The Ministry of Social Affairs (MoSA) visited Griffith this week to further advance the strong collaboration initiated in 2012, with continuing involvement from Professor Patrick O’Leary, Professor Donna McAuliffe, Head of School, other staff members from the School of Human Services and Social Work (HSV) and Griffith Health.
HSV is helping the government of Indonesia make significant changes through providing advice on developing a comprehensive, long-term plan for a child protection system to suit the Indonesian context. The establishment of an MoU in 2013 formalised this collaboration, and its renewal in March this year supports the ongoing cooperation.
This recent visit follows another in 2013 when staff from MoSA came to Griffith’s Gold Coast campus to participate in a program designed by the Griffith’s International Business Develop Unit in conjunction with HSV, aimed at developing MoSA’s understanding of social work in Australia and the operation of integrated social welfare services. Particular focus was placed on child protection and family services. The initiative arose from the ongoing collaboration and the research consultancy work HSV has been conducting for UNICEF and MoSA. The goal of the project was to move from institutional-based child protection to community-based child protection, with particular emphasis on the development of social work as the lead profession.
On Monday, the visiting MoSA delegates remarked that Griffith has proven to be a great partner for both MoSA and its organisational units such as the College of Social Welfare (STKS) Bandung. They hope that they can call on Griffith experts to further develop the role and capacity of professional social work within the broader child protection and social welfare systems in Indonesia. This will ensure that the child protection sector has a workforce that is trained and equipped to implement the new roles and interventions required in the evolving system.
In Indonesia, in recent times Professor McAuliffe gave a lecture on ethics to around sixty STKS staff and Professor O’Leary gave a public lecture in Bandung attended by around 400 people.
During their visit to Griffith’s Logan campus MoSA’s staff said that, as well as capacity building, and human resource development through projects like Train the Trainer, they are keen to engage with Griffith with regards to their Model Village initiative ‘How to empower a village’. This project could see Griffith providing multidisciplinary expertise to devise a model of resources for the community, working with MoSA to develop an approach so that each village can tackle and resolve social problems by themselves.
Professor O’Leary commented that MoSA’s recent visit provided the opportunity to build on their amicable and fruitful relationship. A staff member from MoSA and an outstanding Griffith PhD candidate is due to finish her PhD at Griffith early next year, and there is the potential for many more staff members to follow in her footsteps, taking links, knowledge and research outcomes back to Indonesia.