Engagement of Social Workers in Policy Practice in Tanzania: A Case of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

William Manyama, Abu Mvungi


Social workers are potential change agents who can be used to transform the lives of the vulnerable populations in the world and Tanzania, in particular. This is achieved through actively and creatively participating in policy formulation and change (policy advocacy and change, analysis, launching campaigns and building coalitions). The powers social workers have are derived from the professional legality vested in them in making practice decisions. By utilizing their powers, skills and knowledge as change agents, they can considerably imbue social policies with pro-poor approach that puts social justice at the centre of development. Drawing from the findings of a study conducted in Dar es Salaam, this paper shows that social workers’ engagement in policy practice was low. The reasons ascribed to low policy practice engagement are lack of policy practice competencies/specialized training in policy practice, institutional/organizational interest/influence, lack of resources and fear. The paper shows that low engagement of policy practice has partly contributed to the low visibility, recognition of social work profession, practice and inefficient provision of welfare services in Tanzania. This article argues that it is very important for social workers to use their social policy skills and knowledge so as to bring positive social and economic outcomes to the lives of the vulnerable populations in Tanzania. This can be successfully done by using professional associations such as TASWO, establishing Social Work Council and forging cooperation with NGOs in advocating not only for policy implementation but also policy research and change.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijsw.v5i1.12351


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