Trace the development of social work practice in Middle East Countries

Trace the development of social work practice in Middle East Countries

The development of social work practice in Middle East Countries Social work is a practice-based profession that promotes social change, development, cohesion and the empowerment of people and communities. 

Social work practice involves the understanding of human development, behavior and the social, economic and cultural institutions and interactions.

Social work professionals working with families and institutions have helped to provide and advance the following social impacts:

  • ·        Civil Rights
  • ·        Unemployment Insurance
  • ·        Disability Pay
  • ·        Workers’ Compensation
  • ·        Reduced Mental Health Stigma
  • ·        Medicaid and Medicare
  • ·        Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention

The Development of Social Work Practice in Middle East Countries



Social work education has a crucial role to play in imparting knowledge to the students and in preparing them for the realities of practice in the conflict-ridden society. The development of social work practice in Middle East Countries , The knowledge and information on history of social work practice and education in different countries, in particular, is very important to understand respective country’s history of charity or philanthropy work, evolution of social welfare system, existing social problems with the enduring socio-cultural situation and recent social work approaches to comply with the same problems, for creating programme of action to ameliorate social conditions of a country.

Middle East countries, dominated by Muslims, encounter social problems like poverty, discrimination against women, consequences of man-made disaster and so on. In spite of having huge quantity of oil reserved, poverty also persists in this part of the world.

As per the UNDP report, in 1998, Iraq was ranked 42nd out of the 77 poorest countries in the world. In this zone, women continue to suffer from severe discrimination in the work place, home and court and from restrictions on their freedom of movement and their choice of partners. In Saudi Arabia, the religious police enforce strict gender segregation and a women’s public dress code of head-to-toe covering.

Turkey: The modern Republic of Turkey was came into existence on October 29, 1923 from a portion of the Ottoman Empire, following the empire’s collapse as a result of World War I. It became a secular state in 1928; The development of social work practice in Middle East Countries - women gained the right to vote in 1934; and a multi-party system was established in 1946. Turkey’s population was estimated at 66,493,970 in 2001, out of which 99 per cent represented Muslim—primarily Sunni. Christians account for less than 0.1 per cent of the total population.

The official language of Turkey is Turkish. By 2001, 96.7 per cent of the adult population was literate. The infant mortality rate is 47 deaths per 1,000 live births. Life expectancy at birth in 2001 was 68.9 years for men and 73.7 years for women.

 Turkey has a longstanding history of social services. The Ottomans religious foundations and some professional organizations performed active role in this field. The development of social work practice in Middle East Countries , Since independence in 1923, the public institutions have taken over the social services issues. The General Directorate of Social Services and Child protection Agency is now the largest social assistance organization of Turkey, with its provisional directorates in 80 provinces. It provides support to children, adolescents, aged and disabled persons and families through different categories of homes, day care centers, adoption hubs and so on.

Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia, monarchy of the Middle East, is known as the birthplace of Islam. Its government is based on the sacred Shari’ah law of Islam, which is interpreted according to the strict Hanbali rite by the learned religious elders, or ulama. The country has a population (2001) of 22,757,092. All Saudis are Muslims and the national language is Arabic. In Saudi Arabia, during 2001, the adult literacy rate was 94 per cent; life expectancy at birth was 66 years for men and 70 years for women; and the infant mortality rate was 51 deaths per 1,000 live births. Saudi Arabia has the highest reserves of petroleum in the world. The development of social work practice in Middle East Countries,  It ranks as the largest exporter of petroleum and keeps a strong voice in Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which has much influence over international oil pricing.

The cultural environment in Saudi Arabia is highly conservative. Men and women are not permitted to attend public events together and are segregated in the work place. Many foreign workers, especially women, face exploitative working conditions. The development of social work practice in Middle East Countries , The stereotype of Muslim women in Saudi Arabia today, as uneducated, with no rights and no opportunities is a caricature born of ignorance or malevolence. Saudi law does not protect many basic human rights and the government places strict limits on freedom of association, assembly, and expression. Arbitrary detention, mistreatment and torture of detainees, restrictions on freedom of movement, and lack of official accountability remain serious concerns.

Israel: An estimated 6 million Jews (more than one third of the world’s Jewish population) in central and eastern Europe were killed by German Nazis during World War-II. Realizing the massacre of Jews by Nazi, the Jewish demand for self-government greatly intensified in Palestine.

 As a result of seven years of war, faced with numerous terrorist attacks by Jews on British, the British government in 1947 decided to leave Palestine keeping the issue of partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. The development of social work practice in Middle East Countries , Since Arab protested against the partition plans, civil war i.e. war of independence started.

The Arabs failed to prevent the establishment of the Jewish state and thus Israel became independent in 1948. Hebrew and Arabic are the official languages now in the country.

Social work discipline has become quite advanced in Israel as a result of professional association, council, registration system, and so on. The ‘Israel Association of Social Workers’ functions as both trade union and professional association and actively involved in the innovation and improvement of the profession.

The ‘Council of Social Work Education’ came into being in the decade of 1980. Five heads of the schools mentioned above, a representative of the American Joint Distribution Committee, a secretary and a treasurer were the members. The development of social work practice in Middle East Countries , The ‘Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs’ maintains a registry of social workers, with registration on the basis of degree received from one of the above mentioned five schools or recognized institution in abroad. This registration is required for the employment in public sector in Israel.


Social work discipline more or less emerged in the African and Middle East countries between 1920 to 1950.

In particular, the gloomy social situation and sufferings of the people after World War I, during Great Depression, and after World War II have paved away for this discipline to appear. The development of social work practice in Middle East Countries , In Africa, the main issue was poor white problems.

Black although suffered much, there was reluctance on the part of the service providers to extend help. In Middle East, religion played gigantic role along with the misery of the people.

The development of social work practice in Middle East Countries Hence, ‘Islamic reorientation of social work’ is an important issue there. Anyway, personnel trained from the America and Europe led and carried on the professional activities during the early days of social work education and practice in both the regions. In the beginning, baccalaureate level training was the backbone of social welfare in most of the countries.


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