When was the organisation founded?
The organisation was founded in spring 2010 in Stockholm, Sweden by social workers Maria Hallenius Henrysson and Srour Gabro in reaction to the disaster in Haiti.
What do you do in Sweden?
We are developing our domestic work at the moment. Currently, our national work consists of offering lectures, training, courses and other consultancy work.
What are the organisation’s values?
The organisation rests on strong humanistic grounds in regards to all people having the same value. We focus on people’s similarities rather than differences. We believe that all people’s basic needs are the same wherever in the world you are. Saying this we obviously adjust our work to suit the conditions and situation of the country we are working in.
Where does the organisation position itself in terms of gender equality, religion and politics?
An important foundation for the organisation is that we have no political or religious affiliations, but of course, we have a foundational view on humanity that we work towards, where society is built on everyone’s equal value and everyone’s differences are respected.
We believe in a society where people should not be treated differently because of gender, sexual orientation, skin colour or political or religious affiliation. These are also the corner stones of social work and human rights.
What are the organisation’s goals for the future?
One of our main goals is to open up country offices around the world, where a country’s own social workers can work abroad under our trademark and our mission statement. Another important goal is to be Europe’s leading organisation for social work in the field, internships and research.
Which countries are you active in?
Today we are working together with (amongst others): Kenya, Togo, Uganda, Georgia, Bosnia, Benin, and Tanzania, many countries in Latin America as well as Nepal and India.
Which requirements does Social Workers without Borders put on its field workers?
The requirements that the field workers must fulfil are in different areas such as formal skills such as education, work experience and languages. Other areas include personal suitability and ability to handle crises and to be able to act and work in different environments and respond to vulnerable groups or people.
Which language skills does the organisation require?
We value language skills but each applicant is individually judged and personal suitability is heavily weighted in. The language requirements also differ depending on the country and the tasks in question.
Languages that we always value highly are Spanish, French and Arabic. The organisation’s working language in the field is English.
Do you get a salary when you work in the field?
All social workers that work in the field get a salary for their work. For more information regarding salaries and the conditions, please see the “field work” tab on our website. The salary should cover costs at home, pocket money is added.
How do you choose/find your international partners?
This can occur in different ways, sometimes it is the organisations themselves that get in touch with us but it can also be a person in Sweden who knows an employee in an organisation abroad that they want to recommend. Social Workers without Borders often takes up the contact themselves if we find an organisation that seems interesting that run an operation where we believe social workers could be needed and contribute with their skills and competencies.
Do you work together with the social authorities in the countries where you are active?
All our work is built upon cooperation with the country’s own resources in the shape of staff, authorities and NGOS that are active in the country.
Are there no social workers in the countries themselves or why do we have to send out social workers?
When a country is struck by different forms of crises and disaster then there are not always social workers available, partly because they themselves could be affected and partly because there isn’t enough qualified staff or knowledge/skills available that can meet the demand in a country both long and short term.
A big problem in many developing countries is that the social system and service we are used to, does not exist or is very weak. Another reason is that weaker democratic systems hit the general population hard, this adds to a greater vulnerability amongst the population so social workers are needed both in the emergency phase and long-term. Long-term we save lives and strengthen a country’s own capacity to work and handle their own challenges and strengthen human rights.
Working with Social Workers without Borders
What education do you need to be able to work for Social Workers without Borders?
One should have the social work exam or a Bachelor degree with the main subject being social work from a Swedish university or foreign university or college. If you have a foreign degree and you are unsure you can get in touch with the Swedish “högskoleverket” and get your exam converted and valued in Swedish terms.
What are the main competencies that you are searching for?
We want to have social workers within all fields. We value your individual competencies, experience and expertise within fields such as children, sexual violence, crisis and trauma, human rights or therapeutic training.
Who works in the organisation?
Currently the organisation consists of a board, a council, an executive committee, a recruitment group, general secretaries and other staff.
Who can go abroad and do an internship with the organisation?
We offer internships in the field for all students who are studying social work at a Swedish or foreign university or college.
How does one apply for an internship?
You notify your institute of higher education that you want to do your internship through Social Workers without Borders, send your CV and personal letter to the person responsible for internships in the organisation. More information regarding internships is available on our website under “internships”.
Is it possible to do an internship/ C-uppsats/ VFU/ MFS with SSWWB projects in the field?
Yes, it is possible. Some of our partners want to be able to provide this internationally. In addition, they see this as a good development possibility for their own activities. Every partner decides themselves if there is a possibility or space when requests come to us. We take an administration fee for each matter.
Everyone can become a member in the organisation; private people, companies, universities and colleges as well as organisations. For more information on membership and donations, please see our website.
How is the organisation funded?
The organisation is funded by donations, applications to different foundations/stipendiums, membership fees and other donations as well as other revenue from training, lectures, internship places and consultancy services.
Is it possible to fund a specific project?
Yes, you can. When you put money into our account you can mark your payment with the country or the project that you want the donation to be spent on.
Is it possible to get a lecturer from Social Workers without Borders?
Yes, you send an email stating your interest to the person responsible for the booking of lectures, you can also write or call and pose questions about our lectures and training possibilities.
Can Social Workers without Borders support my project in country XX?
Yes, everyone who has a project or wants to start up a project that could be helped by our competencies can get in touch with us with an inquiry regarding co-operation.