Contributing to indigenous social work practice in Africa: A look at the cultural conceptualisations of social problems in Ghana
Qualitative Social Work
School of Arts and Humanities
This paper aims to contribute to the indigenisation discourse by illustrating how dominant discourses and cultural practices explain and perpetuate social problems. We argue that focussing on the fundamental issue of a cultural conceptualisation of social problems will contribute positively to the development of the indigenous social work practice framework. As social work education forms an important foundation for how future social work practices will be performed, we interviewed 15 social work practicum students in Ghana about the cultural underpinnings of social problems. Themes developed from the interview data suggest that culture plays a key role in conceptualising social problems in Ghana. Although not often, culture tends to underpin and perpetuate social problems, such as streetism, child marriage and child neglect. Social work practice within the indigenous framework should aim at addressing the negative impacts of the cultural undertones of social problems. Social work practitioners should increase advocacy and knowledge sharing on the cultural explanations of social problems and collaborate with community leaders to change cultural values and norms that have negative ripple effects on children, young people and women.