The sixteenth (2021) Annual Conference and GA Meeting of ESSSWA

The 16th Annual Conference and GA meeting of ESSSWA was held on the 26th and 27th of March 2021 at Intercontinental Addis Hotel. The theme of the conference was, ‘‘Sociocultural Issues and Practices in Conflict Resolution and Peace Building.”

This Year’s annual conference was partially sponsored by Friedrich Ebert and Stiftung (FES). ESSSWA is therefore, indebted to Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) for their generous financial support.

Day One: Annual Conference

Program Facilitator: Dr. Rahwa Mussie (Board Member)

Welcoming Remark: Dr. Alula Pankhurst (Board Member)

Key note Address: Dr. Belete Belachew (FES-Representative)

Official Opening:  Her Excellency Dr. Ergoge Tesfaye, Minster, Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA)


March 26, 2021 was entirely devoted to paper presentations and discussions. The following informative and thought provoking research papers were presented and discussed:

Session One: Moderator- Dr. Melese Getu

  • The Practices and the Healing Nature of Indigenous Justice System: The Case of Ambasel Woreda; South Wollo, Ethiopia.          By Seid Hassen and Getu Ambaye (PhD)
  • Present Realities and Future Prospects of Indigenous Conflict Resolution Mechanisms in Amhara Region: Some Reflections. By Dessalegn Bizuneh
  • Causes of Marital Conflict and Customary Resolution Mechanisms among Kaffecho. By Eleni G/Senbet
  • The contribution of Liberia and Burundi’s women in peace keeping: Ethiopia can take a lesson. By Shewaye Semaw
  • Peace Building through Truth Commission in Africa: A Lesson to Ethiopia. By Dawit Yosef and Marew AbebeESSSWA 1

Session Two: Moderator-Dr. Abeje Birhanu

  • The 2018 Gedeo-Guji Conflict and its Resolution mechanisms. Southern Ethiopia. By Dagne Shibru (PhD)
  • የጎጃምና የወለጋ ህዝቦች ባህላዊና  ስነልቦናዊ  ትሰስር  ለአንድነትና  ለሃገር ግንባታ ተምሳሌትነት. By Desalegn Mekuriaw
  • Borana-Konso Amicable Relations and the Post-1991 Challenges. By Dejene Gemechu (PhD)
  • Customary Authorities: Transformation of Positions and Powers among the Ogaadeen Somali Clan of Ethiopia.By Kalid Abdinasir (PhD)

 Session Three: Moderator- Dr. Ashenafi Hagos

  • Constrained Choices: Exploring the Complexities of Adolescent Girls’ Voice and Agency in Child Marriage Decisions in Pre and during Covid-19 situations.By Dr. Gudaye Emire and team
  • Unable to move and forced to return: COVID-19 and disruption of migration movements between Ethiopia and the Gulf States. By Tekalign Ayalew
  • Psychosocial and Spiritual Considerations during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Ethiopia. By Dr. Mesele Mengsteab, et al


 Day Two: General Assembly Meeting

In day two, ESSSWA’s members convened to discuss  organizational matters, endorsed reports and the revised bylaw and elected governance body. 

Elected GA Leadership:

  • Dr. Dejene Gemechu Chair person
  • Dr. Dagne Shibru V/Chair person
  • W/t Elsabet Ayalew Secretary

 Opening remark: Dr. Zena Birhanu

  • 2020 ESSSWA’s Annual Audit Report: By Soliana Certified Audit Firm
  • 2020 ESSSWA’s Annual performance report: By Sintayehu Dejene (ESSSWA’s ED)
  • 2021 ESSSWA’s Annual Plan: By Sintayehu Dejene (ESSSWA’s ED)
  • ESSSWA’s Revised Bylaw: By Ato Teshome Mengiste (Board Member)
  • Election: The GA members elected 5 board members to replace those who have completed their terms of services

 Dr Zena

Outgoing Board members

  • Ato Kebede Ayele    Chairperson
  • Wro. Ribeka Woldeselassie V/chairperson
  • Dr. Alula Pankhurst Member
  • Dr. Zena Birhanu Member
  • Ato Teshome Mengiste Member

  Incoming (Newly Elected) Board Members

  • Professor Getenet Tadele
  • W/t Kiya Gezahegn
  • W/ro Tigest Tefera
  • Ato Amare Werku
  • Dr. Ashenafi Hagos


Newly elected and former board members with their new responsibilities

  • Professor Getenet Tadele: Chair Person
  • Dr. Rahwa Mussie: Vice Chair Person
  • Ato Haddush Halefom Member
  • W/t Kiya Gezahegn Member
  • W/ro Tigest Tefera Member
  • Ato Amare Werku Member
  • Dr. Ashenafi Hagos Member

Closing Remark: Ato Belete Dagne, Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs representative




World Social Work Day Celebration-2021 at Addis Ababa University

photo 2021 03 18 11 09 18photo 2021 03 18 11 09 07photo 2021 03 18 11 09 18 3Addis Ababa University (AAU) School of Social Work organized a symposium to celebrate ‘World Social Work Day of 2021’ in close collaboration with ESSSWA and ESWPA. As decided by International Federation of the schools of Social Work,the global theme of the day highlights, ‘Ubuntu:I am Because we are-strengthening social solidarity and globally Connectedness. The day started with a key message of the concept and philosophy of Ubuntu that sounds with the social work perspectives of the interconnectedness of all peoples in-environments by AAU School of Social Work head-Dr Mesele Mengesteab. The Symposium followed by the guest speakers of AAU Academic Vice President Dr Emebet Mulugeta and Ato Getachew- from Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs respectively. Both speakers emphasized the role, contributions and gaps of Social Workers on tackling the existing social dilemmas. ESSSWA excutive director-Ato Sintayehu Dejene also forwarded key messages on establishment and contribution of ESSSWA to the national Pre and In service training of Social Service workforce development and formulation of research, training modules and teaching aid materials for social work education across different regions and areas.  

In the symposium, academician namely Dr Wasse Kebede presented a paper on Social change and social workers contributions across three different times. Dr Ashanafi Hagos also presented the historical establishment of Social Work education in Ethiopia and Addis Ababa University. The third presenter was Dr Serkalem Bekele,she presented the existing establishment of Court social work unit in federal courts;Federal Supreme court and Federal First Instance Court- Ledeta Bench. Dr Zena Berhanu, who was a moderator allow participants of the symposium to reflect ideas and raise questions on paper presented and Dr Emebet Mulugeta, facilitator of the symposium forwarded end message on the need for solidarity at all levels: among and within individuals, communities, societies at globally, regional and national levels. Finally, participants donated blood and group photo was taken.


World Social Work Day is on the 16th March 2021. It is the key day in the year that social workers worldwide stand together to advance our common message globally. This year, the 2021 World Social Day highlights Ubuntu: I am Because We Are. This is the first theme of the 2020 to 2030 Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development.

Ubuntu: I am Because We are – Strengthening Social Solidarity and Global Connectedness. Ubuntu: ‘I am because we are’ is a concept and philosophy that resonates with the social work perspective of the interconnectedness of all peoples and their environments. It speaks to the need for global solidarity and also highlights indigenous knowledge and wisdom. Silvana Martinez, IFSW President commented:

“The theme comes from extensive consultation within IFSW and beyond. At a time when global politics has retreated into nationalism, Ubuntu is a powerful message on the need for solidarity at all levels: within communities, societies and globally. It is a message that all people are interconnected and that our future is dependent on recognizing all peoples involvement in co-building a sustainable, fair and socially just future. IFSW invites all social workers, partner organizations and people who care about the future to co-brand the poster. Together we can change world for this and future generations.”

Upcoming Vital Event

As you may know, the 16th Annual Conference and GA meeting was planned to be held from March 27 to 28, 2020. However, due to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in Ethiopia, the planned Annual Conference and GA meeting was postponed.

ESSSWA’s Board, after a series of discussions, now decided to hold the 16th Annual Conference and GA meeting on March 26-27, 2021. In the planned conference/meeting maximum precautions will be made to follow the Ethiopian Public Health Institute’s Covid-19 protection protocol to keep our esteemed members safe and well protected.

The Ethiopian Society of Sociologists, Social Workers and Anthropologists (ESSSWA), is thus cordially inviting its members to take part in this important event.

The meeting/conference place/hotel will be announced shortly.

Stay safe!

Covid-19 Emergency Response on Child Protection Case management

ESSSWA is currently implementing a project funded by UNICEF entitled Strengthening Capacities of TVET colleges, OCCAC and Service Providing Institutions for Training and Deployment of Skilled social service workforce Project (SCOTSPI). The project has primarily aimed at improving the wellbeing of vulnerable children and their care givers by improving the existing social service delivery system. However, the unexpected and rapid spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had a dramatic impact on the health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities. Particularly vulnerable groups such as children are the hardest hit by the deadly pandemic with a sharp rise in violence against children. To curb the spread of the disease,  the national response plan was launched by the Government of Ethiopia at federal and regional levels, including declaration of state of emergency and issuance of specific directives to enforce  social/physical distancing, travel restrictions, use of face  masks and also restrictions of public gatherings and closure  of schools, colleges and universities.

As a result, community service work training supported through the UNICEF-ESSSWA partnership was put on hold. To contribute to the national COVID-19 response, the UNICEF and ESSSWA revised their partnership and included child protection interventions with a focus on strengthening the social service workforce to ensure continuity of life saving services. This includes prevention and response to child protection risks such as family separation, gender-based violence, sexual exploitation and abuse, and other forms of violence against children such as child marriage. 

ESSSWA deployed and trained 5 senior social workers/supervisors, and 50 social workers at federal and regional levels who are directly working and supporting community service workers working with vulnerable children and care givers. The trained supervisors and social workers roll out  information education and communication (IEC) on COVID-19, including prevention of transmission, self-care methods, Child protection case management, child protection and gender-based violence (GBV) concerns and mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) with a focus on psychological first aid to 1000 community service workers in Amhara, Oromia, Afar, SNNP, Benishangul Gumuz, Somali, Tigray and Gambella regional states in collaboration with the regional BoWCYA and BoLSA.


Ethical Exceptions for Social Workers in Light of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Physical Distancing

Ethical Exceptions for Social Workers in Light of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Physical Distancing

by Allan Barsky, PhD, JD, MSW

                As the saying goes, “Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.” In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are certainly in extraordinary times. As social workers, we are facing a myriad of challenges. Many of us are working in organizations that have temporarily closed or are replacing in-person meetings with clients to telephone and digital communication. Some of us are in working organizations that are being overwhelmed with client concerns, ranging from anxiety about the pandemic, to unemployment and financial concerns, to difficulties with access to COVID-19 testing and healthcare services for themselves and their loved ones. All of us are working in environments of uncertainty, stress, and yes, also opportunities — opportunities to promote health, well-being, social justice, empowerment, and a stronger sense of community.

     Social workers possess many important methods and skills to help clients and communities to cope and thrive in times of crisis and transition. We can provide moral and instrumental support, access to services, advocacy to address client needs, therapy to help clients deal with anxiety and trauma, community organization, and a myriad of other methods of helping. But what are our ethical obligations when we are not able to provide services in our usual ways, particularly, the ways that are authorized by our codes of ethics, agency policies, and regulatory laws? Under what circumstances, if any, is it ethical for social workers to breach particular ethical standards, agency policies, or regulatory laws? And if we do breach any of these guidelines, what can we do to minimize the risk of harm to our clients, ourselves, and our practice settings?


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