World Social Work Day was launched by The International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW): in
1983 and later other social work organizations such as the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) have joined as partners to the event. WSWD has become a highpoint in the social work calendar with social workers all over the world celebrating and promoting the contributions of the profession to individuals, families, communities and wider society. The day is celebrated on the
official date every 3rd Tuesday in March.
On this date social work organizations throughout the world mark World Social Work Day bringing
messages to their governments, communities, and peer professional groups on the unique and signifi-
cant contributions of the social work profession. The actions highlight social work’s approach to facili-
tating sustainable community outcomes by applying a developmental and capacity building approach coupled with advocating for social justice and human rights.
The themes of WSWD are set for two years according to the goals of the Global Agenda for Social
Work and Social Development:
2012 – 2014: Promoting social and Economic Equality
2015 – 2016: Promoting the Dignity and Worth of Peoples.
2017 – 2018: Promoting Community and Environmental Sustainability
2019 – 2020: Promoting the Importance of Human Relationships
Every year IFSW produces a poster announcing WSWD. It is spontaneously translated into over 45
languages, and presented to governments, political bodies posted on the notice boards of social ser-
vices and in social work class rooms throughout the world. The event has become so successful in
recent years it is now generally considered as highlight of international solidarity and cooperation of social workers.
Furthermore five Regional Observatories have been installed to collect the results and good practice
examples of social work and social development practice. The findings are analyzed and set in the
context of the actual social, political and economic realities, resulting in a publication which is launched
at the biannual World Conference of Social Work and Social Development. (www.ifsw.org/shop)
World Social Work Day at the United Nations
IASSW and IFSW have special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social
Council (ECOSOC) (IASSW since 1947 and IFSW since 1959). Jointly the representatives of both
organizations have annually celebrated WSWD at the UN in New York since 1983 and in Geneva
since 2012. Sporadically WSWD at the UN has also been celebrated in Vienna, Nairobi, and Santiago
de Chile. In 2017 for the first time WSWD was celebrated at the UN in Bangkok.
Objectives of WSWD at the UN are:
– To strengthen existing or to establish new contacts, cooperation and partnership with UN or-
ganisations and with allied international NGOs.
– To spread knowledge about social work, its values, principles and methods in practice and
theory among UN-organisations and allied international NGOs.
– To highlight social work actions, policies and achievements in the pursuit of common goals.
– To disseminate the knowledge about UN activities, goals, program and campaigns among so-
cial workers and social work organisations and schools.
IFSW, February 2017