(1) Based on Ife's paper (2007), what distinguishes (international) social work from other approaches of (international) community development and (international) humanitarian aid?
(2) Based on the knowledge you have acquired during your BHCS studies and with regards to Ife's "curriculum proposal" at University level (Ife 2007: p. 17-24), how does it help you with your cross-cultural communication and cross-cultural integration when working in the field?
(1) According to Ife, the major differentiating factors (international) social work between (international) community development as well as (international) humanitarian aid are core values, objectives, goals and approach (Ife, 2007). Humanitarian aid significantly emphasizes on the providing relief to the human suffering through satisfying the basic needs of mankind. Community development focuses on undertaking the long term development activities and it has some specific goals for empowerment for the communities (Anckermann et al., 2005). If the point of view of Ife is considered, it will be found that the social workers need to attain an international level so that they can raise their voice for the deprived and vulnerable people belonging to the international community. According to Ife, social work is proceeding for embracing internationalism. Additionally, he suggested that the potential, skills and values of the social worker are very important for assessing as well as addressing issues which are not associated with the cultural or any other western influences. It is essential for the social workers to possess these skills as it will enable them to respond to various situations which occur at international level. Additionally, the social workers must focus on adoption of the basic values in order to fight for the human right and the issues of social justice in order to help the deprived populace across the globe (Ife, 2007). Ife has argued that the social workers have to play a greater activist role. They need to concentrate on the advocacy against the social injustices and violation of human rights in global contexts such as terrorism and climate change (Ife, 2007).
(2) The curriculum proposal of Ife and the knowledge I have gained during the course have significantly helped me to enhance my knowledge and understanding regarding cross-cultural communication as well as integration. The proposal of Ife regarding the change in curriculum has provided lucid idea about how the work of different field needs to address the cross cultural integration at an international level (Ife, 2007). Ife had suggested that clear understanding and knowledge of cultural and historical context of our own as well as the nation of the people we were working with (Giddens and Birdsall, 2001). He had suggested that in order to establish effective communication between both the parties it is important to have flexibility to share ideologies of different nations and cultures (Macionis, 2003).
The open communication between people significantly helps in acknowledging the history and culture of each other and it has been found to be a great way for developing trust as well as good rapport with the clients, partners, and colleagues in a workplace where cultural diversity is observed. In practical life, I have found this approach very useful and effective for communicating with people belonging to different cultures. Active listening is an important aspect for dealing with them in a non-judgmental way and establishing open communication channel (Giddens and Birdsall, 2001). Ife has rightly indentified the profound importance of understanding as well as acknowledging the culture and history of other nation (Ife, 2007).
Anckermann, S., Dominguez, M., Soto, N., Kjaerulf, F., Berliner, P. and Naima Mikkelsen, E. (2005). Psycho-social support to large numbers of traumatized people in post-conflict societies: an approach to community development in Guatemala.Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 15(2), pp.136-152.
Giddens, A. and Birdsall, K. (2001). Sociology. Cambridge [England]: Polity Press.
Ife, J. (2007). The new international agendas: what role for social work, Modified version of the Inaugural Hokenstad International Social Work Lecture: San Francisco: Council for Social Work Education.
Macionis, J. (2003). Sociology. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall.