Social Welfare and Social Development



good afternoon everyone we're going to get started here I'd like to welcome you on behalf of the David M Kennedy Center for International Studies as well as the Social Work Department we're co-sponsoring this lecture my name is Dave Schuler I work here in the building we're really happy to see such a good crowd come out professor Maestri walked in and she said I thought you told me there was going to be like five or ten people here I told her that her fame had spread abroad and so we'd like to start out this afternoon with opening prayer and I've asked David Kaye to offer that who's South Africa facilitator here in the Kennedy Center do you have my father thank you for this day for the opportunity that we have to meet and to learn from a professor Maestri we ask to thy spirit will be with us so we can learn and grow that we can be a little more knowledgeable and wiser about about the people who live on this planet with their brothers and sisters and thank you for the many blessings I was giving us and we ask and say these things name Jesus Christ amen thank you David I would like to say right off how grateful I am that Professor Maestri has come such a long distance she had some 30 hours in the air and lost luggage and a few hours of sleep since she's been here she's been raced around various places I also would like to thank dr. Jeanne Roby from Social Work who really has carried the main burden and responsibility of making sure that arrangements were made and we're very grateful for her efforts I knew of the reputation of dr. Maestri over a year ago but just had the pleasure yesterday of actually meeting her and I had actually intended on reading this very long bio but I think just from meeting her and knowing her in these few hours that we spent together that probably she would just as soon I didn't do all of that she is a very common-sense down-to-earth person who has obviously spent many years thinking about the difficult issues relating to development and poverty she was a professor at the Fort Hare University there in East London South Africa she works in Social Work and community development and these are terms that I think that are familiar to many of us but they take particular significance in South Africa she may share some of those thoughts with us we often talk of the issues of international development and here at BYU and and she has spent her lifetime being concerned with these she her research interests have included development welfare identity culture of feminism gender studies spirituality human values development of indigenous knowledge participatory in action research and learning methods and we're very very grateful that she's here and I will leave it up to her to share any other kinds of information that she would choose to about herself with that let's give a welcome to professor Mason thank you very much and a warm good afternoon to everybody it was hot yesterday but it's just warm today I was informed that it's going to it was going to be very very cold so I have a bag full of thermal way and so actually finding something suitable to wear this morning was problematic I am surprised that there's so many of you here this afternoon David did say that it was going to be about 10 or 15 people it's Friday afternoon and he won't get such a huge crowd so this is quite surprising I just want to tell you that when I went to Johannesburg to apply for my visa there's a process the American consulate is is very strict about visa application you have to go since the 1st of September that changed the rules you have to fly to Johannesburg apply for your visa fill in a DHL envelope and then wait at home and after about four or seven days they let you know whether you have obtained the visa or not but I was leaving on the 13th my appointment with him was on the 12th and I said please you have to give me my visa because I've already made all my travel arrangements so I followed the what if I had to do you hand in your form as you wait in the queue they call your number you go again they check your forms and they interview you so there was this young American who was interviewing me and okay so who are you what are you doing where do you teach for here University is that a Mormon University and I said no it isn't you're going to BYU that's a momen University and I said yes so what are you going to do at BYU so I showed him the program and why are you going to BYU so I explained to him why am I going to BYU I mean he looks at me and he said don't say anything radical when you go there and I thought to myself no I'm not gonna say anything radical but what I'm going to talk about is the radical changes that's happening in South Africa at the moment so I said I'm quite safe so he said yeah but please don't say anything radical so what I'm going to talk to you about today I'm not big on following what I actually prepared I have a paper that I've written it's a paper that my colleague and I actually started discussing and I wrote this out at the beginning of this year there's a lot of concern about education in in in the social service professions itself Social Work was the center of social service provision in South Africa for a long long time with the changes with the democratic elections the changes to Social Welfare as I said yesterday the change has been towards a developmental approach and where's challenged to try to work out conceptually what does development mean for the South African democratic context and a context of transformation transformation is not easy so as far as I always called us the struggle we've had our liberation struggle but the struggle is actually now in South Africa ten years after political freedom it's it's us constructing our knowledge understanding it in the South African context applying it and specifically in the field of social service professions so social work itself is not at the center of the stage of social welfare anymore we've got other service professions like child in youth care community development has recently been actually thrust to the fore as a very important social service profession in South Africa but community development education has not followed this and there's a need now to look at what does community social and community development educate mean my research is looking at development of a four year program in social and Community Development but what is happening is that instead of looking at both in as having a relationship with each other complimenting each other there's there's a dichotomy that's being developed between social work on the one hand and community development on the other as though individuals and families did not belong to a community so academically there's quite a discourse going on between Social Work education and weird US Community Development actually 13 to that and and Community Development education and its relationship with social work and we've been talking about this in our department I'll just give you a little bit of background as to the University of Fort here the University of Fort here had its main campus in Alice in the Eastern Cape Province which is one of the poorest provinces in in in the country with the emerging of universities last year we had from 36 universities we have 21 as a cost-cutting and end towards equity the National Department of Education decided to merge University so right now we have 21 universities so what was formerly the East London campus of Rhodes University has become part of 40 a university so 40 a university currently has a campus in Ellis it has a campus in East London and it has a campus in vco now just the merging of the universities itself has created problems because Rhodes University and I was employed by Rhodes University we have a Department of Social Development which educates students in social work but there's emphases and Community Development also we have a postgraduate program a master's program in Community Development while the Alice campus educates students in social work and there's very little emphasis on social development and Community Development so as a university itself that has merged with another campus we're struggling to work out what does the Social Work education and Community Development education what is it and and how do we make this work so this is where my interest has arisen and and this is what my research focuses on but yesterday dr. Robey asked an interesting question and she stirs and she wanted to know if this would be answered in the course of my talk today is what do we understand by development how do we see development in in the South African context and and what do we understand by community development now that's very interesting because development studies itself the Alice campus has a center for development studies and in my postgraduate program in in Community Development there's a paper that's called development and poverty so there's two course work papers ones development and poverty and the other is community management and leadership and one of the things we do look at is how do we conceptualize development and conceptualize development currently in the South African context we have to have some kind of international understanding of what development is so we follow what development the the theories of development and does every American know the theories of development because it originated here after the Second World War we look at modernization theory and then that's followed by dependency theory so those macro economic theories is something that our students look at in the postgraduate program but that snow doesn't under fully give us an understanding of what is development in South Africa a lot of emphasis though is placed on the humanist paradigm of of develop one of the things that my colleagues in on the Ellis campus do is focus on the political economy of Africa from a developmental perspective and that's a Marxist perspective of development and a lot of emphasis is placed on understanding how colonization actually impacted on development in Africa and then in South Africa colonization and a path aid so that is a starting point for understanding development in the Center for development studies I do a more rounded look at development with my students on the East London campus but very recently the emphasis has been on a humanist paradigm and looking at the basic needs approach to development and also a mafia since development as freedom and I think that's quite important and relevant to South Africa but we have an organization in Cape Town which is called a community resource Community Development resource Association and very interest interestingly they've developed a concept of development that I actually find quite agreeable for the South African context and and maybe it's applicable to every context they they talk about development as being an organic process it is inherent in every human being in every organization and in every community it is a process so development is seen as a process and the development practitioner actually intervenes in this development process okay and what the education of a development practitioner should focus on is an awareness of the development process so if you are looking at individuals and and this is relevant for social work and if you're looking at working with an individual in assisting an individual then you have to understand the whole human development and we're in this pose of human development of this individual you are actually intervening the same applies to an organization so knowing about organizational life and we in this process you are intervening but for me the interest is in communities so in terms of community development understanding the background the history of the community and where the development practitioner is actually intervening in the life of this community and I think for the South African context that's quite relevant so from from the humanist paradigm itself we would I would think that that the program that we are looking at in terms of community development would align itself to the way Amarth Eocene looks at development and also with how we see development as an organic process so the South African government has adopted what I said yesterday was a developmental approach to social welfare in South Africa and social welfare I'd like us four to think about it in a broader perspective not just the system of social welfare but the social well-being of all the communities individuals in in South Africa but it makes it very clear the white paper for social welfare talks about social welfare of the majority in South Africa those who were previously disenfranchised in South Africa and development focusing on making them active citizens in in the country so active citizenship is an important focus of development okay so the the policy framework Social Development provides the policy framework for social welfare in South Africa Community Development is seen as intervention strategy to combat poverty in South Africa so the government is emphasizing Community Development as the intervention strategy for the eradication of poverty in South Africa the next step is now what do we understand by Community Development we try to do this one really important aspect of understanding all of these concepts and I think conceptualization for a specific context is crucial all of these concepts existed during the up during the apartheid regime it's important to critique it to look at where we are now in South Africa and develop these concepts in relation to the context the current context of democracy and of transformation so having a finite definition isn't a real reality in South Africa it's a process and we do this I actually do this with every class is how do we define these concepts in the current context of South Africa and some of the characteristics that come up is community development is seen as collective action ok it is about people defining their own development and I think a lot of emphasis given our history where even your your your race was imposed on you imposition is something that people in South Africa are very very wary of it's coming from the outside and imposing what your development should be and how your development should be done so the the collective action plus people defining what their development is all about and participating planning and proposing their own development is actually quite crucial so the the building blocks of development the four principles of development currently is participation is empowerment is social learning or conscient ization if um I'm not sure how aware you are of Paulo Freire's teaching of conscient ization it was a process during apartheid it formed a big part of the whole liberation struggle so that's something that is still considered as a building block of development and sustainability but what the government emphasizes though is people centered development and most of the scholars in South Africa talk about development is about people it's not about infrastructure it's not about economics it's not about GDP or GNP it's about people and people should participate in their development I just want to read you a few sentences about development as people and and what is the thinking behind people centered development the word for people's into development in in South Africa is battle pili okay it's be a th o PE l e it's a government policy but appeal E is a government policy it's people centered development people should be at the center of the development and and a very significant value in Community Development is one – okay it's you be u n tu which emphasizes collective action Ubuntu actually means that we are who we are through others okay we are human through others so wound to actually means we are who we are through others a little different from I think therefore I am okay so there's this this year this collective action and being human and being involved in being an intricate part of a community is very important so that actually defines Community Development let me just find this please about people centered development this is by a South African author who's been writing about development for some time and this is what he says development is about people and the development effort should be meaningful to them okay it also acknowledges that development is a universal issue okay it's not specific or particular to third world countries alone because this issue such as urbanization pollution environmentally egregious degradation hiv/aids all of these practices are relevant to most societies the fact that development is about people yeah that's fine development is about people and it binds us to accept that development involves millions of people who live in poverty and her experience in equality as far as access to economic political and symbolic power is concerned these people must be made the focus of development action and intervention the focus should not be on macroeconomic statistics such as an increase in per capita income which often conceals the humanness the need and distress of these millions of people development must begin by identifying human needs development is about people moves the emphasis from a macro level quantitative approaches to qualitative micro level approaches and and this involves community values and needs local customs knowing local customs community participation and indigenous peoples knowledge and I think that's very very important the shift in emphasis implies the development is not only about creating infrastructure for the poor but that it is also about people their needs values and customs and their understanding of their circumstances that development is about people knowledge that development is about human relationships the CDRA this organization that I was talking to you about the Community Development resource Association focuses mainly on development is as about human relationships human relationships are one of the main determinants of human development a great deal of the world's most development is a result of unfair or dysfunctional relationships at international national or community level and national and community levels power relations gender relations ethnic and racial relations play a part in shaping or distorting authentic development and we are very aware of the sins of Africa to argue that development is about people is to acknowledge that development is cloaked in uncertainty there is very little certainty in development it's the uncertainty of changing circumstances changing needs and eventually changing people we're working with in the Eastern Cape Province I am working with the Department of Social Development the provincial or what you call the State Department of Social Development and change is something that we have learned to accept that happens every day so if we put a system of structure together today we know that in about two weeks time there's going to be changes happening to that so change is an important element of development it also implies that people confronted with the message of development have the right to decide on it themselves what it means to them and whether they want it or not you cannot force development no matter how much you think that people actually need development it cannot be forced if we believe in development is about people and this is a radical approach in the sense that it grants people the right to reject any development proposal program a project if they perceive it as meaningless within the context of their changing reality there is no blueprint for development okay development about people in place now this is something that most African scholars are critiquing that development implies development is about people implies the rejection of the assumption that civilization is synonymous with westernization and that's what the whole modernization Theory actually talked about is third-world countries had to modernize to become civilized and I think that's a very sensitive issue in the African continent currently we need to acknowledge diversity and support the idea that there is room for all people around us think all development irrespective of how it may be defined by those who should be an effort from it so in terms of the discourse itself this is what is currently happening in South Africa when it comes to people centered development now I want to take you to how we looked at at education for Community Development and this relationship between social work and community development I think I'll stop here for a few minutes if there are any questions yes you mentioned that there should be a human aspect to it it should be people centered but my question is then what is development so if development is not modernization what is it if we approach it from a human perspective or with a people centred approach that's how we're approaching it but my question is what is development okay the way I want to answer this is that when we do work with our students and when we do work with communities I think it's very important to start from all of us have an idea of what development is and it's actually quite dangerous to take that idea into a community and start with development from your own idea I explained development as a process and I explained that when you go into a community you actually intervene into this development process and it's very important that you become astute and insightful as to where you are intervening and I think that's quite important don't go with the assumption that because you understand development in this way and that is the way that the community understands what development is and my research I'm actually looking talking to communities now asking them what is their understanding of development I think I'm doing this because we develop curriculums in a tertiary institutions without actually talking to the main participants of development and that is the communities okay and I think we need to get an understanding of how do they see development what is their understanding of it for them so from my research I would like to to work through with communities and their understanding of development I have all this theoretical understanding of development I could take this and say look development is modernization this is what you have to do development is is is looking from a basic needs approach it could be a combination of all of them and the communities would be able to tell you that yes with with our Federation and their own meaning of development and what they've been able to do it's influenced my own views of development and how to work within my own my own society and so I think also we need to keep in mind that people doing things on the ground are actually are our source of information where we learn from them how to incorporate better educational methodologies and things that that were mutually learning from one another and that there is no right meaning or a definition of development I think it's very important to remember that as long as you're not causing any harm and then you're working with people in certain ways that you have certain principles and values as a development practitioner I think that's very important some of the programs at the department community development work is actually working with we talked about this yesterday is is the emphasis is on poverty alleviation that's what the government is doing by poverty alleviation so it's going to what the the in the Eastern Cape Province and this is not happening all over South Africa the Eastern Cape Province is actually leading this process what we've done is with selected four areas and we implement the whole participatory approach okay so collecting baseline data from the communities community is actually participating in it and and working out within needs actually are what their resources are and and we've moved away from a needs based approach it's looking at it from a strength based approach also and their resources so communities have done that in the four areas with Dement they've looked at the kind of programs that they want to be involved in and plans have been put together for that and the department is going to currently fund those plans so that they can be put into effect you you cautioned against macroeconomic theory coming from an econ background myself I was wondering why you feel that those type of large-scale statistical analysis is dangerous and if you feel they do have some value as far as developing countries are concerned I did caution against it because what it does is is it misses the human element so what the Social Development approach actually does is combines the social objectives with economic development so it's a combination about it it balances both it attempts to theoretically and that's what it should be looking at in practice so there isn't the weight just towards economic development only so the human has aspect and social objectives have to be taken into consideration when we talk about in terms of development right now in South Africa the literature is talking about the interaction between macro level development and micro level development and I think that they need to be speaking to each other I'm interested in when you define community how large or small do you mean when you say from the community or individual level and who speaks on behalf of these communities with the government who's the voice of are you talking about Township level or street level or the work has been mainly with for those who are not familiar the Eastern Cape Province has well during the apartheid we had the homeland and the Bantu stance you know what that means the apartheid government created these countries within a country itself according to tribes and cultures and we have two of the biggest homes in the Eastern Cape Province which is that the transguy and the sky and these are basically rural communities in in in in on arable land these are the communities that the focus is on because poverty is actually quite drivin in these rural areas it's the communities through their Ward councils okay there are ward structures which is the basic community level structure and it is through these councils and communities actually have community-based organizations they have set up a community project committees and they've got community-based organizations so it is working through these organizations and community structures any other questions I've seen a lot of it's hard for me to try to balance the idea of helping people change we said the change is important but it's also important to respect what they're already doing for development how do you balance those yeah we were talking about this we always talk about change that happens as a development practitioner our focus is on bringing about change that is external always will bring about change in individuals and organizations and families and in communities but I think change and what I want to say ci is that change can only happen within communities if they actually agree to that need for the change to happen so the first principle here is that you cannot impose that change okay and I think if poverty is what Community Development is is is attempting to address then people do want to change I want to get out of that situation of poverty so that's not something that is it's difficult to work through but I think what is important from a developmental perspective is that there is this need for individual transformation also the development practitioner himself or herself actually goes through changes through that process because if we see development as as about being about human relationships then the development practitioner doesn't come out of that relationship without changing also this change is is also an interactive process but change cannot be imposed because I know there's community development workers who who actually say that the community isn't interested and the we in South Africa if you look at the history dependency is something that was created through the apartheid regime and getting communities and one of the things about Community Development this is something I didn't mention is that most of the community development of social service professions actually talked about building self-esteem building the self esteem of communities apartheid has dehumanized communities in South African and an important objective of Community Development is actually enhancing not just communities but individuals in social work and that's what social work is supposed to be focusing on is the self esteem of individuals and families and n of communities so empathy is quite a big issue in in in working with communities and community development or development practitioners actually find that quite difficult so it's a long slow process this is understanding where the community is coming from and why the community is in such a state it seems to me that theoretically as it is for example I think many people perhaps even the majority of people here when poverty is used what comes to mind Tyrael poverty exactly whereas in defining poverty if your poverty extends to illiteracy or other types of social and Justices or abuse or crime or low self-esteem then then we're getting more closer to the kind of development that you're talking about I think then you know looking at part of the paper or the program the postgraduate program actually looks at how you define poverty in South Africa and one of the questions that I've been asking is that this community development for the economically poor economic disadvantaged only and this is what we are looking at because there's also if we are looking at social development as a framework then I my understanding is that community development should be for everyone in South Africa because even though we may focus on economic and material poverty right now because there's a huge need for it okay the less lack of basic essential services water sanitation electricity those kinds of things have to be attended to but there's also the need there's this a what I call is spiritual poverty in South Africa you know we've gone through such a dehumanizing process for so many decades that we have to look at poverty in a much broader sense what you were talking about and and that's quite important also this is a an anomaly that we've been talking about so we talk about poverty alleviation reduction eradication so just remember with eleven years into democracy okay and and we can we've got some exciting things going in South Africa so we can ask all of the questions that we want to we can define our concepts way we see it relevant to the situation in South Africa so it's really really nice it this yesterday it's the most exciting time in in in South Africa we have this policy the social development framework we have a white paper social welfare we have a transformation policy I think South Africa has some of the best policies in the world right now okay last year and this year the state president's address to the nation was it's time for implementation okay so now we're struggling with how do we translate these fantastic policies and how do we implement but this is what we are talking about is implementation ten years from now and I come back to BYU come III and I'll answer that question but there are some success stories we have some best practices they're there in small pockets they're not great as yet but they are some best practices in terms of Community Development do I go back to looking at our education the paper that I was supposed to present I just have a question about the if you're working with the individual communities trying to help them to develop themselves and help them develop your community as well isn't there a problem with getting those communities than to work with other communities because the communities are so diverse there you have the coloreds and then the black communities and the white can two different kinds of white community or more than two different kinds of white communities and I mean is there do you find there's a lot of resistance when these communities try to cross these community lines because you can develop within a community but then how do you develop a single national community from those structures okay that's a process we're going to look at you know Community Development can be a nation-building process but it's a slow process remember with a path that the communities were divided physically into group areas so right now there's a movement of people but it's people with in a middle and an upper income groups that can move migration is easier but there are communities and townships for stolen townships communities in rural areas who are still in the rural areas and we need to focus on each one of these communities first so it's a process we realize that the Bell's gonna ring here in just a few minutes for those that maybe need to leave if you could leave quietly you'll probably go for another five minutes yeah why don't I do this I'm gonna leave a copy of my paper with dr. Robey and and if anybody is interested in the whole education process in the models that we have been looking at and suggesting then you could actually read it and I'll leave my email address and if you want to ask me more questions and open a dialogue with me about this I'd be happy to communicate with you is that okay okay thank you you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *