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The Tanzania Social Work and OVC Support Initiative


Since 2006, the Tanzania Institute of Social Work (ISW) has been partnering with Jane Addams College of Social Work (JACSW) and the Midwest AIDS Training and Education Center at the University of Illinois Chicago to strengthen the social work profession in Tanzania.

A particular focus has been on training community caregivers in key social work, case management, and child development skills so they are better able to meet the needs of most vulnerable populations, including orphans.

In collaboration with the Tanzania Human Resource Capacity Project, partners have trained 4,026 Para Social Workers (PSW), 642 PSW Supervisors, and 103 local trainers as of mid-2012. ISW leads all related quality control and technical assistance efforts, collaborating with all five implementers to provide trainers and facilitators.

A companion program launched in June 2012 — the Tanzania Social Welfare Assistant Program — represents the next step on a career ladder to enhance the country’s social support system. PSWs or others with similar backgrounds may apply to this year-long certificate program to prepare for employment in ward-level social welfare roles. The program includes seven months of classroom work and two months of supervised field work.

Another component of the Initiative is strengthening the social work profession in Tanzania through a learning exchange linking the Tanzania Social Work Association (TASWA) and the US-based National Association of Social Workers. Together, they are working to improve key organizational development capacities at TASWA, including advocacy, recruitment and retention, and establishing a regulatory framework for the profession.

AIHA’s OVC Initiative also supports the Tanzania Emerging Schools of Social Work Program (TESWEP) to strengthen the country’s capacity to provide quality social work education. Through this component of the Initiative, AIHA and its partners are building the capacity of 12 Schools of social work through standardized faculty and curricula development activities.

The Tanzania Social Work and OVC Support Initiative partners also work closely with similar AIHA programs in Ethiopia and Nigeria, thus bringing a regional scope to this innovative model program designed to improve care and support services available to orphans, children, and other vulnerable populations.

Key elements of the Para Social Worker training and technical assistance program have focused on strengthening the role of social workers as case managers and increasing the capacity of community volunteers to access resources for improving care for vulnerable children.

To this end, the partnership is building ISW’s capacity to deliver high quality pre- and in-service social work education, particularly in the areas of HIV/AIDS and OVC care through:

  • curriculum development;
  • joint teaching curriculum;
  • enhanced student fieldwork placement and supervision;
  • exchange of educational materials and training resources;
  • faculty development for teaching and targeted evaluation; and
  • the development and institutionalization of an in-service certificate program for para-professional case managers to serve the needs of OVC.


Key training resources and tools developed through the project include:

Para Social Worker Training Manual & Curricula: Partnering to Strengthen the Capacity of Community-based Caregivers to Support Orphans and Vulnerable Children (May 2012)

Para Social Worker Training Manual & Curriculum


Updated December 23, 2013

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