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Defining International Social Work


How To The International Social Work Can Be Understand?

International social work can be understand as a social work that deals with issues and challenges that are universal in nature which are not country specific but comprises of the problems that are faced by the individuals across the globe (Jones and Truell, 2012). International social work acts and strives hard for achieving the well-being of all the individuals across the globe that comprises of around billions of people and hundreds of countries. In present scenario, International social work is not only an approach but a source for generating employment, eradicating poverty, achieving local level development, putting an end to the force displacement of individuals and working on many other issues and opportunities (Lyons, et al., 2012). Social Development can be understand as the approach of having planned modifications for achieving an improved fit and balance among the various social programs and policies and the individual needs. It works in an aspect of releasing the potential of the individuals for the eradication of some of the societal issues and inequalities. With the help of social development approach there takes place transformation or evaluation that results in increased social development through upsurge opportunities for people and by empowering individuals to manage their operations in a more effective way (Pawar, 2014). The key purposes for which social; development works includes the human welfare and well-being by numerous functions in context with housing and nutrition, health care, educational facilities, etc. Both international social work and social development together works for the enrichment and development of the masses and the societies as a whole so that they can attain a better livelihood with decreased number of issues and challenges (Healy, 2008). The paper will have a discussion related to the global poverty issue of international social work and development by the means of an integrated perspective approach to have a better understanding of the relevant studies, concepts and challenges related to global poverty

Individuals with income which is less than the sufficient amount which is required to buy the basic living requirements such as clothing, shelter, food and some other primary things are considered as poor. In practical life, the cost of living is entirely based upon the geographical location and thus it is extremely diverse in nature. Poverty can be explained as a condition which is devastating and chronic and that results from several negative risk factors and lays a direct impact on the human lives. Global poverty is one of the most dominant issues faced by the developing countries and is also indirectly having an impact over other developed economies too because of its severe negative implications. To eliminate the global poverty issues and problems, countries are striving hard as well as people are having a more concerned association with the organisations who are working for international social work and social development (Elvidge, 2009).

Understanding Social Development

There are certain causes of poverty that leads to increasing rate of global poverty. There are two types of cause of poverty that comprises of primary causes and the historical causes. The primary causes are the usual factors that are common in the terms of global perspective whereas the historical causes are the one which is associated with the nation’s history or past events. The primary causes comprises of aspects such as the circumstances of epidemic diseases, world hunger, the poor economic development in the world, mental illness which is a result of the poor or inappropriate psychiatric care, lack of educational facilities, corruption and lack of food. The historical causes comprises of mainly two aspects i.e. conquest and slavery. Thus, an existence of any of the above or two results in poverty related circumstances in the developing countries (Sumner, 2010).

There are primarily six types of global poverty which are hollowing the growth and development of the nations with a speedy rate. The first and the primary type of poverty is situational poverty which is usually takes place because of an unexpected loss or crisis but it is temporary in nature. The factors or events that are the reason of situational poverty comprises of severe health issues, environmental disasters, crisis, etc. The second type of poverty is generational poverty which takes place in families and is considered as hierarchical where at least last two or more generations have faced and brought up into poverty. Such type of poverty remained continue because of the reason that they do not possess tools for overcoming such issue. Third type of poverty is absolute poverty which involves the insufficiency of basic necessities that comprises of food, running water, shelter and basic amenities. The groups of individuals who live in such poverty have to be concerned for their day to day survival too (Godfray, et al., 2010).

Next kind of poverty is relative poverty which indicates the economic condition under which the individuals are short of the minimum amount of capital that is required for maintaining the society’s average standard of living. It is the key aspect for measuring poverty at an individual level of different nations. The fifth type of poverty is urban poverty which takes place in the various metropolitan regions of the developing nations with a total population which stands for at least a total of 50,000 individuals (Alkire and Santos, 2010). These urban poor face the acute and chronic stressors. Last and the sixth type of poverty is rural poverty which takes place in the various non-metropolitan regions of the developing nations that stands for a total population which is lesser than 50,000. There are families that have very squat access to the support and services for education, heath amenities, disabilities, etc. (Mitlin and Satterthwaite, 2013). There are very fewer job opportunities in such rural areas and all these circumstances leads to extreme poverty conditions in such regions. The rate of rural poverty is increasing day by day because of the deprived facilities and access to basic amenities.

Causes of Global Poverty

Developing an integrated perspective approach for attaining a better improved understanding of the issue of global poverty comprises of understanding the issues on the basis often integration of few of the key perspectives that includes global perspective, social development perspective, ecological perspective and the human rights perspective.

Firstly understanding and analysing the issue from the global perspective, it can be identified that poverty is a global issue which states that people worldwide who are living in poverty face numerous consequences such as shortage of the health care services, lack of education, malnutrition, increased levels of child mortality and decreased life expectancy. But on national level, many of the developed nations owe huge amount of debt which is limiting the capability of fostering domestic growth (McMichael, 2011). For resolving the issue of global poverty from global perspective there are several initiatives taken under the aspect of social development and international social work. International Monetary Fund and World Bank are the significant sources that offer technical assistance as well as funding to assist the developing nations (Carr and Sloan, 2003). For receiving credits at a low level of interest from such organisations, the developing nations are required to incorporate several ‘structural modifications’ which can improve the competitiveness and the economic growth of the countries (De Hoyos and Medvedev, 2011). There are several specific United Nations Millennium Development Goals which works for the reduction of poverty and its associated issues in the future. Other programs supporting the international social work for eradicating global poverty includes the ONE celebrity campaign, the Clinton Global Initiative, Compassion International and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (Kanbur and Sumner, 2012). From the global perspective, it is essential that with the aspect of globalisation, all the nations must consider as one society and have a shared effort for sustaining the challenge of global poverty. Thus, it is essential that every nation must get involved, stay informed about the complexity and consequences of eth issue and raise awareness for the reduction of the same (pbworks, n.d.).

The second perspective in the integrated perspective approach includes understanding of the issue of global poverty from the human rights perspective. Despite of the demonstration of the significance and importance of human rights, still there are several issues that are present in the society such as discrimination and inequality. Discrimination on a broader sense results in both poverty as well as in increasing the issues of global poverty. Not only in the developing countries but also the developed nations are suffering issues due to inequalities and discrimination (Cook, 2012). In the present world, poverty is considered as the gravest HR challenge as forty percent of the total population of the globe is living with the threat of poverty. The most required achievable goal is end of poverty for the human rights approach. Poverty is not only related to the income level of the individuals but also it is more considerably a concern of the individuals to spend a life which relishes the advantages of freedom, human rights and dignity (Pogge, 2008). It demonstrates a multifaceted of unified and equally reinforcing scarcities, which affects on the ability of the individuals to access and possess their social, political, economic and civil rights. In a basic manner, thus, the rejection of the human rights results in the meaning of what is to be poor. There is a need to have integration of the specific human right standards with the issue of global poverty. Thus, there must be Political rights and freedoms, Right of equal access to justice, Right to personal Business security and privacy, Right to education, Right to health, Right to adequate housing, Right to adequate food and Right to work (ohchr, 2012). When all these rights will be offered to the individuals of the global societies than it will result in eradication of the issue of global poverty as individuals will be getting access to a more improved and economically sound lifestyle which can help them to live above the poverty line.

Types of Global Poverty

The third perspective in the integrated perspective approach includes understanding of the issue of global poverty from the ecological perspective. The countries are achieving huge development and growth because of continuous globalisation. The developing countries are having their keen focus and emphasis upon the extraction for the natural resources that comprises of the expansion of the agricultural frontiers and mining. All such aspects results in degradation of the precious habitats as well as peripheralization due to increased material consumption and extended burden upon the environment. All such things happen when the developing countries expand itself in the global business world. Additionally, the oversupply results in the deterioration of the prices of the commodities which directly results in forcing the developing nation to export the upsurge amount of resources for generating high revenues and thus its results in negative implications for the ecological system (Newell, 2013). The end and the worse result of deterioration is increased global poverty. Therefore, it has been stated that the exports may lead to increased rate of poverty as well as upsurge environmental degradation that generates issues related to income gap at the international level. Thus, it is essential that from the understanding global issue of poverty through ecological perspective, the developing countries must control the exports and must focus upon the growth and income generation of the domestic individuals through various means. With decreased extraction and exports, there will be declined environmental burden and there will be a local movements that will resist the projects or operations that leads to damaging of the environment and thus it will help in reducing poverty by generating increased income through several other domestic operations (Muradian and Martinez-Alier, 2001).

Last and the fourth perspective in the integrated perspective approach include understanding of the issue of global poverty from the social development perspective. As per the social development perspective, there are sociologists that explains the global poverty by referring to the individuals dependency cultures, fecklessness and moral failings but on the other hand, some explain it as an outcome of the manner in which the opportunities and the resources are distributed across the society in an unequal manner (Barrientos and Hulme, 2009). The one of the primary reason behind the occurrence of the global issues such as poverty is because of the inequality at the time of allocation of the resources as in respect with social development approach; some organisations have their primary focus upon few of the nations only that leads to occurrence of poverty conditions in other nations. The sociological thinking emphasis upon the structure of the society and its association with the lives of the individuals as well as with the various social issues. There are two aspects in social development perspective where the first aspect emphasis upon the individuals behaviour which is the cause of global poverty which explains the fecklessness of the people only. The second aspect is the social welfare system that must have effective regulation so that there can be adequate distribution of the resources so that no region can affect from the issue of poverty because of unequal distribution (Addison, Hulme and Kanbur, 2009).

Initiatives and Programs to Combat Poverty


The report explains the key role of international social work and social development in eradicating the global issues faced by the developing countries. There are institutes, organisations and other communities that are supporting the international social work to overcome the issue of global poverty. It can be understand from the paper that there are several cause of poverty which are required to be managed so that the issue of global poverty does not exceed. By analysing the various types of poverty, it is essential that measures and initiatives in respect with the international social work must be taking to manage each type of poverty with a more concerned and emphasized way. From the report, it can be understand that there must be taken use of an integrated perspective approach for analysing the issue. There have been explained four different perspectives which states that all these four perspectives i.e. the global perspective, human rights perspective, social development perspective and the ecological perspective have a different understanding of the issue of poverty. These issues can be managed through each perspective mentioned in the report so that it does not expand its roots to further global regions. Thus, it can be concluded that the social workers must undertake an integrated perspective approach in understanding the global poverty issue and for eliminating the same.


Addison, T., Hulme, D., & Kanbur, R. (Eds.). (2009). Poverty dynamics: Interdisciplinary perspectives. OUP Oxford.

Alkire, S., & Santos, M. E. (2010). Acute multidimensional poverty: A new index for developing countries.

Barrientos, A., & Hulme, D. (2009). Social protection for the poor and poorest in developing countries: reflections on a quiet revolution: commentary. Oxford Business Development Studies, 37(4), 439-456.

Carr, S. C., & Sloan, T. S. (Eds.). (2003). Poverty and psychology: From global perspective to local practice. Springer Science & Business Media.

Cook, R. J. (Ed.). (2012). Human rights of women: National and international perspectives. University of Pennsylvania Press.

De Hoyos, R. E., & Medvedev, D. (2011). Poverty effects of higher food prices: a global perspective. Review of Development Economics, 15(3), 387-402.

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Healy, L. M. (2008). International social work: Professional action in an interdependent world. Oxford University Press, USA.

Jones, D. N., & Truell, R. (2012). The Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development: A place to link together and be effective in a globalized world. International Social Work, 55(4), 454-472.

Kanbur, R., & Sumner, A. (2012). Poor countries or poor people? Development assistance and the new geography of global poverty. Journal of International Development, 24(6), 686-695.

Lyons, K. H., Hokenstad, T., Pawar, M., Huegler, N., & Hall, N. (Eds.). (2012). The SAGE handbook of international social work. Sage.

McMichael, P. (2011). Development and Social Change: A Global Perspective: A Global Perspective. Sage Publications.

Mitlin, D., & Satterthwaite, D. (2013). Urban poverty in the global south: scale and nature. Nature, causes and types of poverty in developing countriesRoutledge.

Muradian, R., & Martinez-Alier, J. (2001). Globalization and poverty: an ecological perspective. Heinrich Böll Foundation.

Newell, P. (2013). Globalization and the environment: capitalism, ecology and power. John Wiley & Sons.


Pawar, M. (2014). Social and community development practice. SAGE Publications India.

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Pogge, T. W. (2008). World poverty and human rights. Polity.

Sumner, A. (2010). Global Poverty and the New Bottom Billion: What if Three?Quarters of the World's Poor Live in Middle?income Countries?. IDS Working Papers, 2010(349), 01-43.

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