SSWIM (Supporting Social Work in Malawi)

SSWIM is currently the main initiative of the charity Children and Families International Foundation, established as a response from government and academics in Malawi for support in developing social work education and professionalising social work practice in their country. SSWIM’s overriding aim is to provide support in a way which is self-sustainable for the long term, creating  strengthening, and empowering a skilled and effective social work profession.


SSWIM members in the UK include senior social work academics from several universities who bring expertise in teaching and research at national and international level, alongside practitioners experienced in planning and delivering social care services. All members are committed to ensuring that their involvement is led by the self-identified needs of the Malawians themselves, with a mindfulness of the decolonisation agenda and a strong emphasis on encouraging the development of indigenous resources.  The flow of knowledge and the impact of engagement is based on total respect and is very much two wa, with UK based academics and practitioners gaining as much as they give.

In the main the focus of SSWIM’s energies has been with Chancellor College, University of Malawi (Chanco) but increasingly is at a national level in contributing to the Malawian government’s Professionalization of Social Work in Malawi agenda.

Specific activities to date include:

Providing advice to Chancellor College, University of Malawi in establishing the degree programme in social work, and latterly in reviewing the initial curriculum

Providing direct and indirect support and consultancy to those challenged with delivering the degree course whilst having scarce resources to do so

Working directly with staff and students to develop practice placements and deliver Practice Educator training in Malawi at least annually; latterly focussing on the self-sustainability of the programme through a ‘training for trainers’ plan

Advancing the establishment of a National Association of Social Workers in Malawi to focus on registration and continuing professional development

Encouraging joint research projects and the production of indigenous resources for social work in Malawi

In the meantime, collecting and sending to Malawi UK social work books and resources

Membership of and contribution to meetings of the Task Force focussed on professionalising social work in Malawi, and participation in its annual conference

Promoting internationally the partnership between colleagues in Malawi and SSWIM to the benefit of social work worldwide.


© steve willis 2016