioeconomic policy, the Reconstruction and Development Programme, placed the responsibilities of redistribution on the state precisely to achieve a universal and inclusive citizenship, it was swiftly abandoned in favor of the market-friendly Growth, Employment and Redistribution policy (Bond 2014). This policy created a neoliberal state which radically reshaped the terrain of citizenship in the country. A string of economic policies followed, with the latest being the National Development Plan, introduced in 2011. The summative effect of these policies, coupled with apartheid legacies of structural inequality and economic marginalization, was the continuation – and continuous re-creation – of severe and intricate socioeconomic hardships for the majority of citizens, who continued to be “systematically excluded from participation in the global economy” (Terreblanche 2012, p. 73). Thus, South Africa entered the postapartheid period with an economic history which over 350 years had been founded upon unfree Black labor – generated through conquest and coercion. This incomplete liberation points to what Ndlovu-Gatsheni (2011) called the “myth of decolonization.” Citing Grosfoguel, he argued that, “one of the most powerful myths of the twentieth century was the belief that the end of direct colonial administrations amounted to the decolonisation of the world. This myth led to another myth of a ‘postcolonial’ world” (Ndlovu-Gatsheni 2011, p. 74). Instead, the intricate workings of colonial power “did not evaporate with the juridical-political decolonization . . . We continue to live under the same ‘colonial power matrix’” (Grosfoguel, cited in NdlovuGatsheni 2011, p. 74). In short, South Africa’s liberation, taking place as it did under an increasingly dominant, neoliberal ordering of the world, replicated in many ways what was happening in other regions of the Global South: the country’s entry into its postapartheid era simply meant having moved from a period of “global colonialism” into the current period of “global coloniality” (Ndlovu-Gatsheni 2011, p. 74).

Inequality, Unemployment, and Poverty as Structural Forms of Violence With the end of apartheid, South Africa’s then Department of Social Welfare (1997, p. 2) set itself the task of working toward a “humane, peaceful, just, and caring society, which will uphold welfare rights, facilitate the meeting of basic human needs, release people’s creative energies, help them achieve their aspirations . . . and [full participation] in all spheres of social, economic and political life.” While expressing the hopes and exuberance of its time, this commitment was formulated against the backdrop of a society that, by 1994, had become one of the most unequal in the world, where “most households experience[d] outright poverty or vulnerability to being poor” (May and Wilkins 1998, p. 1). In addition, inequality was skewed along gender and racial lines, across rural-urban divides, disproportionately affecting

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the elderly and people with differential abilities (May and Wilkins 1998). In short, the situation revealed an intersectionality (Pease 2010) of deprivation and disadvantage, which completely permeated South African society. In the context of postapartheid South Africa’s overarching neoliberal economic policy framework, it is perhaps unsurprising that, over 20 years later, these statistics changed little. According to a report released by Statistics South Africa (2017), in 2015 unemployment stood at 36%, exactly where it had been at the end of apartheid. A total of 55.5% of South Africans were considered to be poor, with 45.4% of those assessed to be extremely poor, living on R441 (roughly 30 US dollars) or less per person per month. The Gini coefficient, an internationally accepted measure of inequality, had risen from 0.58 at the end of apartheid (May and Wilkins 1998) to 0.68 in 2016, with South Africa retaining its position as one the world’s most unequal societies. Importantly, Statistics South Africa (2017, p. 1) reported that, “the most vulnerable to poverty in our society” continued to include “females, Black Africans [and] people living in rural areas.” In 1998, when South Africa was at the beginning stages of trying to address the socioeconomic legacies of colonial and apartheid rule, May and Wilkins (1998, p. 3) described the experience of poverty as a situation of “Continuous ill health, arduous and often hazardous work for virtually no income, no power to influence change, and high levels of anxiety and stress. The absence of power is almost a defining characteristic of the poor . . . Poverty [often] involves . . . public and domestic violence.” May and Norton (1997, p. 102) pointed out further that, “the emotional stress produced by the struggle, uncertainty and extreme living conditions can be linked to the resignation that little will change.” These descriptions and qualifications will be familiar to readers of anti-oppressive theory. For example, Young (1990) listed exploitation, marginalization, cultural imperialism, powerlessness, and violence as the “five faces of oppression.” These “faces” are connected in dynamic ways: because “social structures exist . . . not as states, but as processes,” they work to place people in particular positions, affect individuals’ consciousness, and cause them to “act on the basis of their knowledge of pre-existing structures” (Young 2007, p. 169). At the same time, the dynamic interrelationship between the different faces of oppression renders them open to change. This is because, to the extent to which people become conscious about these dynamics and how they, as individuals, groups, and communities, are woven into them, they can also choose to critically reflect on their expectations, priorities, values, and habits, as well as the consequences of their actions, and, as a result, choose to change and work together toward attaining a more just society. Thus, anti-oppression always remains on the horizon of the imagined, both as an ideal and source of hope and in the form of concrete objectives toward which people may strive and toward which social work can be oriented. The section below exemplifies how this can translate into action. It became increasingly apparent that South Africa’s welfare sector was unable to address the country’s inequities and the large-scale suffering to which it gave rise. Social work struggled to deliver the services it was mandated to provide: in spite of a drastically expanding service user base but owing considerably to South Africa’s neoliberal policy framework, there was a decrease in the funding of social

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development from 11% of the annual welfare budget in 1994 to 3% in 2005 (Earle 2008), thereafter stabilizing at around 5% (UNICEF South Africa 2017), with the balance directed to social security-related expenses. This led to substantive challenges in the ability of social workers to provide much-needed service (see, e.g., Dlamini and Sewpaul 2015; Lombard et al. 2012; Raniga and Kasiram 2010); however, the profession itself was required, if for nothing else, for statutory reasons. For example, Minister Dlamini (2013a, p. 1) suggested that over 66,000 social workers would be needed to fully implement South Africa’s Children’s Act No. 38 of 2005, yet at the time of the Act’s promulgation, there were just over 11,000 registered practitioners (Earle 2008). It was against this background that in 2009, the Department of Social Development launched its Recruitment and Retention Strategy (Dlamini and Sewpaul 2015). This strategy included a comprehensive bursary scheme for social work students, the majority of whom aimed to recruit “from the deep rural areas of our country” (Dlamini 2013b, p. 2). Not only did this intervention help to increase the number of registered social workers considerably, it also contributed to a noticeable change in the profession’s demographic profile. In 2005, 50% of all registered social workers were categorized as Black African (Earle 2008). Contemporary statistics are hard to come by, but Schenck’s (2009) and Hölscher’s (2018) reports on studies conducted with social work students at two different South African universities may be taken as reflecting broader sociodemographic trends. Hölscher (2018) reported that in the space of 10 years, the number of social work students had more than doubled, with the percentage of students categorized as Black African having increased to 99%. Noting similar trends in terms of overall numbers, Schenck (2009) reported that as many as 43% of students in the cohorts under study had experienced extreme poverty, with 29% describing the neighborhoods where they lived as: Poor, low-income areas with high unemployment, where the people . . . mostly [depended] on state grants. Housing [was] overcrowded and insufficient, with pollution, littering and high volumes of traffic; people [were] unmotivated and passive . . . [Students lived] in shacks, RDP houses and rented rooms. (Schenck 2009, p. 8; brackets added)

In addition, most of the students had experienced “multiple traumatic incidents. These incidents included witnessing murders, hijackings and domestic violence” (Schenck 2009, p. 9), leading to students describing their trauma with reference to feelings such as “numbness, detachment, alienation, debilitation, hopelessness, powerlessness . . . and feelings of being ‘broken up inside’” (Schenck 2009, p. 10). All of this suggests that at the point of writing this chapter, South Africa’s social workers are increasingly originating from poor Black African, often rural households, among whom the legacy of South Africa’s colonial and apartheid past is often intensely present. The postapartheid years also revealed other nodes of oppression in the profession, one of which has been selected for discussion in this chapter. This is the node that is most obviously connected with the global economic crisis of 2007. In the wake of

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this crisis, it was not the number of practitioners that swelled but the number of unemployed social workers. In the words of then Social Development Minister Dlamini, “like many other countries, South Africa was affected by the economic downturn, which resulted in budget cuts” (cited in Cronje 2015, p. 3). Again, accurate figures are not readily accessible; however, it appears that both the Department of Social Development’s capacity to fund nongovernment organizations and its own ability to fill vacant posts were diminishing. For example, in 2015, the Province of KwaZulu-Natal’s Department of Social Development announced its intent to ration its funding of nongovernment organizations (Ngobese 2015). And in January 2016, it was reported that close to 2,500 of the over 9,000 beneficiaries of the Department of Social Development bursary scheme were in fact unemployed yet contractually tied to work for the Department of Social Development upon completion of their degrees (Cronje 2015). The Department’s inability to absorb these graduates or to provide the NGO sector with the necessary funding to do so led to moves to “re-cost” (Department of Social Development 2016) and subsequently halt the bursary program (DispatchLive 2016). This decision was taken as the percentage of unfilled departmental social work posts was approaching 48% (Congress of South African Trade Unions 2017). Sporadic protests against social work unemployment were not sustained, generally failed to attract widespread media attention and, on those occasions when they did, failed to generate a sympathetic public discourse. One example is an online opinion piece published by a social work graduate in which he accused the Department of Social Development of reneging on its responsibilities toward both previous and current bursary recipients (Nala 2014). In the open responses section, a number of readers replied that instead of relying on the government, the affected graduates should instead seek to emulate people “who made it . . . without a degree but lots of hard work” (Nala 2014, p. 3). A social work graduate replied: We did not just rush off to get degrees. We come from poverty-stricken homes where some of us are the first to even obtain degrees. Some of us will be breadwinners in our families . . . All we wish for is that the Department of Social Development find means of employing us, not just so we have jobs [but] so that we can serve these poverty-stricken communities who need assistance. (Nala 2014, p. 3)

Thus, after more than 350 years of colonial and apartheid rule, the social work profession had become accessible to Black African students from predominantly poor and rural backgrounds but ironically was now itself afflicted by the very problems to which it was intended to respond: inequality, unemployment, and poverty. Yet there appeared to be limited public concern. Anti-oppressive theorists refer to such a complex interweaving of disadvantage and indifference as structural violence. Violence may be considered structural when it “spans generations . . . dominate[s] everyday living” and therefore is “deeply ingrained” (Bulhan 1985, cited in Mullaly 2010, p. 152). For this reason, it tends to be “tolerated, accepted, or found unsurprising” by those who do not suffer its consequences (Mullaly 2010, p. 55) while at the same time affecting particular groups disproportionately, causing widespread afflictions among them. Distorting the ways in which resources are

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allocated, the political voice and levels of recognition enjoyed by those affected, and the extent to which their claims for justice are considered legitimate within the broader public (Fraser 2008), structural violence is felt in all aspects of the affected people’s lives, thereby constituting “a total environment” (Mullaly 2010, p. 151). In sum then, this section has argued that since the end of apartheid, South Africa became integrated into the global neoliberal order, which included exposure to the kinds of economic crises to which this order is prone. Within this context, the sociodemographic profile of South African social work changed to the extent that it now appears to resemble that of its service user base, who are mostly Black Africans, originating from the country’s poor urban township and rural areas. As a result of these two developments, the afflictions experienced by the majority of the profession’s service users were increasingly experienced by social work students and graduates as well. While the postapartheid years revealed a number of other nodes of oppression affecting the profession, this section highlighted the complex structural violence, to which the colonized people of South Africa and their descendants have been exposed to for generations. This serves as but one example of the ways in which coloniality is at work in the social work realm. The chapter’s second section explores the implications of these arguments for anti-oppressive social work practice, focusing on the field of community work.

Anti-oppression, Decolonization, and Community Work Practice With the apparent blurring of boundaries between social workers and their service users, who then should be the beneficiaries of intervention? Who should be the ones to intervene? Against the backdrop of a decolonial reading of the challenges described in the preceding section, what should be the role of anti-oppressive community work practice? And what would be its limitations in the Global South? This section is structured around a case study of the community work practices conducted by social work students at a selected South African university. The purpose is to explore the extent to which anti-oppressive community work can converge fruitfully with the requirements of a decolonial agenda and suggest ways in which, from a Global South perspective, current anti-oppressive theorizing may need to be enlarged.

Anti-oppressive Community Work in Action: A Case Study Writers on anti-oppressive theory and practice have pointed out that to conceptualize and intervene in the person-structure interface where the perspectives, perceptions, experiences, and interactions of individuals, groups, and communities are entangled with broader societal discourses and practices, anti-oppressive practice draws on all of social work’s methods in order for different levels of engagement to inform one another. For example, Mullaly (2010) suggested that such practice should involve activities in which the victims of unemployment, poverty, interpersonal violence, and so on are “consoled or partially compensated to make their situation a little more

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palatable” (p. 223). In so doing, practitioners should assist their service users in developing their awareness of the links that exist “between personal problems and their structural causes, between therapeutic insights and conscious deeds” (Mullaly 2010, p. 223). This is to enable people to challenge the perceptions they might have of themselves and one another “as inferior beings” and to translate their individual and shared frustrations about “being denied basic individual rights” into “the collective action needed to attain these rights” (Mullaly 2010, p. 223). Dominelli (2002) notes that to engage successfully in such collective action, communities need to (re)develop a shared commitment to each other’s welfare, which can be done irrespective of whether such communities are “based on identities, interests or geographic location” (p. 128). Anti-oppressive social workers should aid such processes of (re)commitment by focusing their attention on “[assisting] in the process of mobilising people; [collecting] evidence that indicates the need for mutual systems of caring; and [helping] to mount the arguments for reciprocated, solidaritybased welfare provisions” (Dominelli 2002, p. 128). All writers on anti-oppressive theory and practice cited thus far have drawn a clear line between the roles of social workers and service users, implicitly attributing positions of relative privilege to the former and oppression to the latter. Yet considering the cited explications of what anti-oppressive social work is about, one of the most suitable examples of anti-oppressive community work practice that could be identified for inclusion in this chapter involved neither. Instead, it comprised a community of social work students at one South African university, who over a number of years engaged in sustained practices of mutual support, political actions, and participatory, introspective research. For over a decade, they organized themselves by means of an association meant to serve and represent the interests of social work students at large. The association’s leadership was made up of two elected representatives from each year of study. According to one of its past leaders, “we . . . used the . . . association . . . in expressing our political views and advocating for student social workers at the university campus and other agencies, which were relevant to our context” (Mdamba 2017). As such, social work students represented one another on the university-wide students representative council, to student housing, the university’s academic leadership at various levels of governance, and to the Department of Social Development (DSD). Issues taken up over the years included access to on-campus resources, access to the Department of Social Development’s bursary scheme, and, increasingly, the growing challenge of graduate unemployment. Due to the fluid nature of student communities, student leaders attended to the task of (re-)creating their community as part of their responsibilities. Social events were organized, class WhatsApp groups ensured ease of communication, and a Facebook page including past graduates contributed to building a sense of continuity and cohesion over time. Given the widespread poverty experienced among the social work student body, members also sought to assist one another through monetary collections and distribution of food hampers and sanitary pads. Beneficiaries of this support were self-selected, and assistance was provided on the basis of trust. Administration and distribution were done by volunteers, and the scheme enjoyed

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great levels of support among both students and staff. In one instance, students prevented the financial exclusion of a peer by collecting money for her re-registration and, thereafter, advocating for her inclusion in DSD’s scholarship program. Yet, the student’s evaluation of the intervention was mixed. On the one hand, she acknowledged that it preserved her chance of being a future professional and explained how she had learnt from this experience that “we’ve overcome; that means we are strong” (Ngcobo 2015, p. 23). On the other hand, she acknowledged that, “many other students who were not able to get such assistance but had a similar problem, did not come back” (Ngcobo 2015, p. 20). The student association’s response to the growing crisis of social work graduate unemployment involved mass action. At the turn of 2015/2016, one regional and one national rally were organized in collaboration with other student and professional organizations. However, attempts to repeat these efforts proved disappointing. In spite of having the support of their lecturers who cancelled classes on the day, only a fraction of students attended a protest march organized for March 2016. Students discussed this in the days that followed, but given how much was at stake, the reasons given for their nonparticipation were unconvincing to the organizers, and several student leaders expressed a sense of demoralization. This disappointment gave rise to members of the class of 2016 deciding to explore this lack of political engagement and to consider how this apathy in the face of a growing professional and personal crisis might be explained. To this end, eight students – both leaders and members of the class – joined a National Research Foundation-funded project, which focused, among other things, on “students’ experiences” of “participatory parity” in South African higher education (Bozalek 2014, p. 6). However, giving the study’s original design a more distinctly participatory action research orientation, the students adjusted the study’s original focus to seeking a “better understanding of [final year] social work . . . students’ lack of political action in the face of unemployment” (Khoza 2016, p. 5). They intended to achieve this by reflecting specifically on the links between identity and oppression in their lives (Khoza 2016). Students retained the larger study’s participatory learning and action methods as a basis for their data collection, conducting three focus group sessions during which they produced artwork comprising rivers of life, community maps, and a photovoice activity. These activities gave rise to in-depth discussions around possible connections between their personal life stories and recent choices around how to respond to the real possibility of having to return, as unemployed graduates, to the vicious cycles of poverty from which they had sought to escape. Students analyzed their data jointly and then produced individual research reports. Detailed descriptions of the study’s methodology are available in Bozalek (2014) and Hölscher (2018). Content from two of the eight research reports was included in this chapter. Against the background of their self-identification as Black Africans from low socioeconomic, rural and urban, backgrounds (Khoza 2016), participants suggested that there was an immediate and direct link between what they described as internalized oppression (following Mullaly 2010) and as a tendency toward acceptance and accommodation of what they regarded as the deeply unjust conditions of their

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lives (following Dominelli 2002). On the one hand, they observed how they had made continuous connections between their family histories, their current socioeconomic positioning, and an apparent lack of confidence in their ability to effect change in their own and their community’s lives. Quotes selected by study participants for inclusion in their research reports included the following: I feel . . . that sometimes, because I am black, whatever I say will not really make a difference (Mdamba 2016, p. 33) My mother . . . is not working [and] even now, [she] is sick [and] earning a grant. So she cannot give me any money . . . So I was like, shy, or have a low self-esteem of coming to university while I know my background. (Khoza 2016, p. 37)

On the other hand, students categorized their respective political choices according to Dominelli’s (2002) typification of oppressed people’s responses to the structural processes of injustices in their lives: acceptance, accommodation, and resistance. Mdamba (2016, p. 39) considered the following statement to be an example of a participant’s acceptance of her perceived lack of political agency: I feel like, sometimes, why be active when I know it won’t help?

A case of accommodation, in Mdamba’s (2016, p. 41) view, was this contribution: What really turn[s] my spirit down not to participate [in political action] is that I have [government] funding . . . so I believe that . . . next year . . . I . . . have hope that I will find a job.

Mdamba (2016) noted that only one of the eight participants expressed a preference for resistance to the injustice they faced but linked this back to that particular participant’s gender and somewhat elevated class position which had enabled him to develop a stronger sense of self-worth and confidence in himself as an agent of change than was the case with the other participants. Based on their analysis, students made a range of recommendations toward further research, education, and practice, considering what anti-oppressive responses to their afflictions might look like. Khoza’s (2016) propositions speak particularly well to the concerns of this chapter and are therefore included here at length. Social workers . . . should consciously seek to understand the . . . context in which they operate if they wish to make an impact on oppression. . . Student social workers should challenge the structural sources of . . . inequality . . . discrimination and exclusion . . . by using . . . anti-oppressive theories. We need solidarity to eradicate the objectionable system that is oppressing us as students and beyond. . . Political action enables . . . student social workers ... to express . . . [their] resistance to domination, and the possibility of participating in [the] collective . . . pursuit of claims for

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welfare. Therefore political action should be motivated ... I have hope that initiation of vibrant political action can bring much change in the country and open the eyes of the government officials who are currently failing to do their responsibilities ... As there is a relationship between education and practice, this calls for emancipatory education so that graduates can become engaged citizens who challenge oppression and injustices ... Black students define themselves according to pigment, that makes them have a low self-esteem and [feel] inferior. The social work level four students must decolonise their minds so that they can bring [a] revolution in the face of unemployment. (pp. 34–35)

Discussion: Decolonizing Anti-oppressive Social Work In line with Young’s (1990, 2007) understanding of the dynamic person-structure interface, Clifford and Burke (2009, p. 20) contend that, “the conditioning of life chances by ‘external’ structures such as lack of employment . . . unequal distribution of wealth and income; stereotyping in the media, and many other factors, will . . . affect [individual] life chances and shape their lives.” They also note that “individuals also have . . . [an] ability . . . to actively engage with powerful social systems, rather than passively accept or collude with them” (ibid.). The students’ community work interventions point to both promises and limitations that lie within students of social work being critically conscious of themselves and of their histories and of how these link with their life circumstances, in ways that inform their practices. The previous section showed how practices are not neutral but driven by knowledge and theoretical frameworks, often from the Global North (even where this may not be self-evident), with reference to the entanglements of South Africa’s postapartheid welfare system within a global regime of neoliberalism. Structural forms of violence in the South African welfare sector constitute a set of historically shaped structures and practices, which have insidious effects on social work. These included, but were not limited to, the threat of graduate unemployment, a condition that is apt to lock large numbers of social work graduates back into vicious cycles of poverty and deprivation which they had, by means of furthering their education, sought to escape. The community work intervention involved social work students employing a range of anti-oppressive concepts and community work practices, developed in response to these circumstances and conditions, structures, and practices. Practices entailed amelioration of individual hardship and suffering through acts of solidarity and mutual support, advocacy, social action, and consciousness raising through selfdirected participatory action research and participatory learning and action activities. Among these, social action initiatives were the least sustained, which suggests that despite the anti-oppressive education they had received, most students remained depoliticized, with even that minority who had tried to organize student activism eventually becoming demoralized as well. Thus, a concept with particular appeal to the students was that of internalized oppression, as this enabled them to link personal

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histories with subsequent preferences for acceptance and accommodation of the structural forms of violence operating in their lives, rather than developing the courage to resist. Against this background, the conclusion reached by Khoza (2016, p. 35) regarding the need for social work students to “decolonise their minds so that they can bring [a] revolution in the face of unemployment” is significant. Not only does this quote express a profound anger and the kind of energy that oppression can generate in the oppressed, it also demonstrates how this anti-oppressive community work intervention was able to direct the thinking of its participants toward better understanding and developing the will to tackle some of the remnants of colonialism in their lives. Yet the participatory action research that facilitated this analysis was conducted only at the end of these students’ education and did not therefore feed back into other students’ lives. All of this suggests that anti-oppressive concepts and practices are indeed meaningful and applicable in contexts of the Global South, such as South Africa. At the same time, given the intricacy and depth of the structural violence experienced, anti-oppressive interventions in the classroom cannot be expected to succeed in the short term, when they are taught as once-off courses in the hope that they would then somehow germinate into capacities for anti-oppressive practice. Anti-oppressive theories and practices need to become an integral part of a decolonial pedagogy in social work. Indeed, the idea of decolonizing social work education is generating a growing body of scholarship in South Africa (Qalinge and van Breda 2018); however, the challenges of translating this emerging scholarship into pedagogical practices have been noted as well (see, e.g., Hölscher 2018; Hölscher et al. 2020, forthcoming). The key gap in anti-oppressive theorizing that the students’ reflections and practices and the anti-oppressive/decolonial analysis of the South African welfare context pointed to is this: in South Africa’s postapartheid context, access to education and to professions such as social work has broadened. As a result, the lines between social workers and the communities from which they originated, and which they are meant to serve, have become blurred. This exposed those marked by “damnation” (Fanon 1961; Maldonado-Torres 2007) to structural forms of violence in ways that are different from those previously described. However, it has also enabled broader access to a wider range of power in relation to these forms of violence – even if that power is localized within particular regions of the Global South. Beyond the violence of poverty and unemployment, and beyond the students’ acts of solidarity, advocacy, conscientisation, and resistance discussed above, this points to an entanglement of the profession in evolving forms and dynamics of power and violence in ways that may well be particular to the Global South. While a full exploration of this entanglement exceeded the scope of this chapter, it is an important one to note as it points to the need for more considered research in the future. As stated in the introduction, decolonial thinking challenges the hegemony of Eurocentric perspectives and promotes dialogue with other ways of thinking outside the dominant paradigms rooted in the Global North. A decolonization of antioppressive theory and practice requires seriously considering the insights and

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experiences of the people located in the marginalized zones of the globe. Over centuries, the lines between the colonizers and the colonized have divided the world into two zones – the “zone of being” and the “zone of nonbeing” (Fanon 1961 cited in Gordon 2005, p. 3). Grosfoguel (2011) reminds us that these zones are not specific geographical places but rather positionalities in relation to power which occur at global, national, and local scales and between various racialized groups. To speak from the zone of nonbeing is to look at the world from angles and points of view that are critical of hegemonic perspectives and practices. Social work students in South Africa, through their experiences of living with poverty, inequality, and structural violence, speak from a unique positionality. Their practices imply that there would be no anti-oppressive practice unless it starts with “us”: students, scholars, and practitioners of social work. Through their interventions, the students were able to introduce new ideas into scholarly conversations on AOP. Prominent among these is the idea that a central professional binary – that of social worker/service user – holds limited value for the kinds of the realities that can emerge in countries of the Global South. Returning to Grosfoguel’s (2011) notions of the global geopolitics and body politics of knowledge, this suggests that antioppressive theorizing and practices contain within them possibilities for the articulation of pluriversal knowledges, that is, knowledges that are “constructed and positioned from ‘other’ histories and subjectivities” (Walsh 2007, p. 226). It remains to be seen to what extent, and in what ways, they are also able to be unsettled by them.

Conclusion This chapter focused on three main issues. Firstly, it provided a critical discussion of anti-oppressive theory and stated how this literature may benefit from decolonial scholarship. Secondly, the context and challenges for anti-oppressive community practice in South Africa were examined, with particular consideration of how these have arisen from the country’s history of colonialism and current reality of coloniality. Thirdly, anti-oppressive community work practices were examined through a case study involving social work students from a selected South African university. These three issues have implications for the decolonization of antioppressive community work practice, which are that, at least in the Global South, anti-oppressive work theorizing and practice need to be located within decolonial thinking. A decolonial anti-oppression framework should start from the premise that multiple oppressions exist within and across societies, which are rooted in coloniality, especially in the Global South. AOP must be informed by this recognition. This chapter presented one of the ways in which this might be done. The extent to which the approach presented may fruitfully inform theorizing and practices in the Global North will hopefully form the subject of further debates. AOP has shown that it has the capacity to evolve in ways that can respond appropriately to differential realities. Both scholars and practitioners of anti-oppressive social work must continue their journey of broadening their understandings of what these realities entail.

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Cross-References ▶ Community Practice and Social Development in Botswana ▶ From Development to Poverty Alleviation and the Not-So-Sustainable Sustainable Development ▶ “Seeing Everyone Do More Than Society Would Expect Them”: Social Development, Austerity, and Unstable Resources in South African Community Services ▶ Social Protection and Social Development

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Raniga T, Kasiram MI (2010) The status of social work as perceived by key human service professionals. Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk 46:263–273 Reader J (1998) Africa: a biography of the continent. Penguin, London Schenck R (2009) The socio-economic realities of the social work students of the University of South Africa. Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk 45:299–313 Statistics South Africa (2017) Poverty trends in South Africa: an examination of absolute poverty between 2006 & 2015. http://www.statssa.gov.za/?p=10341. Accessed Mar 2018 Terreblanche SJ (2012) Lost in transformation: South Africa’s search for a new future since 1986. KMM Review Publishing, Johannesburg Tilley M (2016) The condition of market emergence in Indonesia: coloniality as exclusion and translation. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Warwick UNICEF South Africa (2017) Social development budget South Africa 2017–2018. https://www. unicef.org/esaro/UNICEF_South_Africa_%2D%2D_2017_%2D%2D_Social_Development_ Budget_Brief.pdf. Accessed Apr 2018 Walsh C (2007) Shifting the geo-politics of critical knowledge. Cult Stud 21:224–239 Young IM (1990) Justice and the politics of difference. Princeton University Press, Princeton Young IM (2007) Global challenges: war, self-determination and responsibility for justice. Polity Press, Cambridge

Part IV International Comparative Perspectives

Revisiting Social Work with Older People in Chinese Contexts from a Community Development Lens

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When East Meets West Daniel W. L. Lai and Yongxin Ruan

Contents Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Challenges Facing Chinese Older People in Different Contexts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Definition of Community Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Community Development and Social Work Practice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Meanings of Community Development in Chinese Contexts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Community Development with Chinese Immigrant Communities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Community Development with Communities in China . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Theoretical Bases for Community Development with Older People . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ecological System Theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Empowerment Theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Anti-oppressive Practice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Practice Directions for Community Development with Older People in Chinese Contexts . . Aging in Place . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Age-Friendly Communities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . “Gray Power” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Community Development Cases in Chinese Context and Cases Examples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cross-References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Abstract

Community development is an empowering and comprehensive method for social workers to address individual and societal challenges facing Chinese older people. This chapter explores the different meanings of community development in Chinese contexts, including communities in Mainland China and Chinese immigrant communities. When actualizing community development, D. W. L. Lai (*) · Y. Ruan Department of Applied Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China e-mail: [email protected]; [email protected] © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 S. Todd, J. L. Drolet (eds.), Community Practice and Social Development in Social Work, Social Work, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-6969-8_13

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social workers require theories to guide their actions, and this chapter proposes three interrelated theoretical bases: ecological system theory, empowerment theory, and anti-oppressive theory. Based on these theoretical bases, three practice directions are suggested to guide community development at different levels: “aging in place,” “age-friendly community,” and “gray power.” In particular, social workers need to adapt community development approaches to Chinese cultural contexts. Case examples are discussed to illustrate how to implement community development projects with older people in Chinese contexts and the roles of social workers in such projects. Keywords

Older Chinese · China · Community practice · Social change

Introduction Improvements in healthcare and standards of living have resulted in an increase in longevity and in the size of the aging population. With at least one or two decades of life span after official retirement age, many older people are faced with more choices and opportunities to further enhance their own aspirations and enrich their purpose in life. Thus, working with older people should not only focus on remedial interventions that deal with problems and challenges but also on supporting these new aspirations and opportunities. Social work with older people involves different approaches within different sociocultural contexts. From a community development perspective, social work with older adults can take many forms. While some may address problems such as health concerns or social inequity issues, others have focused on empowerment and addressing personal development among aging populations. This chapter will discuss the conceptual bases of community development approaches that are used for working with older people in the community. Focusing on the experience of older people in different Chinese contexts, including Chinese older adults in Chinese societies and older Chinese migrants residing in non-Chinese societies, this chapter will discuss the alignment of community development and its application in social work practice with older people, with attention to the influence of sociocultural context.

Challenges Facing Chinese Older People in Different Contexts As they age, people experience various challenges, on both individual and societal levels. While Chinese older adults in Chinese societies and older Chinese migrants residing in non-Chinese societies face particular challenges associated with their different contexts, they also face some similar challenges. At the individual level, older people, including Chinese older people, face physical, social, and

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psychological challenges associated with increased age. They may experience declining cognition and mobility along with increased likelihood of illness and disabilities (Coyle and Dugan 2012; Lai et al. 2016). Their social network may decrease due to the loss of spouses and friends (Coyle and Dugan 2012), and they may be more likely to experience negative emotions, anxiety, and depression due to physical decline, life transitions, and a decrease in social networks (Parker 2013). Additionally, when older people reflect on their life, they may experience a sense of despair associated with perceived failures and regrets (Parker 2013). At the societal level, challenges facing older people, including Chinese older people, may be associated with environment, infrastructure, and wider social network dynamics. Community-dwelling older people may rely heavily on facilities provided by housing estates (Chan et al. 2016), and social environments that are not sufficiently age-friendly can hinder social interaction (Lai et al. 2016). For example, limited access to transportation can decrease participation in social activities among older people (Lai et al. 2016). Additionally, older people may experience ageism, which refers to stereotypes and discriminations against older people (Harris et al. 2018). Societies convey ageism in various ways, such as media representations of older people as expensive burdens or as vulnerable (Hastings and Rogowski 2014). For example, in Mainland China, though the Chinese tradition emphasizes respect for older people and attaches importance to their contributions, this value is changing (Bai et al. 2016). There is an increasing emphasis on productivity (Bai et al. 2016), which means that the social status of older people is decreasing as they are no longer “productive” after retirement. Additionally, in the context of Mainland China, as a result of the “one-child” policy, the younger generation faces difficulty in providing sufficient filial support for older people, as expected in Chinese tradition. Hence, older people may be viewed as a burden for the family, and when older people internalize this view of being a burden to society and family, they experience a greater risk of depression (Bai et al. 2016). Some older people experience greater challenges and vulnerability associated with aspects of status, such as being an ethnic minority. This experience, known as “multiple jeopardy,” also affects groups of older Chinese adults who are immigrants in societies where Chinese are the ethno-cultural minority population (Chow 2010). Older Chinese immigrants not only face challenges common to older people in general but also experience particular physical, psychological, and social challenges associated with their status as ethnic minorities and immigrants in their new communities. Owing to language differences, cultural conflicts, and racial or ethnic discrimination, older Chinese immigrants may be at greater risk of physical illness (Chow 2010) and feelings of marginalization and other psychological distress, such as depression (Chow 2010; Park 2016). Moreover, worries about being accepted by the majority society can reduce involvement in social life (Park 2016). Healthcare and social services may not be user-friendly, due to a lack of culturally sensitive providers as well as language barriers in organizations (Chow 2010), meaning that older Chinese immigrants may be prevented from using needed services.

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The challenges facing older Chinese adults, both for those in China and for immigrants, at both individual and societal levels illustrate the need for interventions and supports that address the broader systems and structures that cause these issues. Community development, focusing on empowerment and addressing personal development among aging populations, can be effective in addressing physical, psychological, and social challenges.

Definition of Community Development To understand the meaning of community development, it is first important to examine the meaning of “community,” given that different definitions of “community” lead to different interpretations of community development. Two main definitions can be identified. The first is a “place-based” perspective, which views “community” as a geographic place with physical boundaries, comprised of residents, resources on which residents subsist, and processes through which residents distribute and exchange those resources to address their needs (Matarrita-Cascante and Brennan 2012). The second is a “non-place-based” perspective, which focuses on the connections that people share, such as using the same language or having other shared interests (Human Resource Development Canada [HRDC] 1999; Twelvetrees 2017), shaped by boundaries of moral proximity (Green 2016). People may experience both place-based and non-place-based forms of community. For example, older people may be connected with both peers and other age groups within the same neighborhood, as a result of sharing a particular place, while also being connected to other older people in other geographical locations due to commonalities such as challenges, characteristics (including cultural background or migration status), or interests. These two perspectives inform different conceptualizations of community development. Scholars adopting a place-based perspective focus on the management of resources in that geographic community (Green 2016), as communities need to rely on resources to subsist and progress (Matarrita-Cascante and Brennan 2012). For example, Matarrita-Cascante and Brennan (2012, p. 297) define community development as a process that “provides vision, planning, direction, and coordinated action towards desired goals associated with the promotion of efforts aimed at improving the conditions in which local resources operate,” involving efforts to “harness local economic, human and physical resources to secure daily requirement and respond to changing needs and conditions.” Scholars following a non-placebased perspective focus on joint efforts by community members to improve their life circumstance. For example, Meade et al. (2016) define community development as a process through which “ordinary people” make an impact on their living conditions through collective action, while Human Resource Development Canada (1999) interprets community development as a process through which community members take action and propose solutions together to address common challenges. Regardless of the perspective adopted, different community development actors will use different approaches, which can be broadly synthesized into three forms of

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community development (Matarrita-Cascante and Brennan 2012). The first is an “imposed” form of community development, which involves the improvement of community through physical and economic development and is usually promoted by private industry and government actors. The second is a “directed” form of community development, which refers to structural improvement to a community promoted by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) or government, in which community members are invited to participate. The third is a “self-help” form of community development, which implies community members’ own efforts to carry out programs or activities (Matarrita-Cascante and Brennan 2012).

Community Development and Social Work Practice Community development is an important component of social work practice. Community development in social work concentrates on empowering various sections of society, such as creating employment opportunity and promoting gender equality (Dhavaleshwar 2016). Scholars have discussed different roles for social workers in community development, focusing on advocacy and empowerment. For example, Das et al. (2018, p. 389) suggest that social work “has the potential to be mutually supportive to address gaps, design interventions and lobby more influentially for the use of empowering community-based approaches.” Similarly, Gilbert (2014) suggests that through community development, social workers can promote problem-solving in human relationships as well as social change, empowerment, and liberation in order to enhance well-being. Effective community development has been described as having the following characteristics: (1) it is long-term, (2) it is well-planned, (3) it is inclusive and equitable, (4) it is holistic and integrated into the bigger picture, and (5) it is initiated and supported by community members (HRDC 1999). Therefore, social workers should pay attention to these characteristics when planning and promoting community development. Yet, while the conceptualization of community development is mostly situated in “western” cultural contexts, it is also important to address how community development could be realized as part of social work practice in Chinese contexts, which represent the range of different sociocultural and political values emerging among Chinese people residing in different juridical contexts. In the context of this chapter, this includes both Chinese older adults in Chinese societies and older Chinese migrants residing in non-Chinese societies.

Meanings of Community Development in Chinese Contexts Given that social, cultural, and other dynamics in Chinese community contexts are different from those in “western” countries, community development will involve different approaches and focuses in Chinese contexts. Even within Chinese contexts, community development may be understood differently when working with Chinese older adults residing in a Chinese jurisdiction such as Mainland China as compared

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to Chinese immigrants in other countries such as Canada. Even within these groups, identities, challenges, and experiences may differ widely. For example, social, political, and economic contexts affecting aging differ across Chinese jurisdictions, such as in the cases Hong Kong and Mainland China. Similarly, the experiences of older adults in Chinese immigrant communities are shaped by factors such as region, community, and language of origin; social, political, and economic contexts in countries and communities of residence; immigration and settlement policies; ethno-cultural community presence; and so on. The following paragraphs further explore meanings of community development among these diverse groups.

Community Development with Chinese Immigrant Communities When working with Chinese immigrants, practitioners may adopt a non-place-based perspective on community, focusing on immigrants with Chinese nationalities (Yeung and Ng 2011; Yuen 2013), who may live in different geographic locations. Practitioners may have to adapt community development strategies to Chinese cultures, which value social harmony, social relationship, and collective good (Yeung and Ng 2011; Yuen 2013). Yeung and Ng (2011) suggest that concepts such as empowerment, social change, and equality, which are often identified as elements of community development, may not be easily be adopted by Chinese immigrant communities, who may not have been frequently exposed to these western values. Although it has been argued that actions focusing on collective good and collective responsibility may be more acceptable (Yeung and Ng 2011), social workers can play important roles in facilitating mobilization and socialization with immigrants from Chinese cultural contexts, in order to achieve the desire for change as well as processes of individual as well as collective empowerment. For example, Yuen (2013) describes a community development project in Canada in which Chinese immigrants volunteer in building a low-income senior and new immigrant residence and community center. Participants enjoyed the socialization aspects of this project, which strengthened their social relationships and contributed to solidarity within the community. Family-like connections among Chinese immigrations in turn provided sources of support that serve to strengthen social relationships (Yuen 2013). Therefore, it is believed that empowerment and equity could also be achieved via focusing on collective efforts and collective goods, reflecting a broader conception of “empowerment” (beyond only individual dimensions).

Community Development with Communities in China When working with Chinese residents in China, the contemporary political situation and structures means that “community” is generally interpreted as a geographic place administrated by a Residents’ Committee and Street Office (Bray 2006). There are three characteristics of this understanding of community: (1) each community has a territorial space, (2) the nature and functions of the community are determined

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by the government, and (3) the community performs administrative roles (Bray 2006). This specific definition of “community” means that community development has its own meanings in China, shaped by political, economic, and historical dynamics. Since the breakdown of the work unit system (a system intended to facilitate social regulation and provide social welfare in the early developmental stage of Modern China (He and Lv 2007)), the community has had to take on functions that were originally performed by the work unit system (Li 2013). Additionally, with the increasing number of rural migrant workers in urban centers (Bray 2006), a process of “community building” has been proposed, adapted from the concept of community development (Li 2013). Therefore, community development in China often refers to community building, in which the community takes care of various issues (e.g., welfare services, environment, education, grassroots democracy) in order to “promote social development, raise living standards, expand grassroots democracy and maintain urban stability” (see Bray 2006, p. 536). In this sense, community building is, in a way, an imposed form of community development because it is the administrative offices that take on responsibilities to improve the environment in communities, focusing not only on the physical and economic environment but also welfare service provision and cultivation of grassroots organizations in community building. Some grassroots organizations have also been initiated and governed by community members in China. For example, the Owners’ Committee was set up by residents, through which they deal mainly with issues in their living areas with their own efforts (Li 2013), reflecting to some extent a “self-help” approach to community development. However, the Owners’ Committee is supervised by the Residents’ Committee (State Council of the People’s Republic of China 2016). Therefore, community development in China is mainly promoted by administrative offices in each community, focusing on physical and social environment improvement.

Theoretical Bases for Community Development with Older People When approaching community development work with older people, theories provide the frameworks to enable practitioners to understand events and generate strategies for practice (Phillips and Pittman 2014). The following sections examine three main frameworks that inform understandings of and approaches to community development with older people as part of social work practice: ecological system theory, empowerment theory, and anti-oppressive practice.

Ecological System Theory Ecological system theory provides a framework for understanding the interaction between different levels of systems that comprise both the environment and people

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(Menec et al. 2011). The first level is the microsystem, which refers to a person’s immediate surroundings, such as family. The next is the mesosystem, which involves the connections between two or more microsystems, such as the interaction between peers and family. This is followed by the exosystem, referring to the social settings that have indirect effects on individuals, such as workplaces, and then by the macrosystem, which consists of larger contexts such as social values and cultural beliefs. The broadest level is the chronosystem, which refers to a person’s life transitions or historical events in society. Systems in all levels interact with each other (Paat 2013). As community development deals with aspects of the environment, ecological system theory provides a way to comprehensively examine the influence of environments (at different scales) on older people and serves as a guideline to improve these environments. For example, ecological system theory has been used to understand how environmental factors influence the participation of older people in community activities (Greenfield and Mauldin 2017).

Empowerment Theory Empowerment refers to a process of “letting client, group or community have as much control as possible over the change processes they are involved in” (see Vongchavalitkul 2015, p. 14). Empowerment theory emphasizes the participation of community members in the change process, to ensure that they have the power to control this process. As a result of structural challenges, older people, especially those experiencing “multiple jeopardy,” may be marginalized from gaining resources and opportunities, which can lead to a sense of powerlessness. Therefore, empowerment theory can provide a framework for social workers to facilitate the involvement of older people in community change projects, through which these older people can enhance their resources and address their own needs (Irving 2015).

Anti-oppressive Practice Anti-oppressive practice is an approach to work with people who are oppressed by structural inequalities such as poverty and racism, and creating changes to correct the oppressive status is important (Dominelli 1998). This is closely related to empowerment theory, as both pay attention to addressing inequalities resulting from power differences in relationships. Therefore, anti-oppressive practice is often used alongside empowerment-focused approaches. Societal stereotypes regarding older people mean that they often face oppression. For example, people with dementia might be deprived the right to make their own decisions by carers because they are viewed as people with poor cognitive functions (Martin and Younger 2000). Therefore, it is important for practitioners to support the establishment of anti-oppressive environments for older people.

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These three interrelated theories highlight principles of community development such as empowerment, social justice, participation, and so on. Together, they can serve to guide the design and operation of community development projects for older people. For example, ecological system theory could be used to raise awareness among older people to examine the influences of their environments (e.g., barriers that lead to inequality, comprising a key element of anti-oppressive practice) or used as a guideline to improve aspects of these environments. As part of community development processes, empowerment can serve as a framework to facilitate the participation of older people and enhance their abilities to cope with and address community issues. It should be noted that when applying these three theories, the different meanings of community development in Chinese contexts should be considered, based on the specific experiences and challenges of older adults in Chinese jurisdictions as well as older Chinese immigrants in other places. For example, the concept of empowerment and anti-oppression could be adapted to emphasize the principle of collective good in community development with Chinese older people. In these ways, social workers can “normalize” community issues and raise awareness among older people about how they, as a group, are disadvantaged by the environments in which they live and potential strategies for change.

Practice Directions for Community Development with Older People in Chinese Contexts The following paragraphs introduce three broad practice directions for operationalizing community development in working with older people – aging in place, age-friendly communities, and “gray power” – with a focus on their implementation within the general Chinese cultural context.

Aging in Place Aging in place (AIP) refers to “the ability of older adults to live in their homes or communities as long as possible” (see Lehning et al. 2017, p. 235). AIP aims to enable older people to maintain their social relationships and daily lifestyle in an environment with which they are familiar, which also facilitates independence and a sense of control over their lives (Iecovich 2014). Several theories support the concept of AIP and guide its operationalization. The “theory of insideness” focuses on people’s attachment to place along three dimensions: physical (sense of environmental control), social (social relationships), and autobiographical (attachment to place, developed from memories that shape self-identity) (Iecovich 2014). Older people develop strong ties to a place along these three dimensions (Iecovich 2014) and have a high willingness to age in their communities. Empowerment theory focuses on helping older people age in place by promoting participation and autonomy (Mcdonough and Davitt 2011). Person-in-environment theory supports

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the realization of AIP by focusing on mutual interactions between individual and environment: individuals are influenced by their environment but can influence the environment at the same time (Weiss-Gal 2008). Practitioners can assist older people to adapt to their environment (aging in place) by realizing their potentials and mobilizing the community to support adaptation. Scholars have described a “village” model to realize the concept of AIP, referring to grassroots organizations that are formed, governed, and served by residents in the community (such as community-dwelling older people) (Mcdonough and Davitt 2011; Scharlach et al. 2012). Those nonprofit organizations provide services for older people in the community through volunteers, generally focused on nonprofessional services such as housekeeping, transportation, etc. (Mcdonough and Davitt 2011). Social workers can play several roles in promoting AIP (Scharlach et al. 2012). As community organizers, social workers can help to foster a sense of commitment to the community and mobilize and support residents to provide assistance for older people in the community. As assessors, social workers not only help community members to understand their challenges and make plans but also help them to evaluate the strengths and resources they have and to use their abilities to support older people. As brokers, social workers connect community members with resources to assist them (Scharlach et al. 2012). The village model reveals a key concept of AIP: mobilizing community members to help community-dwelling older people adapting to place. The process of building, mobilizing, and utilizing capacity of community members to assist older people in the community aligns with Chinese cultural and political situations, illustrating its applicability in Chinese contexts. First, it reflects an emphasis on the collective good. Second, as the community shoulders the responsibility for development, this requires joint efforts from residents (Yan 2011). In China, for example, administrative offices encourage self-help from residents to reduce the burden of solving problems in communities, including by cultivating grassroots organizations, which relies on mobilizing, building, and utilizing the capacity of community members. One way to do this is by promoting volunteering, as volunteers acquire knowledge and skills as well as utilizing their abilities in this process (Akingbola et al. 2013). Social workers can improve the commitment of community members to be volunteers, by mobilizing them, assessing their existing strengths, and enriching their knowledge and skills through training (Guo 2018). Scholars and practitioners in China have emphasized the importance of recruiting volunteers to assist communitydwelling older people, such as a project in which the “young-old” assist the “old-old,” which involves cultivating “young-old” volunteer teams who are trained to apply their knowledge and skills to assist “old-old” people with daily living (e.g., meal delivery) and mental health (e.g., reducing loneliness through home visits) (Hong 2012).

Age-Friendly Communities Age-friendly communities (AFCs) focus more on the influence of the environment, referring to “policies, services, settings and structures support and enable people to

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age actively” (World Health Organization [WHO] 2007). This involves a focus on both the physical and social environment in the community (including issues such as safety, accessibility, and stereotypes) across eight interacting domains: transportation, housing, outdoor spaces and buildings, social participation and interactions, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, communication and information, and community support and health services (WHO 2007). Two theories can be used to interpret and support AFC. First, the personenvironment fit perspective assumes that people are likely to be maladapted if there is a low level of fit between their needs and environment (Park et al. 2017), indicating that environment plays a crucial role in individual’s adaptation. Therefore, “even those who have limited resources and capability can age optimally if environmental characteristics support them in a way that compensates for their limitations or lack of resources” (see Park et al. 2017, p. 1328). In this sense, an age-friendly environment is helpful for vulnerable older people to age well because, for example, it compensates for personal limitations such as disability by building lifts to increase mobility. Second, ecological system theory reveals interactions between people and various systems in the environment (Menec et al. 2011), which is highlighted in AFC efforts. For example, social participation influences social inclusion, but social participation depends on the accessibility of outdoor spaces (WHO 2007). The achievement of AFCs relies on addressing issues such as commitment, capacity, collaboration, and consumer involvement (Scharlach and Lehning 2016), in which social workers can play a role. First, it is important to improve commitment of relevant stakeholders to facilitate change in a community, and social workers can help to reduce ageism and enhance awareness of the importance of building AFCs. Second, social workers can serve as educators to enhance community capacity for developing and implementing AFC change processes. Third, since change processes require joint efforts from various stakeholders, social workers can be mediators to facilitate stakeholder collaboration. Creating AFCs relies on interdisciplinary collaboration between various stakeholders. However, this is not easy to create and sustain, and social workers require skills and knowledge (and thus training) to lead collaboration (Garcia et al. 2010). Finally, social workers can facilitate the involvement of older people in developing AFCs, which is important because it can support greater responsiveness to community needs, capacity building, and empowerment, as well as enhanced use of existing and new programs and services (Scharlach and Lehning 2016). As Rémillard-Boilard et al. (2017) note, the inclusion and participation of older people in developing an age-friendly community is important to achieve age-friendliness. For example, in an age-friendly project in Guangzhou, China (Lai et al. 2017), older people in different communities were invited to take part in sharing views and generating ideas about how to make their community more age-friendly. However, Chinese older people may have different perspectives on community participation. For example, older people in China do not have strong sense of citizenship and may have limited understanding of the importance of community participation and thus may have low willingness to participate in community initiatives (Zhao and Huo 2018). Older Chinese immigrants, who value

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social relationships where trust is developed, may not be willing to participate in activities that do not include people they trust (Yeung and Ng 2011). Therefore, social workers should explore and address potential barriers to the participation of Chinese older people as part of AFC initiatives.

“Gray Power” “Gray power” (GP) is a term mentioned frequently in policy and refers to the political power that older people have (Davidson 2012). As the number of older people is increasing and the new generation of older people has higher awareness of improving public services through political actions, their influence on policy is increasing (Davidson 2012). In response to structural barriers such as ageism, older people can use their “gray power” to improve their community and society. Two theories support the idea of GP and provide insights into its operationalization. Anti-oppressive practice considers how people are deprived of power due to structural inequalities (Dominelli 1998), and this perspective can assist older people to aware of the oppressions they are facing and understand how their powers are restricted. Empowerment theory includes three levels, micro, mezzo, and macro, and macro-level empowerment focuses on influencing resource distribution through collective action (Kruger 2000), revealing a process through which older people can use their power to fight for more resources. Social workers can play important roles in assisting older people to exert their power. First, social workers can be educators to raise awareness of how structure barriers lead to particular challenges and problems (Mchugh 2012) and can support and strengthen older people’s abilities to access information and take action (Inaba 2016). Second, social workers can serve as facilitators to bring older people together and support them to generate solutions and seek policy changes (Inaba 2016). For some older Chinese adults in Mainland China, some moderate strategies to address community issues may be preferred, due to their sociocultural and political upbringing. For instance, one approach used by community workers and researchers is photovoice and may be considered. This is a qualitative research method that enables people to record (through photographs) and reflect on strengths and concerns in their communities, promotes critical thinking about the influence of environment on individuals through discussion of photographs, and reaches who can make changes such as policy makers through the exhibition of photographs (Sitter 2017). When discussing their photographs, participants reflect on how they relate to their lives; the reasons for which a problem, concern, or strength exists; and what can be done about it (Sitter 2017). Individuals are empowered by voicing their concerns and raising awareness of concerns in the community and among policy makers (Sitter 2017), which can lead to policy changes. Chui et al. (2019) describe a photovoice project to raise civic awareness among older people in Hong Kong. Older people received training on skills such as theme identification and presentation, and a public photo exhibition was launched to raise public awareness. This enhanced participants’ ability and willingness to

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participate in community and civic affairs. In this way, social workers can support and facilitate the empowerment of older people and maintain an equal position with participants throughout the process (Sitter 2017). These three practice directions are interrelated and show a progressive relationship. AIP focuses more on individuals’ adaptation to the environment, at the micro level, while AFC emphasizes improving physical and social environment in the community for older people, at the mezzo level. Lastly, GP focuses on policy and political changes, at the macro level. Through engagement with these three practice directions, social workers can support community development processes with older people in a comprehensive way.

Conclusion Chinese older people encounter various challenges, from individual to societal levels, illustrating the need for comprehensive responses beyond the individual level. Social workers can apply the practice of community development in working with Chinese older people, representing an approach to intervention and support that addresses broader systems and structures and focus on empowerment and personal development among aging populations. This chapter has explored definitions of community development and its meanings, with a focus on diverse Chinese contexts, including those of Chinese older adults in Mainland China and Chinese immigrants in non-Chinese societies. Three interrelated practice directions, including aging in place, age-friendly communities, and “gray power,” provide insight into how social workers can engage in community development processes with older people, including in Chinese contexts.

Community Development Cases in Chinese Context and Cases Examples The following describes two cases of community development projects with older Chinese immigrants, which integrate the concepts of empowerment theory and antioppressive practice. The two cases reveal how social workers can apply these two concepts in community development with Chinese older people and the roles they can take on in such projects. One particular challenge that older Chinese immigrants may experience concerns elder abuse when living with adult children and their families. They may tend to hide abuse due to a fear that their children would desert them and the cultural belief of not disclosing family matters to outsiders. As a result, there may be little awareness of this issue among community members. In a community development project in Canada (Lai and Luk 2012), raising awareness of elder abuse among Chinese older people and their children was the goal. Some Chinese older people were invited to talk about incidences of elder abuse and then were involved in group discussions to

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generate solutions for educating community members about this issue. They decided to design a comic book to present the problem of elder abuse, as they thought that pictures would be easier to comprehend than words and would be readable for older people with low literacy capacities. Social workers invited some experts to design the comic book with the older participants, and the comic books were distributed to various elderly centers. This case integrates the concept of empowerment. Social workers empowered Chinese older people by raising their awareness of an important community issue and supporting those older people to take action to tackle this issue. Throughout the project, Chinese older people were responsible for discussing the issue, generating solutions, and implementing those solutions. Social workers acted as facilitators and brokers (linking participants to resources). The most challenging part was raising awareness of elder abuse among older Chinese immigrants – an important step in the empowerment process – because it contrasted with Chinese cultural concerns. Therefore, social workers needed to normalize the issue and ensure that Chinese older people were aware that this issue influenced their wellbeing. The second case involves a project to involve Chinese older people in Calgary, Canada, into combatting discrimination. In 2003, there was a SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak in Calgary, and some members of the public thought that Chinese people had brought the virus to their city. Older Chinese immigrants not only experienced public discrimination, but also worried about their vulnerability to SARS. In this case, workers at a Chinese Senior Center brought the Chinese older people together to discuss the issue and later launched a public meeting with representatives of government health officials and local politicians to discuss how to reduce public stereotypes toward SARS and the Chinese community. In this case, social workers applied the concept of empowerment and antioppressive practice. Chinese older people were supported to take collective action and expressed their perspectives in order to reduce public stereotypes. Through this process, their capacity to express and present opinions and discussion skills were improved, and their social networks were strengthened or extended. Social workers serve as mediators in discussions between Chinese older people, Health Authority officers, and legislative counselors. Social workers also took on roles as facilitators and brokers to support Chinese older people to take collective action and provide necessary resources. These two cases illustrate that when social workers carry out community development projects with Chinese older people, they can serve as facilitators to raise awareness of community issues and as brokers to link older people with resources such as networks with other professionals, in order to support Chinese older people to deliver collective action. However, given the increasing educational level of Chinese older people, their awareness of their rights and possibilities to mobilize through community development may be stronger, and social workers may work less in the facilitator role and more as brokers to support those older people to improve their well-being through their own collective action.

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Cross-References ▶ Anti-oppressive Community Work Practice and the Decolonization Debate ▶ Asset-Based and Place-Based Community Development ▶ Community Development in Greening the Cities ▶ Community Development, Policy Change, and Austerity in Ireland ▶ Community Practice in a Context of Precarious Immigration Status ▶ Environmental Injustices Faced by Resettled Refugees ▶ Wise Indigenous Community Development Principles and Practices

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Contents Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Changing Nature of Communities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Community Development Agents and Approaches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Common Strategies for Community Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Main Areas Covered Under Community Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Some Challenges in Community Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cross-References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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By recognizing the increasing focus on community development projects and programs, this chapter discusses the concept and changing nature of communities and various agents (people and communities, faith-based organizations and charities, government and nongovernment organization, corporates and philanthropies/foundations) engaged in and approaches used for community development activities. Further, in a summary form, the chapter looks at important strategies for and a range of community development activities. Finally, it points out some of the important challenges such as enhancing participation, dealing with top-down approaches, a lack of consultation, incongruence between needs and programs, low uptake of or dependency on services, a lack of coordination, elite capture, and reaching out to rural and remote areas in community development work with a hope that these challenges can be proactively overcome to sustain community development activities. M. Pawar (*) School of Humanities, International Consortium for Social Development, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia e-mail: [email protected] © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 S. Todd, J. L. Drolet (eds.), Community Practice and Social Development in Social Work, Social Work, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-6969-8_14

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Keywords

Community development · Community development approaches · Community development programs/projects · Community development workers · Community development issues

Introduction This chapter discusses the concept and changing nature of communities; community development agents, approaches, and activities; and some key challenges encountered in community development work. From a normative perspective, for the purpose of this chapter, community development is defined as “a participatory people-centered process that involves bringing together, mobilizing or organizing people, keeping them together and enabling them to work together to address their needs and issues and thus to facilitate their own, their communities’ and society’s comprehensive development” (Pawar 2010). However, this chapter does not suggest that community development is always or often practiced according to this definition, though it ought to be. By briefly referring to an increasing focus on community development policies and programs, in the first part, it discusses the concept of community and changing nature of communities. In the second part, it introduces community development agents, approaches, and strategies. In the third part, it briefly summarizes a range of community development activities. In the final section, it points out some of the challenges with a hope to addressing them to sustain community development work. In terms of both policy and practice, community development has remerged as an important area of practice to enhance the quality of life in developed and developing countries (Craig et al. 2011; Gilchrist and Taylor 2016; Mowbray 2011; Pawar 2010). Governments’ recent policies and programs clearly demonstrate the significance and utilization of community development approaches (Hautekeur 2005; Ministry of Local Government 2008; World Bank 2016; Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet 2019). For example, in Australia and New Zealand, current policies emphasize building social capital and strengthening communities and encourage partnerships among various sectors to practice community development (Department of Family and Community services 2000; Cabinet Office 2000; Casswell 2001; Department of Internal Affairs 2002; Casswell and Stewart 1989; Conway et al. 2000; Mowbray 2011). The People’s Republic of China now emphasizes people-centered development. China’s 11th 5-year plan aims to construct a New Socialist Countryside that requires people’s and local government agencies’ participation (Xu and Chow 2006; World Bank 2007). The Ministry of Rural Development in India is implementing large-scale development programs that require active participation of local-level communities in coordination with “Gram Panchayats” (institutions of local self-governance) (Government of India 2006, 2011). Singapore has a separate ministry for community development. Thailand’s Department of Community Development in the Ministry of Interior and Ninth

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National Economic and Social Development Plan emphasizes people-centered development suggesting the importance of community development (Food and Agriculture Organisation 2003). In the Philippines, the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) has developed KALAHI (Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan, Linking Arms Against Poverty) and microfinance programs and strategies (NAPC 2002), which essentially use community development approaches in implementing them. The World Bank had 199 active community-driven development projects in 78 countries (World Bank 2016, 2018). These and similar policies, programs, and projects suggest that there is an increasing focus on community development, though the nature of community itself is changing in some respects. There are a number of sociological definitions of community (Hillery 1955), but they do not capture the current changing nature of communities. The available community development texts (e.g., Popple 1995; Campfens 1997; Felix and Rivera 1992; Gangrade 2001; Hardcastle et al. 2004; Henderson et al. 2004; Homan 2003; Ife 2018; Kenny 2007; Weil et al. 2004; Stepney and Popple 2008; Twelvetrees 2008; Pawar 2014) do not discuss broad community development approaches and activities. Campfens (1997), in his edited book, Community Development Around the World, examines community development in Canada, the Netherlands, Israel, Ghana, Bangladesh, and Chile and identifies common trends and changing priorities and argues that “the social values and principles that underlie community development have not changed” with a few exceptions. Hautekeur’s (2005) analysis shows broad community development trends in Europe and differences between European countries. Hautekeur concludes that despite national differences, many European countries appear to agree in regard to the process of participation, empowerment, and structural transformation. Thus this chapter, by briefly analyzing the concept and changing nature of community, looks at community development agents, approaches, and activities and points out critical challenges in community development work.

Changing Nature of Communities Contemporary communities may be understood in terms of three overlapping types that may or may not be connected to each other. The first and most fundamental aspects of community are people and place in terms of geography or locality close or distant and mutual or otherwise interaction among people that creates a relative sense of belongingness and attachment both with people and the place. In the second type, there are communities of people without any specified geographic locality, but their sense of community is developed due to common background, interests, or issues such as religion, ethnicity, place of origin, language, sports or hobbies, disability, child care, youth, aging, and other factors. The second type may be labeled as targetand/or interest-based community. The third type is a virtual community that has spread the community net by drastically reducing time and space, where interactions occur and relationships develop with or without physical proximity and beyond

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geographic locality. Before delineating these three types of communities, it may be useful to clarify the concept of community. The term, community, is a general, complex, and comprehensive one as different people and professionals use it in different ways for different purposes. Effrat (1974) rightly commented that “much of the problem in identifying the various definitions lies in separating the content of the conception from value-laden imagery of warmth and camaraderie attached to it in many cases.” Hillery’s (1955) analysis of 94 definitions of community showed the three most common elements of the concept of community. These were geographic area, common ties, and social interaction. Understanding these three basic elements of the community is crucial because, traditionally, locality of the community, social interactions among people, and common ties among them were often used for community organization and development activities. Similarly, recent authors of two community development textbooks (Stepney and Popple 2008; Ife 2018) have discussed the concept of community in terms of five core characteristics. These are size of the population, commonality among people, identity and belonging, primary relationship and attachment, and local culture. A shift from defining community to describing community characteristics suggests difficulties in capturing the dynamic objective and subjective phenomena of the community. In contemporary modern and postmodern life, do we have communities with these characteristics or do we live in such communities? In the progressive twentyfirst century, with the baggage of successful colonization and subjugation of local populations; significant achievement of industrialization, modernization, production, and prosperity; urbanization, controlled preferential intake of migrant populations from several countries and all continents, and their settlement; and politicization, the constitution of community appears to be complex, challenging, and diffused. As people’s lifestyles have changed, so have their communities and their conception of their community. For example, people who live in highly urbanized and so-called developed centers, where individuals are heavily engaged in their work and themselves without knowing who their neighbors are and what is happening in their neighborhood, cannot fit in the traditional meaning of the community that focuses on locality, belonging, and local culture. But such peoples’ sense of belonging lies elsewhere, not necessarily in the locality. The new concept and reconstruction of the community must reflect the constantly changing nature of people and their communities. The first type of community, which is geographic- or locality-based community, appears to be under threat and likely to gradually disappear, if no conscious efforts are made to retain it, due to three social phenomena (Putnam 2000; Pawar 2003). First, generally, in developed societies, individualism and self-centeredness appear to be deeply widespread. People tend to meet most of their needs in the (super) market, preoccupy with themselves, and use extreme freedom and liberty to acquire power, position, wealth, and possessions. Large segments of these societies seem to be struggling and may need to rely quite heavily on community, particularly as the state has turned to community as a mechanism for governance. Second, new forms of targeted or interest-based communities, which focus on specific goals, targets,

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and/or interests, include refugees, migrants and illegal immigrants, alcoholics and drug addicts, gays and lesbians, youth, physically challenged, greens, nature and wildlife lovers, minorities, and so on, are emerging, and such communities often tend to be narrowly focused and limited to specific interests. Due to the growth of individualism under the increasing influence of neoliberalism, emerging interestbased and narrowly focused communities and several other complex factors and social processes such as the Internet and social media, traditional forms of communities, as stated earlier, appear to be almost weakening (Pawar 2010). The third type is a virtual or digital community. Due to the widespread use of information technology, the Internet, and social media, the community web has expanded worldwide by drastically reducing time and space. Virtual community interactions occur, and relationships develop with or without physical proximity and beyond geographic locality. People can express solidarity from different corners of the world for a particular cause (e.g., disaster recovery, crowdfunding, climate change). These three types of communities delineated above and their dynamic nature need to be taken into consideration in community development policies, programs, and practices.

Community Development Agents and Approaches A wide variety and range of agents are engaged in community development, and they may be categorized into six types. First, some community development activities/projects are initiated and led by communities themselves. In this, people from the local community and people from community-based organizations are the main agents. Each group comes together to organize and address their needs and issues with or without the support of government organizations (GOs) and nongovernment organizations (NGOs). Decision-making control remains within the community as generally the activities are people-centered and participatory, and they address felt needs and issues of the community. For example, people who come together to donate their labor to build temples, to maintain community centers, or to organize fundraising events are interested in addressing the particular needs and issues of the community. Second, a large number of faith-based organizations and charities are engaged in community development activities. Some examples include The Salvation Army, some services of The Benevolent Society, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Brotherhood of St Laurence, and other similar religious- or faith-based organizations (Benevolent Society 2006; BSL 2009). The main motivation of faith-based organizations and charities is compassion and charity, stemming from a genuine interest in giving something to others to provide immediate relief, if possible. They have built worshipping places (e.g., churches and temples), hospitals, and educational institutions and undertake service delivery of social service, health, and educational programs. Third, some NGOs, including international nongovernment organizations (INGOs), are significantly engaged in community development activities. Generally,

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some local-level NGOs relate well with people and the community and serve in mediation roles between government and people, advocate on behalf of them, and facilitate the participation of people and communities (Boulding 2010; Ui et al. 2010). Local NGOs tend to focus on service delivery and enhancing access to services. When large NGOs/INGOs act like government bureaucracy through service delivery agreements, depend on government funding, and act as per the wishes of the government, the integrity of the work may be compromised due to the funding obligations (Tortajada 2016). Fourth, under the state-initiated and state-led community development approach, including the United Nations, governments are the major agents as they plan, fund, and implement community development activities by employing government bureaucracy at various levels. Since governments have power, authority, and resources, it may be possible for them to cover a huge area, maintain uniform standards and procedures, and achieve redistribution to some extent. However, government tends to have a heavy top-down orientation, or at least it is perceived in that way, which often results in a mismatch between the needs of people and the top-down generalized approach, and may fail to engage communities at local levels and ensure sustainability. Many governments also administer grant-in-aid programs, where governments provide grants to NGOs and charities, and some faith-based organizations and NGOs compete for these grants. This suggests that there is a complex funding relationship between GOs and NGOs and sometimes it can be used as a controlling mechanism and may compromise independent thinking of NGOs (Lee 2016). Fifth, corporate bodies, philanthropies, trusts, and foundations are also significantly engaged in community development activities. They also fund other organizations as well as directly engage with communities. Some undertake these activities as part of their corporate social responsibility. While some may genuinely contribute to public good, others may have mixed motivations (e.g., marketing company products, making reparations for environmental damages, public relations, etc.). Finally, the sixth is known as public-private partnerships for community development programs and projects. This partnership emphasizes the contributions of governments, business, NGOs, and community to community development programs and projects. Community development is seen as the responsibility of all the partners. It may be interpreted as a significant shift from rights to duties and as locating the cause in individuals. Although there are guidelines for forming functional partnerships, it is a problematic approach if the partners are unequal and if one partner (e.g., government or corporate) dominates the others in terms of power dynamics (Burkett and Ruhunda 2010). Each one of these community development agents has its own strengths and weaknesses, and each community’s needs and context are different. In reality, the actions of these agents overlap as they are interconnected. Thus, a combination of these agents may be seen as ideal rather than relying on only one agent. The community development activities and projects of each of the six agents appear to be influenced by different approaches. The following is a brief discussion of these six approaches. The community-driven development (CDD) approach is led

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by the World Bank as a funder and designer of the approach. The World Bank (2009, 2018) claims that the CDD approach “gives control over planning decisions and investment resources to community groups and local governments by following the principles of local empowerment, participatory governance, demand-responsiveness, administrative autonomy, greater downward accountability, and enhanced local capacity” (see also World Bank 2018). Microfinance, disability, youth inclusion, natural resource management, and urban development are the main areas of activity (World Bank 2006a, 2007a, 2018). Although the World Bank claims a large number of beneficiaries (World Bank 2018), it is not clear how this approach engages with regional, national, and international levels and how the CDD approach includes the most disadvantaged and marginalized in its activities. Second, the rights-based approach is employed by many INGOs (e.g., CARE and Oxfam) as well as NGOs, UN programs, national institutions, and bilateral agencies. This approach aims to realize human rights by placing emphasis on rights and responsibilities and human dignity rather than charity and by directly addressing the causes of poverty (Pawar 2010). It is based on the ethical stance that all human beings are entitled to certain minimum standards (Kapur and Duvvury 2008). One of the limitations of the rights-based approach stems from the controversy surrounding the application of human rights such as the questioning of the universality of human rights, particularly in the context of cultural relativism (Uvin 2004). Third, the asset-based community development approach is mainly employed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Coady Institute, and Ford Foundation. Essentially, it draws from the strength-based approach that recognizes and builds on existing communities’ assets, which mainly include the assets of individuals and groups, local associations and institutions, the local physical aspects and economy, formal and informal relationships, and skills and capacities among all participants (Blickem et al. 2018; Russell 2015; Serrat 2017). It is very much rooted in the local setting and aims to employ such assets for community development rather than being preoccupied with needs and problems (see Foster and Mathie 2001). However, it is not explicit about how it addresses vulnerability and influences policies, institutions, and processes. Fourth, the main drivers of the sustainable livelihoods approach are the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Institute of Development Studies in the United Kingdom. According to the DFID (1999), “a livelihood is sustainable when it can cope with and recover from stresses and shocks, and maintain or enhance its capabilities and assets both now and in the future, while not undermining the natural resource base.” One of the main issues addressed through this approach is poverty reduction by focusing on people. It is closely linked to participatory people-centered development and complements top-down and bottom-up strategies. The fifth approach may be conceived as a sectoral approach to community development, often used by government departments, that focuses on education, health, housing, economic development, welfare, and as sectors. Government departments focus on community development activities according to their sectors, which may be bureaucratic yet a practical way of organizing and administering

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community development activities. However, as all sectors do not have the same importance, one sector may be less prioritized than the other or one sector may dominate over others. For example, the economic development sector may be granted higher priority than the social sector that includes welfare and culture, and this may contribute to uneven community development. The sixth approach to community development is local-level social development (Pawar 2014; Pawar and Cox 2010) which essentially draws on theories of social development and aims to promote values and principles based on comprehensive, local people-centered community development that includes multiple levels and all sectors (Cox and Pawar 2013; Pawar 2014). Although the UN policies and programs refer to social development, it often distinguishes between economic and social development, except for the current focus on the sustainable development goals. By locating at the grassroots-level communities, the local-level social development approach focuses on multi-sectoral development to achieve a comprehensive community development, where social and economic development activities are equally emphasized in an integrated manner (Pawar 2019a). Many development agencies and governments are yet to follow this approach. Depending upon the funding agencies and implementers, a combination of these approaches is employed. Although the nomenclature of these approaches varies, many of their features are common and some overlap. Thus, many of these approaches can be combined. They all emphasize participation, empowerment, and people-centered development and open up opportunities for complementing bottom-up and top-down approaches to community development, though to what extent these are practiced in the field is an open question.

Common Strategies for Community Development Depending upon the nature of the community and community development activity, diverse strategies are employed to foster desired outputs and outcomes. First, it is important to understand and to consider the community perspective in terms of current conditions, needs, and issues as identified by community members themselves and as revealed by systematic research. Second, it is also important to raise awareness. When people are made aware of current conditions, and causes, they generally begin to think and to act to address these causes. In addition to raising awareness, it is important to identify functional leaders, and to facilitate their leadership development, so as to engage them in community development activities. Leaders, and others, may be employed as catalysts to mobilize people and form groups, which may grow into community-based organizations. Self-help groups are another example of such groups. Community development activities require human and material resources, and it is crucial to mobilize such resources. The participation of people in community development activities from a bottom-up perspective is critical, and while the bottom-up approach may not always be practical, it is crucial to complement top-down approaches with bottom-up approaches (see Pawar 2014, 2019a).

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The Main Areas Covered Under Community Development Community development projects and activities cover 24 areas, which are listed in Table 1. These areas are listed in alphabetical order because they are all equally important. The list is neither exhaustive nor inclusive of all areas of community development such that some important aspects may have been overlooked. Agriculture is a major area of community development practice; includes a range of activities such as extension work, watershed development, and adopting and adapting improved farming practices; and has great potential for further advancement. In many developing countries, agriculture accounts for 40% of gross domestic product and 80% for employment (World Bank 2007b). About 70% of poor people live in rural areas, and most of them depend upon agriculture for their livelihoods (World Bank 2007b). This area is gaining increasing significance due to mechanization, food insecurity, and climate change issues and closely connected to other areas such as water, irrigation, and natural resource management. Cooperatives, though successful, generally, appear to meet the needs of the better off sections of the society and restricted to only members (Attwood and Baviskar 1993). However, by employing cooperative principles and processes, a number of cooperatives have been developed to productively engage disadvantaged groups such as street children and scavengers (Medina 2000). Developing community infrastructure is an important community development activity found in both urban and rural areas. It includes building and repairing roads, bridges, community centers, and worshiping places according to the needs of the community (Guggenheim et al. 2004). A number of INGOs and NGOs are active in promoting and practicing community forestry to raise awareness among various stakeholders (community members, groups, local bodies, and NGOs) and develop necessary policies and procedures and to make decisions by organizing and involving community people in order to sustain forests and livelihoods, particularly for Table 1 The main areas covered under community development The main areas of community development Agriculture Cooperatives Community infrastructure Community forestry Cultural activities Development and displacement Disasters and displacement Education Environmental concerns (natural resource management) Health Housing Indigenous populations

Information and communication Technology infrastructure Local institutions Microfinance/microcredit Migrants and refugees Organizing delivery of services Post-conflict situations Poverty alleviation Social enterprise Urban community renewal Vulnerable groups Water and sanitation Youth development

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poor people (Pawar 2010). Focusing on cultural activities helps to bring people together and mobilize them for various other community development activities. It may include singing, dance, music, festivals, and learning languages according to the interests and needs of people in diverse communities, including Indigenous communities (Hazare 2003). Some development projects, such as building dams, growing industry sites, and constructing roads, bridges, and buildings, often result in the forced displacement of local populations, and resettling them in a new place requires significant community development activities (see the World Commission on Dams 2000; Fuggle et al. 2000 cited from Stanley 2004). Similarly, the impacts of disasters on people’s lives are often severe and long-term and require relief and rehabilitation efforts using community development activities. In a broad sense, all forms of education, including formal, informal, and adult education, have been instrumental in raising awareness of people and mobilizing them for a range of community development activities. Environmental needs and issues, including natural resource management, are emerging as an important area for community development projects. These include activities pertaining to air, land, forestry, agriculture, water, energy, and tourism, and these are closely connected to climate change mitigation and adaptation issues and may also, of course, overlap and interact. For example, community forestry and ecotourism are community development strategies employed to address significant health inequities affecting diverse groups (e.g., immigrant and refugee populations) and to facilitate access to health services. The provision of affordable and accessible housing is a significant challenge in many countries. Community housing, social housing, slum rehabilitation projects, housing cooperatives, and private and public partnership strategies/programs have been used to provide housing to the people (Habitat for Humanity Australia 2019; Towards a slum free Delhi 2014; Slum Rehabilitation Authority Mumbai 2019). Most of the Indigenous populations all over the world have been experiencing disadvantage due to their remote locations, colonization, exclusion from development programs, and the use and exploitation of their land and resources. Community development issues/needs of Indigenous communities generally include land, gender, livelihoods and natural resource management, Indigenous knowledge, culture and institutions, identity and self-esteem, and microenterprises (IFAD 2006, p. 2). It also includes delivering basic services, such as food, health, housing, and education, and/or introducing measures to address issues such as drug and alcohol abuse and violence with a different degree of coverage as there are serious access and acceptance issues in relation to these services or measures. There are also efforts to revitalize Indigenous art, culture, and language by Indigenous people themselves. In a digitally divided world, efforts have been made to provide information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure in rural communities to empower people with digital literacy, network, and current information (Marshall and Taylor 2005; Okon 2015; International Telecommunication Union 2006). A number of innovative projects are being experimented to see how information and communication technology can be employed to achieve community development (UNESCO

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2004; Solution Exchange 2009; Cecchini and Raina 2002). For example, in Vietnam “eLangViet partners have taken on the challenge of addressing social development through the creation of an online network offering easy-to-understand Vietnameselanguage know-how in health, education, agricultural production, crafts and trade. Information and knowledge can be accessed by the poorest sections of Vietnamese society through computers based in specially developed community telecenters. Local grassroot communities are given IT training to awaken their curiosity and enhance their creativity and skills. Project participants are urged to take full advantage of the IT facilities on offer, while making them aware of the value of the skills learned, to enable them to take their own choices and decisions about their future personal and professional development. This approach ensures a sustainable and fruitful outcome to the project activities” (International Telecommunication Union 2006). Local institutions (e.g., local councils) play a crucial role in facilitating a range of community development activities. Strengthening such local institutions in terms of capacity building of elected members and officials is an important community development activity. Governments of China and India have created significant platforms (e.g., “Sheque,” Villagers’ Committees, “Gram Panchayat”) for participatory community development activities (Dereleth and Koldyk 2004; Choate 1997; Pawar 2009). In many countries microcredit and microfinance schemes are very popular. These mainly include small economic enterprises mostly developed by self-help groups or community-based organizations. By using microfinance and engaging in local, small-scale enterprises, many people are able to increase their income levels, which in turn positively impacts (though gradually) on other aspects of life such as health, education, and housing, thereby often lifting these people out of poverty and generally improving their standard of living (Zaman 1999; Sivachithappa 2013). To facilitate immigrant and refugee settlement, a number of services in areas such as housing, welfare benefit, health, education, language, vocational training and employment, and personal counseling are, if necessary, generally provided, combining both individual- and community-level works. Organizing communities to mobilize resources and to gain access to services, particularly for those who have been left behind, is an important community development activity. In many conflict-torn areas, community development projects have been attempted to prevent further conflict, to promote peace, and thereby to develop or rebuild basic infrastructure, harmonious networks, and participation in governance (World Bank 2006c). The World Bank (2018) states that community-driven development programs operate in 22 countries that are fragile conflict-affected situations and in an additional 7 countries, which have internally displaced populations, refugees, or conflict zones. Several community development activities are linked to poverty alleviation programs such as food for work, social enterprises, and similar employment-generating and/or skill development projects. Social enterprises are organizations that are led by an economic, social, cultural, or environmental mission consistent with a public or community benefit; trade to fulfill their mission; derive a substantial portion of their

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income from trade; and reinvest the majority of their profit/surplus in the fulfillment of their mission (Barraket et al. 2016). In the midst of affluence and wealth, community renewal projects aim to address people with relative deprivation in terms of low income, unemployment, poor housing, inadequate access to health and education, and associated problems such as drug and alcohol, crime, and fear of violence. Community development programs are developed and employed to meet the needs of vulnerable groups such as children, women, the disabled, the sick, and the elderly. Water has emerged as an important area of community development practice. INGOs such as IRC (International Water and Sanitation Centre) and WaterAid, in partnership with several agencies, work in six countries (Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste) in Asia and the Pacific to provide water, sanitation, and hygiene education to some of the world’s poorest people (WaterAid 2007). Lack of sanitation is a major issue in many developing countries, and several community development projects have been implemented to effectively address this issue (Kar 2005; SI 2006; World Bank 2006b). A number of projects have been implemented to work with youth groups, who are most disadvantaged, due to poverty, homelessness, school dropout, unemployment, loneliness, depression and withdrawal, drug and alcohol issues, undesired peer influences, exposure to abuse and violence, and involvement in antisocial or unlawful activities. These may include sports and recreation activities, community diversion projects, enhancing talent and confidence through play and music, vocational training, and social enterprises. Often these activities depend upon the nature and needs of youth groups.

Some Challenges in Community Development Although community development activities have several strengths in terms of empowering and enabling people, and improving the quality of life, at least to some extent, they often encounter some challenges. It is important to be aware of these challenges so that efforts can be made to proactively prevent them. Ensuring participation of people in community development is a real challenge. Top-down approaches to community development, a lack of consultation with the community, and a mismatch between needs and programs are some issues that may lead to low or no participation (Chirenje et al. 2013). These may also lead to underutilization, misuse, or abuse of services. When some incentives and basic services are provided with a hope to enable them to participate, some people may develop dependency upon such services. Offering services without developing dependency and identifying such balance is a critical issue as there is no precise formula for this due to different community contexts. When projects are complete or funding is over, it is important that the activity continues or the community takes the responsibility to maintain the project activities. Due to various complex factors, this does not happen,

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and often the community development activity collapses. So, it is important to build sustainability measures in community development projects. Initiating community development activities is difficult when community conditions are very harsh in terms of extreme poverty, power dynamics, and unfavorable power structures. Sometimes local elites not only create obstacles but also capture the program and services meant for the poor and the marginalized people. A lack of coordination among the bureaucratic departments and other actors is noted as another challenge in community development work. Reaching out to rural and remote areas poses further difficulties. Some liberal government regimes are promoting community development activities, but their motivation is unclear as communities are asked to take increasing responsibility for themselves. Betancur and Gills (2004, p. 92) note that “community development has been absconded to serve the interests of pro-growth and corporate interests rather than used as a tool to promote fairness, access, and equity in low income neighbourhoods.” As discussed earlier, geographic locality-based communities and their identities as a context for practice are problematic as such communities appear to be weakening or do not exist in well-developed urbanized centers, where individualistic citizens engage in narrowly focused communities without meaningful relationships with people and place. In some cases, individualistic citizens receive their services, plans, policies, and programs for their community from the state and tend to depend upon the state to the extent that the state dictates to its citizens as to when to participate in its policies and programs and when not to and to accept what is given without questioning it. Often all participatory formulas are publicly displayed in terms of time-bound consultations and submissions, in which often the most affected participate the least, and community participation is thus legitimized. Rather than organizing and engaging people at the grassroots level, which cannot be done without local relationships and a sense of belonging, emerging communities often create pressures on the state at different levels to change the nature and process of service delivery. Such an approach appears to reinforce the state-led top-down community development approach, with sometimes a devastating impact on local communities (Pawar 2010). Thus, concerted efforts need to be made in terms of plans, strategies, and concrete actions to retain, nurture, and rebuild geographic locality-based communities with their own identities, which are the fundamental bases of community life. If efforts are not made and if present trends continue, such communities are likely to disappear in the future. Some of the current policies that focus on strengthening communities, building trust, and maintaining informal care and welfare practices (social capital) (Pawar and Cox 2004) may be purposively geared toward building geographic locality-based communities. Community development programs and services must find ways of balancing basic social services such as education, health, employment, infrastructure and economic development, and environmental issues relating to water, air, land, energy, and climate change. It is also challenging to change from a single-issue focused community development work (e.g., education, health, employment) to simultaneously multi-sectoral focused community development work with a social development approach (Pawar 2014). Thus, instead of only focusing on single issues in

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communities, community development practice needs to adopt a comprehensive social development approach to simultaneously cover multidimensional aspects – education, health, housing, political and economic development, culture and overall welfare, and well-being of communities.

Conclusion As discussed in the introduction, an interest in community development has remerged in many countries. Socioeconomic and technological changes, particularly innovations in communication and information technology, and their increasing adoption and adaptation are changing the concept and nature of communities. It is important to heed these changes and to adapt community development work accordingly. The discussion has showed that communities, GOs and NGOs, corporates, and philanthropies are engaged in community development work and they follow a range of community development approaches that focus on community participation and strengths (assets), empowerment, livelihood, human rights, and social development. In summary, a list of 24 areas is presented. The chapter concludes with several critical challenges in community development work, with the hope that these challenges can be proactively addressed to sustain community development work with passion and commitment.

Cross-References ▶ Anti-oppressive Community Work Practice and the Decolonization Debate ▶ Asset-Based and Place-Based Community Development ▶ Community Practice and Social Development in Botswana ▶ Community Practice and Social Development in a Global World ▶ Critical Community Engagement Across Borders: Canada and Nicaragua

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World Bank (2007) Community driven development. http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTER NAL/TOPICS/EXTSOCIALDEVELOPMENT/EXTCDD/0,,contentMDK:20645097~menuPK: 535772~pagePK:210058~piPK:210062~theSitePK:430161,00.html. Accessed 25 Apr 2007 World Bank (2007a) Community Driven Development, http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/ EXTERNAL/TOPICS/EXTSOCIALDEVELOPMENT/EXTCDD/0,,contentMDK:20645097~ menuPK:535772~pagePK:210058~piPK:210062~theSitePK:430161,00.html (accessed April 25, 2007) World Bank (2007b) China leading group on poverty alleviation and development CDD project. http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/EASTASIAPACIFICEXT/ EXTEAPREGTOPSOCDEV/0,,contentMDK:20955689~menuPK:746774~pagePK:34004173~ piPK:34003707~theSitePK:502940,00.html. Accessed 29 May 2007 World Bank (2009) Community driven development. http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTER NAL/TOPICS/EXTSOCIALDEVELOPMENT/EXTCDD/0,,menuPK:430167~pagePK:149018~ piPK:149093~theSitePK:430161,00.html. Accessed 2 Apr 2009 World Bank (2016) Taking a community approach to development. http://pubdocs.worldbank.org/ en/457041476188649442/2016-Community-Approach-to-Dev.pdf. Accessed 30 Mar 2019 World Bank (2018) Community-driven development. http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/ communitydrivendevelopment#2. Accessed 30 Mar 2018 World Commission on Dams (2000) Dams and development: a new framework for decision making, the report of the world commission on dams. Earthscan, London Xu Q, Chow JC (2006) Urban community in China: service, participation and development. Int J Soc Welf 15(3):199–208 Zaman H (1999) Assessing the impact of micro-credit on poverty and vulnerability in Bangladesh. Policy research working paper, 2145. World Bank, Washington, DC

Community Practice and Social Development in Botswana

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Exploring Role of the Social Work Profession Rodreck Mupedziswa and Kefentse Kubanga

Contents Community Practice in Botswana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Community Development and Practice in Botswana: A Historical Note . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Challenges in Community Development in Botswana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Social Work Profession’s Challenge in Botswana: Micro Versus Macro Practice . . . . . . . . . Social Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Social Work, Community Practice, and Social Development in Botswana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Case Study of Social Work and Community Practice: Mosadi Thari Women’s Group . . . . The Way Forward and Concluding Remarks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cross-References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Abstract

This chapter explores social work, community practice, and social development in Botswana. The first section defines the concept of community development and practice and considers it in the context of Botswana. The second section considers the place of community practice in social development. The final section examines the role of social workers in community practice in the context of Botswana and argues that the vast majority of social work practitioners across the country seem to be engaged in micro (direct) practice as opposed to group or community practice. Some social workers, both in government service and in non-government structures, do engage in community practice activities that promote social development. A case study of a community group promoted by social workers is discussed in the paper. In its concluding remarks, the chapter calls for greater social work involvement, arguing that community practice is an important tool for the promotion of social development in Botswana. Social R. Mupedziswa (*) · K. Kubanga Department of Social Work, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana e-mail: [email protected]; [email protected] © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 S. Todd, J. L. Drolet (eds.), Community Practice and Social Development in Social Work, Social Work, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-6969-8_15

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workers ought to play a leading role in promoting social development, using community practice as a key tool of the profession. Keywords

Community practice · Botswana · Social development · Community development · Popular participation · Social work · Indigenization

Community Practice in Botswana The terms community practice and community development are multifaceted and can be defined from a variety of perspectives. Traditionally, the term community practice was associated with public education with emphasis on citizenship and the small population units where loyalty and common interests were expressed in daily activities (Mupedziswa 1986). Bratton (1978) described community development as a movement, an approach, a technique, or a series of techniques for evoking selfhelp. Biddle and Biddle (1985) concurred, adding that community development constituted a social process in which individuals become competent and gained control over local aspects of a changing world. They further noted that community development facilitates experiences that create the social skills needed to interact with the powers that be. Hardcastle et al. (2004) explained that community practice involves working with the community to become more efficient, effective, and confident to work on their needs and solutions. In community practice, the efforts of the people are united with those of governmental authorities to improve the economic, social, and cultural conditions of communities, enabling the communities to be integrated into the life of the nation and in the process enabling them to contribute fully to national progress (Rankopo and Mwansa 2017). Rankopo and Mwansa (2017) cite the United Nations as an example of how the complex process of community development involves people working to improve their level of living, with as much reliance as possible on their own initiatives, with provision of technical and other services by the government. This assistance is provided in ways that does not create dependency on the government but rather encourages initiative, self-help and mutual help to make the community more effective at meeting members’ needs. The United Nations has emphasized the importance of participation for successful community development to be realized. The Federation of Community Development Learning notes that key values of community development include participation, accountability, mutuality, equality, fairness, opportunity, choice and reciprocity (Government of Botswana 2010). Popular participation in community development is both efficient and indispensable, as it provides more accurate and detailed knowledge about local needs and conditions, with the result that plans are more likely to be relevant, implementable and acceptable to the local people (Conyers 1982; Mathie and Cunningham 2003). The element of participation therefore must be given prime consideration if efforts to uplift the standard of living of ordinary people through community practice are to bear fruit. According to Bratton (1978), a precondition for

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success in community practice is for the community to appreciate its obligations and responsibilities for its own development. Emphasis ought to be on community’s “felt” needs rather than on “objective needs” as defined by technocrats. According to Bhattacharyya (2004), the principle of felt needs implies that development projects should respond to people’s needs as they see them; they should be demand-based. Lackey and Dershem (1992) said that community development should be viewed as a process which presents a powerful force for people to create and begin to transform their neighborhoods and communities. Emphasis ought to be placed on utilisation of local resources for the benefit of the local population. Urban community practice has been described by Rengasamy (2009) as a process that aims to engender recognition of the need for self-help, a wider participation in civic affairs, and a more effective use of civic amenities among urban dwellers. Bertholet (1963) described it as the complex processes by which the initiatives and self-help activities of the urban population are linked to the efforts of urban authorities in order to improve the economic, social, and cultural situation of urban populations. Urban community development seeks to integrate the life of the wider urban communities with efforts toward national development (Berthelot 1963). In the context of developing countries, it is in the rural areas that the most “genuine” community development efforts have been concentrated. This is essentially because in many emerging economies, development efforts have tended to be characterized by urban bias (Lipton 1977), leaving the rural areas wallowing in the quagmire of poverty. In rural areas of most developing countries, infrastructure tends to be limited and/or underdeveloped, hence the need to harness the collective energy of the rural population for self-improvement. This chapter focuses on a critical review of community (development) practice efforts in the context of Botswana, a developing country situated in the Southern African region. Both urban and rural contexts will be considered, although greater emphasis will be on rural community development initiatives.

Community Development and Practice in Botswana: A Historical Note Community development has by and large been (fairly successfully) used as an instrument for socioeconomic development since Botswana’s attainment of independence (Byram and Theron 2010). In the early years of social work practice in Botswana, community development focused on provision of basic infrastructure for social development (Osei-Hwedie 1995), such as construction of roads, schools, clinics and dams. Most of these activities were undertaken in the context of food-forwork (drought relief) programs as the emergence of community development coincided with a disastrous drought in the 1960s. At the dawn of independence in 1966, the new Government of Botswana established a Department of Community Development, placed in the Office of the President, and the brief for this department included mobilizing people for socioeconomic development at grassroots level. Notably, there was no written policy on

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community development at the time, a factor which was recognized as a constraint in the practice of community development in the country (Government of Botswana 1977). The first Community Development Strategy was formally adopted in 1965, just before the attainment of independence from Britain in 1966 (Rankopo and Mwansa 2017). The Transitional Plan for Social and Economic Development 1966–1969 gave community development a central role in rural development, emphasizing the need for empowerment and capacity building, employment creation, and poverty reduction (Government of Botswana 2010). In the initial stages, the focus was mainly on drought relief, with emphasis on managing the food-for-work program and Ipelegeng (i.e., carry your own weight) program. This unit was disbanded in 1974 with its personnel being seconded to local district councils across the country. Later community development became associated with community mobilization for development, promoting literacy, supporting the Village Development Committees (VDCs) implementing community initiated projects, promoting the remote area development program, and coordinating extension services (Government of Botswana 2010). As critics have noted, over the years the conceptualization of community development in Botswana has remained ambiguous and fluid (Rankopo and Mwansa 2017). A dichotomy was created between social work and community development in those early years of development work, and this has generated conflicting roles for community workers within the framework of local government (Osei-Hwedie 1995). Osei-Hwedie (1995, p. 75) argued over a decade ago that, “There is apparent lack of focus, and clearly defined operational relationships between the S&CD [Social and Community Development] and other government departments.” The state of affairs culminated in role conflict, which in turn resulted in the strategy of community development being marginalized. Drought relief, which had become the mainstay of community development, was subsequently taken over by the Central Government. In more recent times, community development practice has been guided by national social policies, among them the Revised Rural Development Policy of 2001; the Community-Based Strategy for Rural Development of 1997; the Community-Based Natural Resources Programme; and the Strategic Framework for Community Development in Botswana of 2010 (Rankopo and Mwansa 2017). Over these years, community development has been housed in the Ministry of Local Government, under the Social and Community Development (S&CD) Department. In 2013, the Ministry of Local Government was reorganized, and community development functions were removed from the Department of Social Services (now Social Protection) into a new Department of Community Development. The role of the community development officer has essentially remained that of facilitating and helping communities to reach and implement their own decisions and plans (Government of Botswana 2011). In spite of the changes, community development officers have continued to play a key role in promoting the Strategic Framework for Community Development. A notable development launched in 2010, the Strategic Framework (Government of Botswana 2010, p. 12) defines community development as ‘a participatory

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grassroots process that promotes mutual understanding, social justice and sustainable social and economic change’, further noting that it is “a process of empowerment that enables community members, including the marginalised, to address and realise their social and economic aspirations through improved and more equitable access to resources.” It sets out five core areas for community development: mobilizing communities, promoting social justice, strengthening community governance, supporting economic empowerment of communities and building development networks. Some of the functions of community development have since been moved to other arms of government, while the Community Development Strategy has continued to focus on three key areas: VDCs, community projects and remote area development (Government of Botswana 2010). The idea of VDCs dates back to 1968 when these units were established through a Presidential Directive. A VDC is a locality/village-based non-statutory institution established to legitimize participation by ordinary Batswana in the implementation of the country’s decentralized development programs/projects (Ngwenya 2008). VDCs are at the level of the community, and as such the officers are able to explain development concepts to community members in a language they easily understand. The Government of Botswana’s District Planning Handbook (1996) has outlined the functions of VDCs as follows: • • • • • • • • •

Identify and discuss local needs. Help villagers to prioritize their local needs. Formulate proposals for solutions for identified local needs. Determine the extent to which the people can satisfy their identified needs through self-help. Develop a plan of action for their village area. Solicit the assistance of donors and other development agencies. Mobilize the community and its institutions for development action. Provide a forum of contact between village leaders, politicians, and district authorities to enhance the flow of development information. Represent villagers in development matters and act as a source and reference point in matters pertaining to village development.

To support the work of VDCs, the government, in the late 1970s, launched an initiative called LG 17 (which later graduated into LG 1109), whose brief was to strengthen the capacity of VDCs and other village-level organizations to engage in productive income-generating and employment creation activities. Following the introduction of the Economic Stimulus Package (ESP), the LG 1109 graduated into the Constituency Development Fund. Under this fund, each constituency was allocated a substantial amount of funds (P10 million) for economic projects such as construction of community halls, poultry, brick molding, market stalls and community gardens, paving of some roads, school maintenance, installing solar lights in crime prone areas, constructing Kgotla shelters, and building of changing rooms at border posts. The main goal of the fund is economic empowerment and job creation for the communities. VDCs have been tasked with the responsibility of

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coordinating of projects that will be financed from this fund in their constituencies. Community development officers are responsible for training, supporting and monitoring of the activities of VDCs at village level. Another initiative covered by community development has been the Remote Area Development Programme (RADP), launched in 1978, which provides support to remote settlements. A key RADP activity has been the management of the Economic Development Fund (Government of Botswana 2010), whose purpose has been to create employment opportunities in resource- and infrastructure-challenged areas by providing seed money for business-oriented activities (Mupedziswa and Ntseane 2013). The program has been rolled out to designated areas through the Department of Social Services (now Department of Social Protection). Over time, the program has targeted over 90% of remote area dwellers in 64 settlements in 7 districts (BIDPA 1997). Beneficiaries receive rations based on the degree of destitution. Business ventures promoted include game ranching, handicrafts, and agricultural activities such as livestock production and poultry rearing or tannery (Seleka et al. 2007).

Challenges in Community Development in Botswana Community development in Botswana faces a number of challenges. Chief among these is the insufficient training of community development workers over the years. The discontinuation of community development training in the mid-1980s at the Botswana Agricultural College, when the Department of Social Work was created at the University of Botswana, led to a marked shift toward social work, and at the time social work had limited emphasis on community development (Government of Botswana 2010). Even though community development is technically a part of social work, the social work program failed to expose trainees sufficiently to rigorous community development skills and knowledge and to equip them with relevant tools and processes. The perception that training of social work officers at the University of Botswana for deployment in community practice is inadequate has over the years led to the decision by the government (through the Department of Social Protection) to send officers for further studies in neighboring countries, in particular Namibia and South Africa. Efforts are currently underway to introduce a robust Bachelor of Community Development (BCD) degree at the University of Botswana which will obviate the need to send officers out of the country for further training. The long awaited program will be jointly housed by the Department of Social Work and the Department of Adult Education (soon to be called the Department of Lifelong Learning). Another challenge is that Botswana, like any other developing country, faces a number of socioeconomic challenges, and as such, development efforts have been mainly characterized by relief work, including service delivery and provision, with limited focus on actual productive initiatives which facilitate self-reliance. FergusonBrown (1996) is of the opinion that the Government of Botswana adopted a top-down approach to development where the local community was afforded little or no voice in planning. The author further opined that traditionally, Batswana were

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self-reliant people, but over the years the government had disempowered them by dictating the nature and terms of development. This contention is shared by a number of other commentators, including Gadibolae (2010), who argued that the approach had ushered in a dependency syndrome. In the past, the majority of Batswana engaged in self-sustaining activities such as ploughing and livestock rearing, and as such it was uncommon for people to receive handouts from the government. According to Ferguson-Brown (1996), this top-down approach (to development) of trying to change attitudes to suit national plans rather than identifying needs at community level suggests that community development in Botswana historically alienated the people. The government claims that the strategies adopted may have inadvertently created a dependency syndrome among the population, when it observed that the emphasis on service delivery, rather than on strengthening community governance structures for economic empowerment, had led to unbridled dependency on government social support mechanisms (Government of Botswana 2010). Anderson and Alexander (2016, p. 174) have stressed that “development is not about the delivery of goods to a passive citizenry, however, it is about the active involvement and growing empowerment of people.” Additionally, some commentators have noted that even though the Government has provided a strong supportive policy environment, the overarching challenge for community development has been the lack of a specific policy on community development (Rankopo and Mwansa 2017). A sequel to this concern is that community participation as a key principle has not been clearly defined, and this has resulted in low levels of participation on the part of communities, fuelling concerns over lack of project ownership at the local level.

Social Work Profession’s Challenge in Botswana: Micro Versus Macro Practice Social work in Africa has a Western heritage, having been imported from Europe in the last century. The type of social work imported embraced and promoted the remedial/residual approach, which focused essentially on dealing with individual pathologies. In the 1970s, disgruntlement began to set in, with many commentators arguing that the blend of social work education and practice on offer, with its Western roots, lacked relevance when it came to dealing with challenges faced in Africa. There was a call to promote developmental social work (Mupedziswa and Kubanga 2016). The concerns also touched on education and training, and some institutions in Africa heeded the call and began to gravitate toward promoting developmental social work. As mentioned before social work education in Botswana has not provided sufficient grounding to graduates to enable them to function meaningfully in the area of community development, and it was partly for this reason that the Government periodically sent people to the neighboring countries of Namibia and South Africa to train as community development workers. The authorities failed to associate community development with the social work profession, operating on the basis of the misconception that community development

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training ought to be provided by disciplines such as Adult Education and Development Studies. Apparently this thinking is not restricted to Botswana; the same stance prevails in countries like Nigeria. Social work in Botswana, like elsewhere in the developing world, is concerned with improving the livelihoods of the general population, that is, individuals, families, and communities. The enormous responsibility to prevent and ameliorate social problems is at the core of social work practice. Social work practitioners in Botswana practice in a variety of contexts: local government (which includes towns and villages), non-governmental organizations, hospitals, as well as private practice. This therefore means that the roles that social workers play are varied, depending on the context and area or environment of practice. For example, social work at local government level in towns may have a slightly different orientation to that practiced in villages because of the issues or problems dealt with. The Department of Social Protection under the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has the responsibility of formulating policies and guidelines that govern social work practice, while the local authorities (local government councils) implement policies (Letshwiti-Macheng and Mupedziswa 2016). As a consequence of the misconception alluded to earlier, most of the social work practice in Botswana has focused on individuals and families as opposed to communities. In a study tracking social work practitioners who graduated from the University of Botswana in the 10-year period 1998–2008, it emerged that social workers in local authorities were not as heavily engaged in community development activities as would be expected (Ntshwarang et al. 2013). The bulk of their work centered around providing remedial services to individuals and families in crisis and administering social safety nets. The emphasis was on residual and relief work at the expense of a developmental thrust. Activities of this nature (some of which have bordered in clerical work) have tended to dominate the time schedules of social workers, resulting in most of them having only limited contact with the communities that they serve. This state of affairs had been perpetuated by the fact that even the reporting templates required by the Ministry of Local Government have been designed in such a way that they mostly capture service provision, like how many orphans or needy children have been supported through the medium of the social work profession in a particular month, in a particular area, etc. Therefore, it is common for social work practitioners in Botswana to have only limited contact with communities. Social work education and training at the undergraduate level focus more on the remedial or residual approach, which expresses itself as clinical or individual work rather than community or developmental interventions. Lack of indigenization of the profession has thus favored micro (or direct) rather than macro practice, even as, for all intents and purposes, micro practice appears to be ineffective in terms of addressing community problems such as unemployment, poverty, inadequate shelter, and other major social ills (Pawar 2014b). The limited engagement with community practice by social work practitioners in Botswana has also been attributed to the unconducive working environment. Depending on the type of agency, only a few social work practitioners come into contact with community practice-related assignments. This observation was

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corroborated by several practitioners who participated in the study of social work graduates (between 1998 and 2008) alluded to earlier. The study results revealed that most of the work the social workers undertook was remedial in orientation. Examples given included counselling and distribution of food rations (Ntshwarang et al. 2013). Other activities identified were purely relief in orientation, or even merely clerical in nature. Thus, even though community practice is critical in realizing the goals of social development, in the case of Botswana, social workers have played only limited roles in this area of practice. Officers with Adult Education qualifications have tended to play leading roles in promoting community projects, while social workers have essentially dealt with social welfare issues (mostly of a relief/residual/remedial nature). Letshwiti-Macheng and Mupedziswa (2016) noted that very few social workers were engaged in promoting income-generating livelihood initiatives within communities. Especially in the villages, social work practitioners have often times ended up performing all sorts of duties (many of which are outside their brief) due to lack of a clearer appreciation (on the part of the authorities) of their skills and capabilities and also due to challenges of staffing and the limited availability of resources such as transport. Even so, a number of social work professionals do operate in the arena of community practice in Botswana and promote the notion of social development. The next section considers the concept of social development, after which consideration will be given to an overview of the work of those social workers engaged in community practice.

Social Development The term social development has been defined in a number of ways (Midgley 1996; Patel 2005; Sanders 1982). Sanders (1982) defined it as a process through which people are helped to realize their fullest social, political, and economic potentials. Gray (1996) explained that social development is a process of change starting from the individual’s development of self-confidence, cooperativeness, awareness, and skills. The author views social development as a macro-policy process, primarily aimed at eradicating poverty in society. For Midgley (2010), social development refers to the “social aspects” of a wider developmental process in which economic, ecological, political, gender, and social dimensions are integrated into a multifaceted process designed to raise standards of living and promote people’s well-being. He further explains that social development is typically concerned with incomegenerating projects, human capital development activities, local community infrastructural projects, microcredit and microenterprise programs gender projects, and many others. These observations mirror UNDP’s (2005) definition of social development as “the continuous promotion of more equitable distribution of opportunities, income, assets, services and power in order to achieve greater equality and equity in society.” The International Consortium for Social Development (ICSD) explained that social development can be viewed as ‘the building of social,

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economic and political capabilities of individuals, families, communities, nation states and international organizations’ (ICSD Leaflet n.d.). According to Midgley (1996), the social development approach emerged in West Africa in the 1940s, and, in 1954 it was formally adopted by the British government to refer to the combination of traditional social welfare and community development. The concept was popularized at the Copenhagen Summit on Social Development in 1995 (Midgley 2010). The approach seeks to move away from intervention at individual level to encompass development that would benefit many people at community level. Pawar (2014a) suggests that social development is about systematically introducing a planned (sometimes radical) change process, releasing human potential, transforming people’s determination, reorganizing and re-orientating structures, and strengthening the capacity of people and their institutions to meet human needs. Social development focuses not only on the well-being of individuals, but more importantly on the achievement of the fullest possible human realization of the potentials of individuals, groups, communities and masses of people (Gray 1996; Lowe 1995). The common denominator in the various definitions of social development is the fact that any meaningful development efforts ought to be aimed at improving the capacities of clients so that they can participate meaningfully in the development of their own communities. Central to the strategy of social development is the notion of empowerment of community members so that they can meaningfully participate in community life. Empowerment tends to work hand in hand with capacity building. Social development integrates social and economic elements in the process of development of communities. Pawar (2014a) suggests that the goals of social development include reducing inequalities and problems, creation of opportunities and empowerment of people, the achievement of human welfare and well-being, improvement of relationships between people and their institutions, and ensuring meaningful economic development. Similarly, Estes (1993, 1998) has listed the following as being the main goals of social development: • The realization of more balanced approaches to social and economic development • Assignment of the highest priority to the fullest human development • The fullest participation of people everywhere in determining both the means and outcomes of development • The elimination of absolute poverty in the world • The elimination of barriers to development which have been used to oppress historically disadvantaged population groups, especially women and economic refugees, the mentally ill, as well as people who have been disadvantaged on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, social class, caste, and sexual orientation • The realization of new social arrangements that accelerate the pace of development and assure the satisfaction of basic needs of people everywhere • The transformation of societies toward more humanistic values based on social justice, the promotion of peace, and the attainment of the fullest human development

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According to Midgley (1996), social development encourages the introduction of social programs that contribute directly to economic development. The author further states that one of the ways to foster economic development would be to increase opportunities for productive employment and self-employment among low-income and special needs groups. Botswana, like several other countries, has made a commitment to eradicate poverty. Botlhale (2015) states that due to poverty being both a development challenge and a priority, the world was galvanized into action to fight it as instanced by the World Summit for Social Development in 1995 and Millennium Summit in 2000. There tends to exist a symbiotic relationship between community practice and social development, with community practice considered a key vehicle for attainment of social development goals. The next section will unpack this relationship, with particular focus on Botswana, and consider the role played by social work practitioners in community development in Botswana.

Social Work, Community Practice, and Social Development in Botswana As noted earlier, the majority of social work practitioners in Botswana are employed by the local authorities, with only a few working for private organizations and non-governmental organizations. Community practice as a critical method of social work focuses on the development and strengthening of community resilience with the goal of promoting social justice, economic activities, and participation in decision-making structures (Government of Botswana 2010). The fight against poverty is a key goal of these strategies. Therefore, social work practitioners in Botswana need to be involved in the fight against poverty through the vehicle of community practice. A government flagship initiative, the Poverty Eradication Programme, was launched in 2012. The program is aimed at improving the livelihoods of Botswana by addressing all aspects of poverty including the policy environment, the institutional framework, and the establishment of sustainable economic empowerment projects (Government of Botswana 2012). These activities happen mostly at community level. The Poverty Eradication Programme is also intended to aid communities in the attainment of food security and at a minimum sustainable livelihood among disadvantaged individuals and/or families. Among the many stakeholders involved in this work, social work practitioners operating in local authorities are also charged with program implementation, with their key responsibility being the identification and assessment of beneficiaries for enrolment in the program. There are several packages in the program to enable ablebodied persons to engage in economic activities such as beekeeping, poultry, and running of bakeries and hair salons, to mention a few. Once beneficiaries have been recommended for this program social workers facilitate their training in business skills and basic management. When social development is coupled with economic development, individuals can more effectively support themselves and their families. Beneficiaries also receive skills in handling of finances and related matters by

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experts from different fields, to prepare them for running their own businesses. Once community members have received the equipment to start businesses, social workers work with them and provide one-on-one guidance and support (Kubanga 2016). Community practice traditionally emphasizes the importance of working with a variety of diverse groups in the community. Hence, social work practitioners in Botswana engaged in community practice tend to work with different groups such as support groups for teenagers, caregivers of orphans, and single mothers. These groups serve the purpose of empowerment of individuals, provision of life skills training, as well as information sharing. In some cases, focus has been on imparting relevant life skills or helping vulnerable groups in the community to build their selfconfidence. Social work practitioners have also been involved in providing public education either through kgotla meetings (i.e., public gatherings at community level, presided by the local chief) or through radio and television programs. The community awareness initiatives through radio or television are on different topics such as adoption of children, children’s rights, human trafficking, as well as any other topics that may be deemed relevant at a particular point in time. The information shared with communities is important as it enables people to make informed decisions and provides information on different services offered by government so that they know where to go when seeking help (Kubanga 2016). In some instances, social workers in community practice have been involved in novel efforts to help empower and build the capacities of vulnerable groups in many marginalized and vulnerable communities. Some of the initiatives might appear insignificant on paper, and yet they have had notable impact on community members given the state of affairs in many vulnerable and disadvantaged communities. For example, in 2013, community-based social work practitioners in some districts (e.g., Kweneng District) under the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development embarked on a creative initiative which involved promoting local beauty pageants under the banner “Miss Remote Area Development Programme.” Certain parts of Botswana are very remote, away from urban areas with limited modern infrastructure, and the inhabitants (including the youth) in those parts have limited access to certain basic services and enjoyment of an environment that would make them “street wise.” In such remote communities, initiatives like the beauty pageants constitute efforts to provide a form of community development support through promoting self-awareness among the vulnerable community groups. Social workers also arrange initiatives such as camp-outs (commonly called boot camps) to help empower young women by imparting to them life skills to identify their talents as well as to encourage behavior change. The young women involved tend to come from remote areas with few productive activities available. The boot camps can bring about significant behavioral change in the lives of young women from these rural communities, as they come to realize that it is possible for them to hold their own just like their counterparts who are raised in towns or big villages (Kubanga 2016). Some of them can then compete with young women from other parts of the country or other countries in the subregion, particularly with regard to self-improvement and empowerment activities. Botswana’s Assistant Minister of

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Local Government and Rural Development stated that her vision was to create a pool of talented young women from remote communities in an effort to prove wrong those critics who hold the view that beauty and talent can only be found among urban communities (Shapi 2016). Such projects have incontrovertibly brought about positive change among residents in communities starved of resources and infrastructure. They help instill self-confidence and hope in poor families as family members now believe that their children can compete with young women from more privileged communities across the country. According to Ntshwarang et al. (2013), in Botswana, the focus of community development has been on the mobilization and empowerment of individuals, groups and communities, by fostering a spirit of participation, cooperation, self-reliance, and social justice. The main tool that social workers in Botswana use to empower communities in the context of community practice is community education. In most instances they gather communities together to teach and share information with them about the programs and services that they offer to the public, such as the social safety nets and remedial services like counselling. They also gather potential beneficiaries together to disseminate information on the different programs, identify challenges, and discuss with communities how service delivery can be improved. Since the Government introduced the Poverty Eradication Programme, social work practitioners have been spending a considerable amount of time educating the communities about it. Issues covered in the discussions include the eligibility criteria, projects to be undertaken, as well as training of potential beneficiaries. Since social workers are the custodians of the Children’s Act, they assist in the formation of local child protection committees in their different villages and towns. These are made up of community members such as teachers, nurses, diKgosi (chiefs), police officers, and other community leaders. By 2014, some 320 such committees had been formed countrywide. According to UNICEF (2014), the committees were set up with the mandate of educating communities on themes such as child neglect, child ill-treatment, exploitation, and related forms of child abuse. Social work practitioners are also responsible for grooming and developing village leaders. To this end, they serve as ex-officio members of VDCs. Social workers therefore ensure that these committees are elected and given proper orientation before they start their term of office. They provide guidance and direction and serve as liaison officers between the VDC and the local authority. Ntshwarang et al. (2013) noted that the social workers in these instances also serve as mediators, often intervening in disagreements that arise between the VDC members, councillors, and the community at large. Social workers also use the group work model to support certain groups of people in communities. Group work as a method of social work practice has proved to be effective in addressing community problems and encouraging cohesion among people. Becker (2005) states that group work provides a context in which individuals help each other; it is a method of helping groups of people with common needs as well as helping individuals. The approach can enable individuals and groups to influence personal, group, organizational, and community problems. In the context

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of Botswana, local authorities (councils) run different groups including youth groups and groups made up of vulnerable people such as orphaned children. They might arrange outings for certain categories of people, and social workers feature prominently in such initiatives. As an example, orphans are grouped and sent on 3-week excursions to boot camps in order to help them deal with the pain of losing their parents in the context of a “therapy” group set-up. This initiative has made an enormous difference in the lives of many young people in various communities as they are able to support each other well after the boot camp experience ends. In other instances, social workers bring together groups of women who have all had similar challenges. The case study presented as an example below, based on a women’s group initiative, provides a glimpse into social work activities in the context of community practice in Botswana and how this facilitates social development.

Case Study of Social Work and Community Practice: Mosadi Thari Women’s Group Mosadi Thari is one of several women’s groups situated in Babusi Ward, Gaborone. It is a pilot project focused on empowering single mothers through incomegenerating activities; if successful, it will be adopted elsewhere in the area and beyond. The major focus in this group is to improve the lives of unemployed single mothers. The social workers in the area helped form the group in 2012 with the aim of equipping single and unemployed mothers with life skills. According to Statistics Botswana (2014), in the 2011 Population and Housing Census, the total population of the ward was 5462, with women accounting for 2624 of the population. The need to form such a group became evident especially because of the high rates of unemployment and poverty in the area. Female-headed households have been identified as economically disadvantaged, and a higher incidence of maladjustment and psychopathology is documented among their family members (Spiro 2005). The Mosadi Thari group was the first to be formed by social workers employed by the local authority in the city. The group composition was limited to 12 members, and the ages of the members ranged from 34 to 46 years. Social work practitioners interact with the group members regularly, and they facilitate skill learning and discussion on salient topics such as grief/bereavement, will making, handling terminally ill patients, conflict resolution and management and issues around raising of children. The group is still in operation and seems to be developing from strength to strength. Group activities include: • Monthly savings – The group encourages its members to save some money on a monthly basis. They contribute P200 monthly which rotates among members as loans paid back with interest. At the end of the year, the money is shared among the group members. • Health talks – The group members hold regular morning health talks at the local clinic where they share experiences with patients on different topics. Many of the issues they share they would have learnt from social workers.

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• Tea parties and birthday celebrations – Group members hold tea parties where they interact with each other and learn how to help one another overcome the obstacles they face. They also celebrate members’ birthdays by buying them presents. • Assistance during members’ social events – The group members are involved in social events with each member such as funerals, weddings, parties, and related areas in which any of their members might need support. They contribute money toward such events. They have even come up with their own uniform/attire with which they are identified at these events (Kubanga 2016). The group members report many advantages that come with being members of Mosadi Thari. The benefits of being group members include psychosocial support, having a place to learn, and gaining life skills and exposure. In terms of psychosocial support, the group is a platform for women to help carry each other’s burdens. Individual women share their problems and stresses of life, and group members provide a listening ear and assist with solutions where practical. The common problems include struggles with children, husbands, boyfriends, relatives, financial challenges, and any other occurrences that they might find overwhelming. The existence of the groups made a tremendous impact in their lives by reducing stress associated with bottling up issues. The group also provides a learning platform as, under the watchful eye of the social work practitioners, the women use it to share information and skills about life issues. They share tips on homemaking, raising children, income generation opportunities, as well as how to be presentable in public. The women testify to how the group has opened their eyes to many things about life they did not know. They also share information about government programs, which office to visit and how to seek help. Group members attest to the fact the group activities have boosted their selfesteem in many ways. Many confess that they used to be shy and did not believe they were capable of doing certain things such as public speaking. Through their involvement in health talks at the clinic and sharing on different topics, they have gained self-confidence. The encouragement that they get from the social workers and colleagues in their group has enabled them to realize that they also can be what they yearn to be, even though they come from poor backgrounds. Some of these women have started their own small businesses to feed their families as a result of the skills they were equipped with by the group. They have learnt ways of saving a little amount of money on a monthly basis and then using the money to carry out home projects and take care of their children. Some of the women indicated that their interpersonal skills had become better. They were now able to relate more meaningfully with other people, especially after they had learnt the basics of conflict management. They have become better children to their parents, good neighbors as well as good parents to their own children. The coming together into a group has helped them to confront their fears and any limiting beliefs. The group organizes workshops or is invited to attend workshops or trainings where there are different stakeholders in attendance. Organizing a workshop on its own is a learning experience for them. With the assistance of social work

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practitioners, they have learnt how to draw up a program and organize all the logistics to ensure that their events are a success. The formation of the group spearheaded by social work professionals shows that social workers are highly capable of community organizing and that their work goes a long way in transforming people’s lives in the communities in which they serve. Contrary to the widely held belief that social workers in Botswana tend to lack sufficient skills for community practice, the fact of the matter is that, given a chance, they perform quite well in terms of community practice which facilitates social development (Kubanga 2016).

The Way Forward and Concluding Remarks This chapter has shown that social work practitioners in Botswana are only minimally involved in promoting community projects that can facilitate social development. It has been suggested that one key reason for this anomaly might be that authorities do not seem to appreciate that social workers have a role in community practice. This suggests the need to find ways of engaging or sensitizing the relevant authorities on the nature and scope of the parameters of the social work profession, and in particular issues pertaining to its community development component. There is also the contention that social work education and training at the University of Botswana has not been adequately indigenized, meaning that it has continued to be more inclined toward direct practice (especially clinical practice) than macro practice. As such, students tend to graduate with limited knowledge and expertise when it comes to addressing community problems. While there may be a grain of truth in this observation, it is essentially because of the profession’s colonial legacy. According to Gray (2005), the (lack of) indigenization of social work education remains the greatest challenge in many developing countries. Western models adopted by most African countries and the ‘importation’ of the social work profession during the last century from the Western world have proved to be ineffective in addressing community problems in a developing country like Botswana. Pawar (2014a) states that as a consequence of social work’s Western bias, social work-oriented community practice is generally neglected in local communities. Staff at the University of Botswana are attuned to this shortcoming and have been making concerted efforts to correct it. Apart from the efforts to introduce the Bachelor of Community Development degree, the Department of Social Work is also conducting a general curriculum review, with a view to incorporating elements of the developmental social work approach. Because social work practitioners are into remedial work, this has resulted in community development activities being relegated to officers from a different discipline, e.g., Adult Education. This has been the norm across the African continent. Midgley and Conley (2010) have lamented the fact that very few projects and programmes of a social development nature are implemented by professional social

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workers in developing countries; more often than not, such projects have been considered the purview of economists, development policy makers, the staff of non-governmental organizations, and grassroots community workers. Some have suggested this state of affairs might partly explain why many communities still experience high crime rates, high incidences of child abuse and molestation, and high unemployment rates. With limited opportunities for community practice, on the part of social work practitioners, in Botswana and elsewhere, the desired goal of promoting social development cannot be realize Programs that are tailormade to suit the needs of communities ought to be the starting point for the social work profession in a developing country like Botswana. The concept of social development does not necessarily downplay the fact that individual interventions in the form of micro practice are important. On the contrary, the main contention is simply that interventions should emphasize the communities as well as individuals in them. The issue of how the social work profession has used the vehicle of community practice to realize the goal of social development raises a couple of key points in the context of Botswana. First is the issue of limited opportunities afforded social workers to operate in the domain of community development: the majority of them have been thrust in the area of remedial or direct practice, while adult educators have taken over the role. To address this anomaly, the professional body for social workers in the country (Botswana National Association of Social Workers) and the University of Botswana Department of Social Work ought to redouble their efforts to influence stakeholders to appreciate the potential role of the social work profession in this regard. Second, the contention that the University of Botswana has not produced graduates with adequate skills for community practice, forcing the Government to send them out of the country for further training, needs particular attention. While it might be true that there may be shortcomings, there are no failures to provide sufficient grounding in the subject of community development; otherwise the social work graduates from the University of Botswana could not operate as community development workers. In the limited number of instances where social work graduates have had opportunity to delve into community practice, they have acquitted themselves quite commendably, as illustrated by the case study above. Perhaps what also needs particular attention is dealing with the mindset, borne out of the historical narrative, which has held that the main role of social workers is to distribute handouts to the needy, and not to engage in community development activities. This dichotomy can only be won through both education of the stakeholders and actual hands-on performance in the field. The current initiative by the University of Botswana to introduce a degree dedicated to community practice, as well as general curriculum review to facilitate a stronger social development thrust, is bound to help strengthen the skills base of the social work profession in this regard – a development which would broaden the reach of social work in general and community development in particular as tools for the enhancement of social development efforts in Botswana.

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Cross-References ▶ Social Protection and Social Development ▶ Social Protection and Social Development in Swaziland

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Critical Community Engagement Across Borders: Canada and Nicaragua

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Mirna E. Carranza, María Isolda Jiménez Peralta, Luz Angelina López Herrera, and Martha Miuriel Suárez Soza

Contents Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Current Trappings of International Social Work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Theoretical Frameworks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Context: Nicaragua . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Indigenous and Afro-Descent Communities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Community Engagement across Borders: A Multipronged Approach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Research Methods: Community-Based Participatory Action Research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Research Design and Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The First Encounter: Nicaraguan Team to Canada . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Second Encounter: Canadian Team to Nicaragua . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Research Outcomes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Reflections on ISW and Community Practice: Canadian Team . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Theoretical Contributions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cross-References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Luz Angelina López Herrera has retired. M. E. Carranza (*) School of Social Work, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada e-mail: [email protected] M. I. J. Peralta · L. A. L. Herrera · M. M. S. Soza Facultad Regional Multidisciplinaria Estelí [Regional Multidisciplinary Faculty-Estelí] (FAREM-Managua), Esteli, Nicaragua e-mail: [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected] © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 S. Todd, J. L. Drolet (eds.), Community Practice and Social Development in Social Work, Social Work, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-6969-8_16

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Abstract

This chapter details a community collaboration across borders and the processes that were operationalized to resist the trappings of International Social Work. The project was born out of a discussion in a coffee shop about the impacts of violence against women in Nicaragua – specifically, the forcible displacement of women. The cross-border collaboration was initiated to interrogate the structures of patriarchy and machismo – specifically gender-based violence and the commercial sexual exploitation of children. To do so, we designed the project to cultivate localized knowledge and community solutions. Using a community-based participatory approach in our qualitative research, we attempted to center the voices of women and service providers. The initial goal was to map service provision and determine the needs of each community. This needs assessment allowed for the team to determine locally based solutions to prevent gender-based violence and methods to strengthen interventions. This project occurred at a time when conflicting influences were attempting to reshape social work practice in Nicaragua. Government attention favored financial interests, solidifying the central role of neoliberalism in dictating the direction of the state, the social safety net, and the potential for social work intervention. Keywords

Nicaragua · International Social Work · Violence against Women · Collaboration · Qualitative Social Work

Introduction This project was born out of a discussion in a coffee shop about the impacts of violence against women in Nicaragua – specifically, the forcible displacement of women. The cross-border collaboration was initiated to interrogate the structures of patriarchy and machismo – specifically gender-based violence and the commercial sexual exploitation of children. To do so, we designed the project to cultivate localized knowledge and community solutions. Using a community-based participatory approach in our qualitative research, we attempted to center the voices of women and service providers. The initial goal was to map service provision and determine the needs of each community. This needs assessment allowed for the team to determine locally based solutions to prevent gender-based violence and methods to strengthen interventions. This project occurred at a time when conflicting influences were attempting to reshape social work practice in Nicaragua. Government attention favored financial interests, solidifying the central role of neoliberalism in dictating the direction of the state, the social safety net, and the potential for social work intervention. The privatization of public companies and government’s retreat from funding program delivery have dominated social work in both the Global North and South since the 1990s. Scarce funding and state retrenchment reduced social work to intervention modalities as opposed to prevention or supporting community-

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based efforts (Parada 2007). This has pushed prevention, community engagement, activism, and social justice to the fringes of the profession. At the same time, service recipients, particularly women and Indigenous and Afro-descent communities, have been rejecting social work’s reversion back to interventionist responses. Pushing back, they are insisting that social work now focuses on and engages with social justice (Parada 2007). Nicaragua is an example of how organized resistance could lead to liberation from a lengthy dictatorship. However, as this chapter will discuss, the Nicaraguan mobilization of class consciousness, which led to resistance to and eventually the overthrow of the residual colonial feudalism, could have missed a pivotal element – gender analysis. The initial goal of the project was to systematically gather and analyze the experiences of the stakeholders charged with the protection of women. To do so, the two senior Nicaraguan team members, who had been part of the national educational brigade after the political shift, began developing partnerships with academic, government, and nongovernment organizations that were committed or mandated to eradicate violence against women. As this collaboration unfolded, it became evident that on-the- ground realities were being reshaped by processes of globalization (Carranza et al. 2013). Violence is played out within the contours of specific geographic regions, shaped by laws, local customs, history, and the sociopolitical landscapes. Globalization brings the local to the global and vice versa. Therefore, it was determined that the team must look beyond service providers to include women, children, families, and community – to unpack the globalities taking place. While the project goal remained focused on the improvement of services, the scope expanded to understand the historical and systemic context contributing to gender exclusion and violence. One of the significant achievements of the project was the strengthening of the social work profession in Nicaragua to respond to the global realties. The concerns of international social work (ISW), described below, center on the relations of dominance between the Global North and South. These relations’ legitimate knowledge developed in the Global North and promote it as universally applicable (El-Lahib 2015). As Razack (2002) points out, when social workers from the North travel to the South, their practice frameworks and knowledge often have colonial roots. Social work in the North continues to be “tinged with the stain of colonialism and imperialism” (Razack 2009, p. 11). This stain permeates the knowledge produced and often exploits the local and Indigenous ways of knowing, culture and experiences of those in the Global South. How then can effective collaboration occur across borders and result in knowledge that is of mutual benefit? This chapter highlights the challenges, successes, and opportunities that emerged in the process of community engagement across borders, within the context of a particular project and in spaces wherein the phantoms of globalization and colonization have deepened the historical exclusion and marginality of vulnerable women and girls – particularly those belonging to Indigenous and Afro-descent communities. This chapter focuses on processes of collaboration between the Global South and North, specifically between Nicaragua and Canada, to combat violence against women while situating

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ISW in the current and historical global context of coloniality. Specific outcomes of this project are published elsewhere (see Carranza 2015).

The Current Trappings of International Social Work Since 1990, social work curricula have been increasingly focused on concerns beyond national borders, and social work schools have turned this into action by providing international opportunities ranging from exchange programs, policy development opportunities, research partnerships, and placements in which students have the opportunity to participate in social justice movements (Healy and Link 2012). ISW has sought to extend beyond the university, with many practitioners and researchers working with governments, NGOs, think tanks, and grassroots organizations to respond to local issues and advance the profession (Hiranandani 2011). The increased connections between nations brought about by globalization and the neoliberal agenda have set the stage for the current phase of ISW (Lyons 2016), where the local economies, politics, and social issues are viewed as inextricably linked to the global (Healy and Link 2012). ISW has been lauded as a global change agent; however, the majority of ISW engagement is structured by the flow of knowledge and funding from the Global North to the South (Healy and Link 2012; Lyons 2016; Razack 2002). ISW evades an agreed upon definition. This in part is due to the perception that social work’s value base is rooted in social justice for all, and therefore, working at the international level is a natural extension of the local. This is predicated on a social justice definition that is universal and a related belief that knowledge and skills can be transferrable, under the caveat of being culturally informed and practicing in ways that are locally meaningful (Lyons 2016). Healy and Link (2012, p. 12) and the coeditors of the Handbook of International Social Work created the following definition: • A way of looking and appreciating the world (worldview) and acknowledging the impact of globalization on human well-being • Practice, including locally based practice, informed by international knowledge • Practice, concern, and action on globally experienced social issues • Participation in international professional organizations and dialogue • Understanding the global profession • Promotion of development and human rights • A future and action-oriented movement for global change The handbook editors note that social work’s significant early development occurred during North American and European’s late nineteenth century period of imperial expansion, a history which continues to root the profession in Western ideology (Healy and Link 2012). Doctrines of ISW speak about maintaining equality, but critics have raised concerns that ISW is not grounded in theory and have the potential to replicate the colonial narrative, as the foundation of ISW is based on

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transmitting knowledge from the Global North to the “deprived” South and rarely the other way around (Razack 2009). International efforts are often under the auspice of “help,” with little analysis of how these relationships reproduce the colonial encounter. For example, Canada’s policies and position in the world economy both maintain and benefit from exploitative relationships, and social work in Canada has a long history of colonialism and imperialism, both nationally and internationally (ElLahib 2015; Razack 2002). According to Razack (2002), this history has a strong hold on the present. It is characterized by the production of knowledge concentrated in the North and directed toward the South (Razak 2002). Colonial discourse is often embedded in direct and subtle messages of “helping” or “assisting,” which obscures the link between racism and the subjugation of the Global South (Hiranandani 2011). According to Razak (2002), Canadian social workers must unpack the way in which they are implicit in the maintenance of globalized power relationships. Understanding the role of social work in historic and current times opens a space for practice in a way that does not replicate past injustices (Razack 2009). In Latin America, long histories of colonization, US occupation, political instability, and revolutions have shaped the emergence of social work both in the community and in what the Global North deems “professional” social work. Therefore, defining the social work profession has presented some challenges. While social work has had a unique trajectory in Latin America, scholars have argued that the Global North has maintained its position as the primary producer and exporter of knowledge through neocolonial practices that secure professional hegemony. As such, in moving across Global borders, there has been much attention paid to how this hegemony filters into the production of knowledge in countries of the Global South (Razack 2009). As Healy and Link (2012) suggest, the foundation of ISW has been the “export model,” wherein the Global North applies its practical and theoretical methods to the Global South. It has been argued that social work in Latin America “should offer new frameworks of critical analysis thereby answering the ethical, political and social realities currently experienced by marginalized populations” (Parada 2007, p. 566). In practice, social workers have had difficulties ensuring responsiveness to contemporary issues, such as Indigenous and women’s rights, child protection, and poverty while staying active in social movements. This in part is due to government persecution of “helpers,” US political influence, and neoliberal restructuring (Carranza 2015; Parada 2007). While there has been a number of promising approaches that seek to democratize knowledge, concern remains around the theoretical foundation and applications of ISW.

Theoretical Frameworks Critical, intersectional feminist and the coloniality of power (CoP) theories informed the engagement across borders in the project presented here. Critical theory, which is often informed by and used in conjunction with critical race and feminist theories, seeks to understand and deconstruct the sources of marginalization under

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globalization. Critical theory challenges the construction of scientific “truths” of gender and race, which have led to domination and oppression. Interventions are aimed at disrupting structural inequalities (Gamble and Weil 2010). Central to this body of literature is the analysis of theory and the inherent reproduction of bias and exclusion, and a questioning of how these dynamics are maintained, and for whose benefit (Weil et al. 2013). Critical theory in community work seeks to both expose and reclaim the implicit reproduction of power in knowledge. Historically, knowledge has been a tool of domination, and so critical theory encourages social transformation through human agency to dismantle oppressive structures. It is closely associated with social justice and just practice, often sharing the same five interrelated concepts: meaning, history, power, context, and possibilities (Sawyer 2014). Critical community work includes a commitment to social justice, leading to concientización and mobilization into collective action to challenge hegemonic discourses and practices (Butcher 2007). Feminist theory explores marginalization existing along gendered lines, specifically the exploitation of women’s bodies and work, and their ongoing experiences of violence (Lingham 2013). This form of analysis challenges the construction of the male body and experience as the standard (Gamble and Weil 2010). Employing an intersectional lens in feminist theory expands the analysis to include a focus on the interplay of gender, classism, racism, and colonialism (McCall 2005). Feminist theory in community work and social development encourages women to resist the structural forces that marginalize them and to improve their status. Sawyer (2014) outlines six factors that demarcate feminist community work: (i) focus on human needs, (ii) connectedness of issues, (iii) holistic approach to development, (iv) process orientation, (v) emphasis on community participation, and (vi) networking. Within this framework, feminist social action (i) utilizes a gender lens; (ii) attends to process in practice; (iii) focuses on empowerment through the process of consciousness raising; (iv) favors grassroots, bottom-up approaches; (v) perceives diversity as a strength; and (vi) understands organizing as holistic (Sawyer 2014). This theoretical approach complements the human rights discourse, particularly with the recent focus on women and girls and empowerment (Gamble and Weil 2010). Intersectional feminist social action brings in critical theory to deconstruct the uses and allocations of power, mainly associated with the racialized organization of patriarchy. Deconstructing patriarchy, however, does not fully unpack the phenomena of violence against women, especially given the historical and present relationship between the Global North and South. To move this analysis forward in this chapter, CoP served as an entry point. Coloniality refers to the current manifestation of the organization of power relations created by colonization (Quijano 2007). CoP is a global model of power that exploits the hierarchal relationships between race, class, and gender to create the “colonial difference.” In particular, CoP defines a number of features of daily life such as culture, labor, intersubjective relations, and how knowledge is produced (Maldonado-Torres 2007) that have shaped and maintained the domination of the global North and subalternity of the South (Ndlovu-Gatsheni 2012) between and within nation states. CoP argues that these types of power occur

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in various forms of discourses and institutional organizations, allowing ongoing domination and control (Quijano 2007). The CoP framework was utilized to shed light on the cotidianidad or day-to-day reality of those working against gender-based violence in Nicaragua.

Context: Nicaragua Nicaragua inherited a legacy of colonialism, and its remnants continue to ground its position in the globalized world. To situate Nicaragua in the current context of coloniality, we must understand its history. Prior to 1522, when Spanish would-be colonizers first landed in what is present-day Nicaragua, the country had an agrarian society with a self-sustaining market-based economy. The colonial goal was to “convert souls and steal gold” (Walker and Wade 2016, p. 10), and by all accounts, after converting 30,000 people to Christianity and acquiring over 90,000 pesos in gold in just over three decades, the initial mission was considered a success (11). The Spanish conquistadors continued to advance the imperial plan, and Nicaragua endured violent colonization until 1822. The genocide of Indigenous people occurred primarily through murder or slavery or by foreign diseases (Bourgois 1981; Merrill 1993; Walker and Wade 2016). Due to variances in geography, the attempted decimation of Indigenous peoples varied significantly between regions. Due to the physical conditions of the Atlantic Coast’s rain forests, the Spanish encountered troubles penetrating the land, and so, the Indigenous Peoples, to some extent, escaped the cultural genocide of the Pacific Coast (Diskin et al. 1986). What remained was a largely Spanish-speaking population, the descendants of conquistadors and Nicaraguans, or mestizos. Not only did the conquest destroy the languages, customs, and culture, but through subjugation and pillaging the lands, farming, and crop production destroyed Nicaragua’s strong economic base. Nicaragua became independent from Spain in 1822 as a part of the Mexican Empire; in 1823, it became a member of the Central American Federation, and in 1838, it became a sovereign state (Walker and Wade 2016). After independence, both the USA and Britain took strategic interest in Nicaragua, as both a transit route and for the exploitation of lands. During the mid-1800s, a lengthy period of US military and political imperialism began, to further their own capitalist interests. The economy struggled, creating wealth for the USA and maintaining poverty in Nicaragua, with few welfare institutions. Despite independence, Nicaragua remained subjected to external forces throughout its history. The 1870s saw coffee and banana exports driving economic growth and the emergence of Nicaragua’s dependant capitalist system (Walker and Wade 2016). By the 1900s, the USA controlled the majority of companies and maintained a military presence. Through a series of treaties over the next three decades and securing the rights for a canal, Nicaragua was practically a US protectorate (Merrill 1993). Beginning in 1933, under the Somoza family dictatorship, marginalization and dispossession of women, peasants, and poor men accelerated. In the 1960s, a social service branch of the government was established to improve health, education, low-income housing, and poverty

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alleviation. Social workers were trained in interventions similar to earlier North American casework to assist in this endeavor. Ultimately, this political scheme was initiated to entice foreign investment, and as a result, the association between social work and the government was established (Kreitzer and Wilson 2010; Merrill 1993; Walker and Wade 2016). Social work, “helping,” and activism have historically been kept out of the public eye (Walker and Wade 2016). During the Cold War, in 1979, after enduring decades of political dictatorship, the Nicaraguan Revolution began with the political resistance of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), more commonly referred to as the Sandinistas. Molyneux (1985) recounts how women’s resistance was central to the revolution. While the movement was rooted in underdevelopment and Marxist class conflict, there was hope that the revolution would give way to a government concerned with women’s issues and rights. Backed by the Soviet Union, the Sandinistas took power in 1979 and made significant efforts to eradicate inequality for Indigenous Peoples and women. For example, efforts were made to bring electricity to the Atlantic Coast to improve the life expectancy and reduce poverty, legislation was drafted for women’s emancipation, and there was gender representation in government. However, after the first few years, amidst increasing economic disparity and US withdrawal of aid to back counterrevolution forces, support for women dwindled. The intent of this action by the US was to end Communist expansion, which began the Contra Wars (Merrill 1993; Molyneux 1985; Walker and Wade 2016). During this time, the rapid deterioration of the living conditions of marginalized populations prompted social workers to move from a US-influenced functionalist model of practice to Freire’s methodology of popular education (Kreitzer and Wilson 2010). Despite this shift, when the Sandinistas came into power, social workers were characterized by their earlier affiliation with the government and subsequently were seen as state agents (Kreitzer and Wilson 2010). The School of Social Work at the Independent University of Nicaragua (Universidad Autónoma de Nicaragua or UNAN), Managua, closed in 1980, but due to social pressure, it reopened in 1984, amid distrust for social work. Combatting the association with government, the school aligned itself with popular education and Freire’s methodologies (Kreitzer and Wilson 2010). The USA continued to back the Contras, and by 1988, Nicaragua was ravaged by war and virtually bankrupt. Social programs were specifically targeted during this time, reducing any protections to virtual nonexistence, including health care (Walker and Wade 2016). Economic devastation prompted the World Bank to impose significant financial restrictions, forcing Nicaragua to allow involvement from the USA to resume aid and attract foreign investment (Merrill 1993). The 1980s and 1990s saw Nicaragua constrained by austerity measures trying to minimize inflation and re-establish a semblance of economic independence. What was left of social services was cut or privatized (Walker and Wade 2016), and the women’s grassroots movements responded with collective kitchens and community health clinics (Neumann 2017). Beginning in the late 1990s, the Nicaraguan state symbolically turned “left” and increased support for women. Both state policies and NGOs saw women’s empowerment as a route to poverty reduction (Neumann 2017). Although several

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governmental efforts have been made since to build an infrastructure focused on women’s issues (e.g., La Comisaria de La Mujer [Women’s Commissariat]) and child welfare (e.g., Ministry of the Family – Amor Program), the legal framework to protect women and children from violence, marginalization, and exclusion remains incomplete due to a lack of systemic analysis and practical interventions and protocols. Current NGO mandates in Nicaragua and Latin America are criticized for their reliance on market-based approaches, reinforcing gendered divisions, and lack of focus on systemic change (Neumann 2017). Further criticism of NGO and government responses show how they locate Indigenous and Afro-descendant women at the margins, with little recognition of the intersections of race and ongoing colonialism (Radcliffe 2002; Safa 2005). Social work in Nicaragua continues to struggle to establish itself as a profession in part due to its connection to activism and social movements (Parada 2007). As social work is not validated at the government level and public consciousness, this had impeded its ability to respond to the intersectional complexities of violence against women. Nicaragua is one of a few Latin American countries to experience a full-scale social revolution, whereby the social, economic, and political structures were rapidly reformed (Walker and Wade 2016). However, according to UNICEF (2003), Nicaragua’s most pressing challenges remain poverty and inequality, which disproportionately affect women and children. These challenges increase gendered vulnerabilities, as it is more often that women are left to deal with the outcomes and are most impacted by food insecurity, lower educational outcomes, and poor health (Bradshaw 2008). Nicaragua also has a young population, with over 50% (approx. 2.9 million) under 19 years of age. Approximately four out of ten children and adolescents do not attend school due to lack of family and state resources (Asociación La Amistad 2003). Abortion is illegal in Nicaragua. Hence adolescent births account for one in four births nationally, and approximately 85% of all Nicaraguan mothers are single mothers (UNICEF 2003). Poor, single mothers are forced to consider the commercial sexual exploitation of children, making this a classed and gendered reality at the margins of Nicaraguan society (Bruckert and Parent 2006). A research study conducted by ANFAM and IXCHEN (Martínez Sotelo and Zúñiga 2007) found that family violence is a significant factor in the increasing poverty for women and their children. They estimated that 28% of children were victims of sexual abuse by a family member or a family friend.

Indigenous and Afro-Descent Communities Cunningham-Kain (2006) identifies how the history of colonization and external interventions has created and maintained the racialized social hierarchy in Nicaragua, where Indigenous and Afro-descendant populations are afforded fewer rights and entitlements than the rest of the population. Colonial mentality prevails in the maintenance of the state, where the majority (mestizos) are considered the norm and the Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities the racial “other.” Aside from interest in the land resources, these regions have been ignored by governments

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(Carranza 2016) and have the highest poverty and unemployment levels, labor market exclusion, and the least availability of social services in the country (Cunningham-Kain 2006). The ongoing imposition of educational and religious structures creates an environment that encourages assimilation into the dominant cultures. Women in these communities experience marginalization and high levels of violence and maternal mortality (Carranza 2016). Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities across Latin America have been resisting the neoliberal agenda; highlighting the explicit and implicit ways, that it deepens both their own and the global stratification of margination (Hooker 2009; Parada 2007). Social movements have been advocating for collective rights; however, Nicaragua has only afforded them a small amount of multicultural citizenship rights (Hooker 2009). In many of these movements, women are at the forefront, highlighting the ongoing intersectional oppression shaping their day-to-day lives. Amid this pursuit for social justice, this project proved to be very timely. As Parada (2007) suggests, one of the outcomes of these social movements was the push from marginalized communities to redefine social work and “engage in a new relationship, one which includes political listening by academics and practitioners, as well as the development of social and political responses in the form of policies, advocacy and community participation” (p. 361).

Community Engagement across Borders: A Multipronged Approach One of the cornerstones of this project was to avoid/move away from the neocolonial trappings embedded in ISW, as currently this form of praxis does not consider the uneven power relationship between the Global North and South. This uneven power relationship not only favors the North but structures the Souths’ ongoing experience of underdevelopment. Often projects are structured around issues that are already known, or have been “proven,” in this case violence against women. It is often assumed that gender-based violence is a universal phenomenon mediated by the intersectionality of identity, geography of place, and locality. In this project, we knew that knowledge had to be built from the grassroots and that we could not assume how gender was mediated or how violence was experienced. How then could we as a team use processes from the Global North to advance knowledge, without importing dominance? One key element was identity. Identity was consistently placed at the foreground. Specific attention was paid to our social locations as researchers and who they could influence the project – particularly the first authors. Most important for all the team members and the community-based research action group of the project was to engage meaningfully in reflections on what it meant to be a “researcher” and the identities that made us outsiders. Whose voices could potentially be silenced? How could our identity as women elicit or deter open participation? One key structural factor in the replication of Global North ways of knowing is adherence to funding requirements. Funding sources in the Global North can

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subsume social justice goals by requiring that researchers and practitioners structure projects in accordance to neo-managerial agendas, which focus on reporting and outcomes (Wehbi et al. 2016). This is one of the organizing principles of neoliberalism in social work, whereby benchmarks of accountability, outcomes, and performance measures are set to increase productivity and efficiency. Funders’ demands, coached in terms of outcomes, outputs, activities, and goals, can take priority over the goals of the community (Wehbi et al. 2016). Funding bodies therefore have significant influence on what gets researched, how research is approached, and what is valued. To avoid these pitfalls and maintain the voices of the Nicaraguan