On November 11th, Armenia celebrated National Social Work Day.
To mark the day, the Armenian Association of Social Workers, in collaboration with Armenia’s Ministry of Labor and Social Issues and Yerevan State University, jointly presented We Are Together: A Celebration of Social Services in Armenia. The day was exceptional and we are honored to share that Mrs. Mira Antonyan, President of the Armenian Association of Social Workers, was bestowed with the Prime Minister’s Award for her contributions to the social work field during the opening ceremony.
With over 500 decision makers, policy makers, representatives of governmental and non-governmental organizations, and students in attendance, We Are Together celebrated the accomplishments of social workers, facilitated networking and collaboration between social services, and provided an opportunity for students to learn more about their profession. Many important civil society figures were in attendance, including Prime Minister Mr. Hovik Abrahamian, and the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, Mr. Artem Asatryan.
The attendance of these figures shows the growing acknowledgment of the importance of professional social work in Armenia. The government of Armenia (RA) is currently involved and interested in reforms within the social work field, as social work in Armenia has an immediate window of opportunity for positive change. Since Armenia’s system of social service provision is under active reformation, the presence of social service agencies and government officials provided an opportunity for vested interests to examine the current process of social reforms and to search for mutually agreeable, cohesive solutions. Such improvements will support RA in the revision of social sector legislation, facilitate smoother donor cooperation in the social field, and improve solidarity within the field.
Throughout the day, interested parties had the opportunity to see what individual social work organizations are doing to improve social services in Armenia by visiting the Exhibition of Social Services. Over 30 organizations from all social service sectors presented themselves in an interactive format. The AASW, for instance, asked social workers passing by their booth to share their thoughts on the meaning of social work in Armenia.
You can see the thought-provoking results here and you can also see some photos of the celebration here:
In the afternoon, AASW organized a Conference titled “Towards Social Services in Armenia”, which focused on issues Armenian social work faces today: the integration of social services, the educational sectors role in social services, and the continuing education of social workers. With over 200 participants, the conference’s working groups achieved the goal of promoting recognition, collaboration, and mutual support between the government and social service agencies. AASW plans to use the results of the conference, created through the collaboration of experts including political leaders, officials, social service providers, and members of the academia, to produce policy briefs to address the future of social work in Armenia.