On the occasion of World Social Work Day, the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and the Association of Social Workers of Republika Srpska supported the Union of Social Work Students and the Faculty of Political Sciences of the Banja Luka University in holding an event today in Banja Luka entitled “Promoting the importance of human relationships”.
The Head of the OSCE Field Office in Banja Luka, Dmitry Iordanidi, emphasized the important role of social workers in the community. “Bosnia and Herzegovina is in need of qualified social workers and a social protection system that ensures social stability by providing the most vulnerable members of the society with access to the services necessary for the attainment of adequate standards of living,” he said.
The event, which gathered 200 participants, focused on the role of social workers, with a special emphasis on their needs and challenges, on methods of assistance, supervision and sharing of best practices. The event also included the announcement of a special report of the Institution of the Human Rights Ombudsman of BiH.
“For our citizens to get the best quality service, it is important that we invest in human resources, in those employed in social protection institutions and the non-governmental sector active in providing social welfare. Furthermore, it is important to provide them with better and high-quality education,” said Sandra Dobrijević Šipka, Vice President of the Republika Srpska Association of Social Workers.
Whereas in previous years the focus was on external causes for the low status accorded to social workers, attention was given this year to their self-representation and the elimination of their degradation in the BiH society, Tamara Gaćanović, the Chairperson of the Union of Social Work Students, said.
“A major challenge social workers face is suffering burnout and exhaustion due to the issues they face on a daily basis, such as fighting for the lives of their beneficiaries,” said Gaćanović.
The OSCE Mission to BiH works continuously to enhance the capacity of social protection professionals to improve the reach and effectiveness of their services and advocate for needed policy changes.