Applying a Rights-Based Approach to Social Work Practice in Africa: Students’ Perspectives

  • Solomon Amadasun Department of Social Work, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Benin, Benin-City, Nigeria.


The application of a rights-based approach to social work practice is integral to ridding society of social injustice and human rights infringements. As the next generation of social work practitioners in Africa (a continent at the top of the pyramid in human rights violations), what social work students know about the rights-based approach could prove pivotal in preparing them towards entrenching social justice and human rights tenets in their professional practice, as is consistent with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. This study aims to share the reflections of Nigerian social work students regarding their knowledge of and preparedness to utilize the rights-based approach to social work practice. In employing a qualitative design, semi-structured interviews was conducted among graduating social work students in a large-sized university in Nigeria. Data were subjected to thematic analysis and following the analytical procedure, findings reveal inadequacies in professional social work education and training in the context of equipping students with this practice approach. Although this inquiry involved a cohort of student social workers in their final academic year, the findings may have broader implications for social work education in Nigeria and indeed Africa given the rapidly standardized move in social work education. To offset this trend by means of competency-building, pragmatic suggestions are offered to social work educators with a view to ensuring that social work students are not only equipped in the knowledge of this practice approach but also ready to employ such knowledge to practice.
Keywords: Rights-based approach, Social work students, Human rights infringements, Social work education, Nigeria, Social justice, Social work practice.


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How to Cite
Amadasun, S. (2020, April 14). Applying a Rights-Based Approach to Social Work Practice in Africa: Students’ Perspectives. International Journal of Social Sciences Perspectives, 7(1), 1-9.
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