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Social work components of the United Nations technical assistance programmes : a comparative analysis of technical assistance and social work principles and methods Balla-Legrady, Brigitta Eva

Abstract

In 1946, the United Nations inaugurated the Technical Assistance Programme, a new and international application of "mutual aid" and "self-help" principles. There are many aspects to these programmes, which focus particularly on raising standards of living through increased productivity in the "under-developed" countries. The present study singles out the social welfare activities only, starting in the Advisory Social Welfare Services (1946), and the Expanded Programme of Technical Assistance which followed. The method adopted is twofold: (1) An examination of the major principles of Technical Assistance, (a) as enunciated in official statements of policy, and (b) as indicated in operational practice. The significance of the use of experts, U.N. fellowships, seminars, and demonstration projects is explored in this light. (2) The principles of Technical Assistance are compared, in broad terms, with the basic principles of social work. One of the important by-products of Technical Assistance Administration, an international survey of professional social work, and a definitive statement of the nature of social work skills, is referred to in this connection. As a means of highlighting the principles and methods of the advisory social welfare services, two countries are referred to as examples of a receiving country (Guatemala) and a contributing country (Canada). They serve in conclusion to illustrate the interrelatedness of welfare programmes with local needs, with education for social work, and with overall national policies. A major part of the material used for this study is derived from United Nations documents, available from library sources. It is supplemented by essential data from the United Nations Headquarters and from Canadian Government agencies concerned with participation in these programmes. Interviews with Canadian social welfare personnel who have participated in several of the programmes helped considerably to compensate for the need of first-hand material in the role of advisers, and the problems and procedures of fellowship and scholarship programmes. A number of points were also clarified by correspondence. The study reveals positive achievements in practical methods of promoting peace, which deserve greater publicity. Much more remains to be done; of most relevance for social work, however, is perhaps the need for increased professional writing on the field experience of social worker participants, and further research directed to analysis of methods, process, and results.

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