World Social Work Day this year takes place on 19 March 2024 and, since its inception in 2007, it has been a celebration that aims to highlight the achievements of social work, to raise the visibility of social services for the future of societies, and to defend social justice and human rights. 

This year’s theme is ‘Buen Vivir: Shared Future for Transformative Change’, emphasising the need for social workers to adopt innovative, community-led approaches that are ‘grounded in indigenous wisdom and harmonious coexistence with nature.’  

This resonates with the contemporary challenges and aspirations of social work around the globe. Our world faces multifaceted crises, ranging from violent conflicts, environmental degradation, to persisting poverty and political disparities. Against this backdrop, social work must evolve and adopt innovative, transformative approaches that are community-led and steeped in indigenous wisdom. Central to this transformative change is the principle of ‘Buen Vivir’, emphasising that true wellbeing is achievable when communities live harmoniously with nature, striving collectively for balanced development. 

This indigenous philosophy underscores the significance of interconnectivity, reciprocity, correspondence, and complementarity in human relationships and our bond with nature. Our goal is to champion this principle, fostering an eco-social world that thrives on inclusion, respect, mutual understanding, and the upholding of human rights. 

Social work operates in a world in crisis which is evidenced by thousands of people who die daily from violent conflict; millions who are displaced because of wars and violence or climate warming and environment destruction; persisting poverty, increasing inequality, and governments who choose ‘competition over collaboration and sovereignty over solidarity’ (International Federation of Social Workers, 2023). 

This theme serves as a timely reminder of the transformative role social workers play in driving positive change and fostering communities that thrive on mutual respect and sustainability, resonating with core social work values. 

Happy World Social Work Day from the Social Work team! 

Launch of global agenda theme 4: ‘buen vivir: shared future for transformative change’. (2023, October 31). International Federation of Social Workers.