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Implementing Community Based Re/habilitation in Uganda and Sweden: A Comparative Approach
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Social Work.
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In our global world, ideas in general and social work models in particular are spread and implemented in a variety of socioeconomic, political and cultural contexts, generating different outcomes. Many ideas and services launched in different countries by international organisations or governments in order to bring social justice to marginalised and oppressed groups, such as people with disabilities, have been criticised for not reaching or involving those such services aim to serve. Low impact of social programs on the welfare of people and communities has put the effectiveness of such programs into question and can leave people with disabilities dissatisfied with the social services available in their environment.

The main purpose of this dissertation is to examine how an international idea for social work practice, as community based rehabilitation (CBR), is implemented in different structures and institutional contexts. To examine how an idea is implemented in different contexts, following research questions have guided the work: “How was the idea of CBR introduced to and implemented in Uganda and Sweden?”, “What contextual factors influenced the implementation of CBR in these countries?”, “What limitations and possibilities affected CBRs chances of continuity and institutionalisation in the two countries?” and finally“Can international ideas and models for social work be successfully used in different structural and institutional contexts?”.

The study is based on a qualitative design with a comparative approach using qualitative content analysis for analysing data collected through official documents and interviews with parents to children with disabilities and professionals working in the children’s surrounding. The results show how difficult it is to monitor development through projects in both non-Western and Western countries. International ideas of social work, such as CBR, can make a difference in both Uganda and Sweden for the improvement of the living condition of those in need of services; at least, as long as there are funding for the projects and cooperation between authorities, NGOs and the parents of children with disabilities.

The results show also that there are many differences in the process of the implementation of CBR in Uganda and Sweden. The colonial past of Uganda and its weak welfare state make CBR an important project for the improvement of the life conditions of children with disabilities. Meanwhile, the Swedish strong welfare state and legal protection of children with disabilities make CBR much more marginal in Sweden than in Uganda. However, CBRs successes to promote social justice for children with disabilities and their families makes it necessary to integrate the project to the existing organisation of the welfare state in the two countries. Changing existing welfare services requires engagement in political decision-makings, cooperation, and a critical examination of structural and institutional arrangements, in order to include successful projects in the daily functions and duties of the welfare state of every country. This will prevent an international idea for social work to not only be a temporary trend to follow, but also an established working method for helping people in need of proper services.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sundsvall: Mid Sweden University , 2014. , 170 p.
Mid Sweden University doctoral thesis, ISSN 1652-893X ; 201
Keyword [en]
International Social work, Social Justice, Disability, Travelling Ideas, Implementation, Community Based Rehabilitation
National Category
Social Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-23746ISBN: 978-91-87557-85-9OAI: diva2:771647
Public defence
2014-10-31, F229, Hus F, 831 25, Östersund, 10:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2014-12-15 Created: 2014-12-15 Last updated: 2014-12-15Bibliographically approved

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