Promoting Social Work as a Valued Profession


With guidance of a multi-disciplinary Steering Group, assess current awareness in Cambodia (accuracy and positive image) about social work as a profession among the general public, civil society, government officials, high school students and their teachers and parents. Design messages and materials to clarify and raise interest in social work’s role in Cambodia and disseminate, using print, broadcast and social media. Measure impact and prepare plan to scale up to all 5 provinces.

Program Description

This program is designed to make the first steps in raising the profile and status of social work as a profession in Cambodia. For many reasons, described above in the problem statement, social work is a poorly understood and undervalued profession in Cambodia. There is a small, but growing and committed group of Cambodian social workers who have learned the concepts, adopted the values, and who practice well with the various groups of vulnerable people they aim to empower and support. But the number is too small, and in order for social work to contribute all that it is capable of giving to Cambodian society there need to be more social workers trained at both the university and non-degreed levels. Increasing the number is not adequate, as they need to work in an enabling environment of other professions and institutions that recognize and value their work. Thus, other groups that surround a social worker, colleagues from other professions (from ministries also involved in social development tasks) and families and friends and civil society organizations all need to know and value what social workers know and do, so they are also included as target groups for the awareness raising. The program will be overseen by a Steering Group made up of 12 individuals: six social workers (3 Khmer, 3 international), 2 communication specialists with experience and expertise in marketing, graphics, video, writing and social media (one international, one Khmer), one representative each from RUPP Department of Social Work (RUPP-DSW) and National Institute of Social Affairs (NISA), and 2 members, one with decision making authority from Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation. This Committee will coordinate and oversee the final selection of target groups, development of messages, development of baseline and end-line surveys, development and piloting of materials and the implementation plan for how materials will be used to achieve the goals of the action. Once the Steering Group has been formed and written its roles and responsibilities, it will proceed with the activities of the program. It will continue to meet at least monthly. As the group is a vital part of the success of the project, members will receive transportation support, lunch if the meeting is more than half a day, and for organizations that do not have sufficient budget, small stipends for the members’ time. The first task of the Steering group will be identifying the target groups. These have largely been identified, but the Steering Group may have valuable input on variations that could make the work more successful.

Below are the steps that will be followed for each target group.
1. Identify target group
2. Develop baseline survey for the group
3. Develop messages to achieve the goal for each target group,
4. Conduct baseline survey
5. Identify media that will most effectively convey message(s) to target group
6. Select group that can most effectively implement the use of the IEC materials
7. Produce, pilot and make final production of IEC materials
8. Implement the campaign for each target group, using the materials
9. Conduct end-line survey and write up the results.
10. Use the results as relevant with any other target group or materials not yet implemented.

There will be 4 basic campaigns targeted at the following groups:
1. College bound high school students, their parents and their teachers.
2. Ministries involved in social development (MoSVY, MoEYS, MoI, MoJ, MoWA, MoH) at
leadership level and technical level
3. General Public
4. Civil Society – the NGOs that often implement programs that would benefit from social
work principles and methods, but have no social work leadership or trained staff.

Campaign #1
The program will raise the awareness of prospective social workers who are college-bound high school students, showing them, perhaps through a video, what a social worker does in his/her job, and how doing this work enables a respectable family life as well as work life. Parents and teachers, who are the two greatest influences on a student’s selection of a career pathway, will also be included in this aspect of the work. The campaign with high school student will take place in Battambang in rural high schools, and in Phnom Penh in urban high schools. The target will b college-bound high school students in grades 11 and 12. The timing will be such that they will be able to express their choice of university studies in the early spring of 2017. The Ministry of Education requires high school students to select one study area for university at about the mid-year point in 12th grade. Then after they graduate, they take the infamous Bac II Test in about August (that schedule varies from year to year) and those who pass are assigned to the university subject of their choice with a scholarship that covers tuition only.

a. The implementing partner will meet with groups of college-bound high school students (direct beneficiaries) in grades 11 and 12 in Battambang and Phnom Penh, and their parents and teachers (indirect beneficiaries). These groups will have equal numbers of boys and girls, and will include any children with disabilities attending those schools, based on the assumption that children with disabilities often find it difficult to attend school or stay in school, there will be few in number, so if any college bound 11th or 12th grader has a disability they should be included in the sessions. Posters promoting social work as a good vocational and study choice will be posted at the high schools prior to the meetings with the target groups

b. The Implementing Partner will meet for about 90 minutes with groups of about 30 11th and 12th graders who intend to go to university. The team will include a faculty member of RUPP DSW or NISA, one practicing social worker, and one assistant to manage the logistics. In all the teams will meet with 600 high school students, 200 in 4 of the 25 high schools in Battambang and 400 in six of the 34 high schools in Phnom Penh. Teachers of those students will be invited to join the meeting. At the meeting the team will introduce themselves, explain the goal of the meeting, then show a 10 minute video of a social worker in Cambodia doing his/her work in the field with a client, then coming back to the office to do case notes and meet with his/her supervisor, then going home to their family (either their parents, or their spouse and children) the goal of the video is to show what social workers actually do on the job, and to show that social workers have good job opportunities, interesting and rewarding work, that their salaries are adequate to help support a family, and that they are respected in the communities they work in. After the video there will be questions and answers. The university representative will talk about how their program works, and again answer questions and then give out colourful, informative leaflets that provide useful information about social work and promote attendance at the two schools of social work. The meeting will close with a request to interested students to select social work when the time has come to make that decision for university. Refreshments will be served and students will be given a telephone
number to contact for more information. Baseline information will be collected before the session through a brief survey
c. Once the students have selected their area of study, and graduated from high school, they will take the Baccalaureate II Exam during the months of July or August, and results will be announced once any re-tests are completed. At that point the project will learn from NiSA and RUPP DSW how many students have selected to go to their schools. The program can then contact the respondents to the baseline to conduct an endline survey to determine whether the meeting with video, speakers and leaflets had any influence on their perception of social work, and on their selection of study area. The results will help to inform and improve any scaling up or other campaign that could be
made in the early months of 2018.

d. Complementing the meetings with students, will be a social medial campaign on apps identified by communications experts as being popular with high school level students. The messages on the social media will relate to vocational choices, and the attractiveness of social work as a profession that offers work opportunities, respect and recognition in the communities, and a living wage.

Campaign #2 – Ministries involved in Social Development
a. Contact will be made with the six ministries identified by the Steering Committee (presumed to be Social Affairs, Women’s Affairs, Health, Interior, Education, and Justice), to seek a brief, one-hour meeting with 6-8 members of the leadership team of that ministry (indirect beneficiary). The goal will be to inform them about the social work profession, to show them a brief video of a social worker at work in the field, the office and at home. Materials will be developed that illustrate how social work is complementary to the core work of their ministries, with examples from Cambodia and
other nearby countries and the West on how collaboration with social workers can enhance the work that they do directly in their own field. A short question and answer period will follow, along with distribution of leaflets summarizing the points made in the meeting. Participants will be asked to complete a baseline survey, which will be coded for comparison with an end-line survey to be conducted at a future point. The names will be coded to obscure the identity of the respondents.
b. This meeting will require the support of a Ministerial level ‘champion’ or a high level executive from the UN or donor body, as leadership executives expect to be addressed by people of similar status, and have little time for those of lower status. The presenters will also need to be quite polished and confident.
c. A second set of meetings will be held with technical departments (indirect beneficiaries) of the relevant ministries that have most potential for collaboration with social workers, in health, for example, the mental health department, preventive medicine department, hospital department.
d. These meetings will involve up to 20 technical staff of each ministry and will last about 2 hours in their offices in Phnom Penh. One exception might be meetings with MoI departments including the CCWCs (MOI) and police and judges (Moj) in Battambang. The content will be similar, showing the video of a social worker at work with a client,
at their office, collaborating with another service provider, and at home. The baseline survey will be given before the meeting, and coded for follow up after the projects general public interventions have been completed, and the social work day event has been implemented.

Campaign #3 General Public

a. Aimed at the general public with an effort to influence the thinking of social workers themselves (direct beneficiaries), family members (indirect beneficiaries) of prospective social workers and social work students, the intervention in this instance will be public broadcasts of radio (5 topics) and TV spots (3 topics), coordinated with
social media.

b. All these public type materials will contain ways to contact and ask questions or discuss with a social worker. The project will employ a trained person who will hold a special telephone number and respond to calls, recording the number and content of calls and information given. S/he will also scan and record responses on social media. Those
responses will be used to evaluate impact and also to influence future content of the materials.

c. There is an annual Social Work Day held worldwide on March 15. The program will contract with Friends International to organize the materials (some already created for other targets) and events associated with ‘Social Work Day’, such as street banners, Proclamations made by prominent government officials, radio and TV talk shows
focusing on social work, and promoting the RUPP Social Work programs and NiSC degrees as well. Posters will be produced that can be put up at CSOs in the 5 provinces. Friends International and its associated program partners from 3PC can disseminate the messages about social work day on their social media networks.

Campaign #4 Civil Society Organizations
a. Much of the social work that is done in Cambodia is carried out by international and national NGOs. Within that group, there are several organizations that are well grounded in the principles and practices of social work and follow international standards. However, there are also a large number that carry out ‘good works’ following the charity model, which does not have lasting impact on its beneficiaries. This campaign will be carried out through interested NGO networks such as CCC and 3PC.
b. The messages, once developed under the guidance of the Steering Committee will be conveyed through social media, flyers, posters, and video-based group discussions at small workshops (up to 30 participants who are staff (direct) and managers (indirect) of NGOs ) within the CCC and 3PC network, focused on NGOs working in the 5
provinces. Participants will complete baseline and end-line surveys at the beginning and end of the campaigns.

Once the messages and materials are designed, the Steering group will make an implementation plan to sequence the activities based on logic and external factors. For example, the Campaign #1 will need to begin immediately in order to be completed in time for the students to make their study selections in the early part of 2017, before the Khmer New Year. Campaign #2 will take place after the Commune Elections in June 2017, as government officials will be freer to engage then. Campaign #3 can be ongoing, except for the Social Work Day events, which need to focus on March 15th. Campaign #4 can be ongoing once the campaign for high school students is completed.

The Steering Committee will coordinate the activities, and with their guidance, SSC will select and contract with the company or organization most capable of carrying out the implementation of each activity. As SSC is not a Tier One organization, it will be funded through GAC, which has agreed that SSC can select and contract directly with the implementing NGO.

This program, will coordinate closely with the program developing social work standards, to be sure that the messaging is consistent. Through the monthly meetings of the TSGs all players will have the opportunity to give and receive information and feedback.