UPOU and DSWD Collaborate for Successful Certificate Course on Social Welfare Concepts: Empowering Social Welfare Assistants for Positive Impact

The University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU), in collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) designed a series of courses to develop the competencies of the country’s social welfare assistants. The first of the series is the conduct of the training program entitled “Certificate Course on Basic Social Welfare Concepts: Enhancing Competencies of Paraprofessionals (Social Welfare Assistants or SWAs)” on 4-7 December at the Social Welfare and Development Center for Asia and the Pacific (SWADCAP), Taguig, Metro Manila.

This project is part of UPOU and DSWD’s partnership on micro-credentialing to upskill professionals and other stakeholders through the offering of applicable courses. It is also part of the commitment of the UPOU to improve the lives of the most vulnerable members of our society and widen society’s access to quality education and information.

A total of 53 participants actively engaged in the event who were mostly social welfare assistants  representing local government units (LGUs) through their Local Social Welfare and Development Offices (LSWDOs). The training course was led by Dr. Finaflor Taylan, the Program Chair of the Diploma in/ Master of Social Work and other Social Work faculty members, Dr. Maria Lourdes Jarabe, and Assistant Professor Lloyd Lyndel P. Simporios from the Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS) at UPOU. Additionally, key figures from DSWD were present at the event.

The three and a half day intensive training- workshop was divided into two. It kicked off with the first part  entitled “Introduction to Social Welfare and Social Work Concepts, Perspectives, and Principles,” composed of four comprehensive modules: (1) My Role in the Field of Social Welfare and Development, (2) Social Welfare Perspectives, (3) General Principles of Social Work, and (4) Understanding the Client Dynamics.

Moving to the second part, the focus shifted to “Introduction to Social Work as a Process, Method, and Approach for Development” which resulted in the facilitation of the following modules: (5) Case Management Process, (6) Helping Methodologies,  (7) Program Management Process, and (8) Psychological First Aid: Practical Tool for Immediately Addressing Client Concerns.

As part of the training, participants learned about the Social Work philosophy, niche, principles and processes in social work case management, enabling them to augment case management tasks alongside social workers, as applicable. The activity also emphasized the connection between the program management cycle and their functions in LGUs, reinforcing their contribution to the effective and efficient implementation of Social Welfare and Development (SWD) programs. Participants gained an understanding of the dynamics and traits of client groups served by LGUs, facilitating more effective communication and interaction with clients. Lastly, the training involved practical demonstrations, allowing participants to showcase their ability to provide psychological first aid through simulation exercises. The completion of the training program, following a rigid quality assurance system facilitated by FMDS-UPOU, can lead to stackable degree units towards crediting when participants decide to enroll in the Diploma in Social Work program of UPOU, aligned with the existing university policies. 

With the participants’ additional competency and excitement to learn further, the training program will lead to upcoming activities and certificate courses still aimed at improving the skills of SWAs. As the momentum from this workshop continues, these future initiatives aim to enhance the knowledge and abilities of participants, making a lasting impact on the field of social welfare and development.

March 2024
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Written by Sydney Rovin Macahiya• Edited by Larry N. Cruz