Do what you can, with what you have, where you are – Theodore Roosevelt
The SWIDP (Social Work, International Development and Psychology) training is offered by SKIP three times a year and the second session successfully ended two weeks ago this summer while the third one commences in fall. The SWIDP course covers topics ranging from volunteering experience, approaches to behavior management using psychology, mindfulness, migration in Peru, social reality of SKIP service users, gender as a concept in Latin American societies, etc. The summer session began the week of 6th June and ended on 18th of July with training classes twice every week. This was an intensive programme to fit with the number of volunteers in SKIP for just two months over this time period, the regular programme lasts for 14 weeks with sessions once per week. The course was facilitated by qualified social worker, Hanna Voekl, who originally hails from Germany. SKIP’s CEO and the Peruvian staff team were also regular contributors to the taught sessions.
According to the Social Work and Society -International Online Journal, despite many attempts to define social work, there have been some disagreements in trying to come up with a universal definition. Thus, without a general agreement on what constitutes social work, it is difficult to definitively delineate what the roles and functions should be. The apparent failure to reach an agreement on what social work is partly accounts for the gap between what social workers say they want to achieve and what they are practically able to achieve as per the Scottish government’s take on social work. Hence, it is easy to presume that it is almost impossible to find a simple definition of social work with which everyone is likely to agree.
The SWIDP training course combined elements of social work, international development, psychology and child behavior in the context of SKIP and Peru in general in order to enhance volunteer understanding and experience. Volunteers participated from a range of countries including the United States, Hong Kong, Scotland and England.
“The SWIDP training course has been really interesting, I learned various things about Peru and El Porvenir, the place we operate at. I enjoyed the presentations by Peruvian staff and gathered information in person,” said Miriam Eyre, a second year student at the University of St. Andrews.
Numerous arguments have supported the idea that development education should not be confined to educational settings focusing directly on development studies but ought to be incorporated in other human services training, given that practitioners within the health and social services sectors are increasingly demanded in the development sector as well as playing roles as torchbearers in the fight for global justice. The 17th issue of Development Education with Borders explored the idea of Social Workers Without Borders (SWWB) concept boosting social work education in fostering knowledge and interest in the development field and promoting opportunities for ethical international practice. These arguments and ideas are exactly what the SWIDP training course at SKIP has covered while using context and history of Peru and the realities of daily life in El Porvenir.
One of the most important aspects covered in a few SWIDP training classes is the concept of “Voluntourism” and how it must be carefully managed so as not to shed a negative light on the concept of travelling abroad to “volunteer”.
“The concepts I have been exposed to at the SWIDP training course has been important for me to understand the various social work and international development projects in-depth. I really liked it,” said Harry Oliver from the University of Leeds.
We look forward to greeting the next cohort of eager students arriving in August in a few weeks time!