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Supporting Social Work In Malawi (SSWIM)

Collaborators: University of Malawi in Zomba, The National Association of Social workers in Malawi (created in 2019), The Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare

Related resources: SSWIM Website


Dr Simon Cauvain, Head of Department, Social Work, Care and Community at NTU, has been working with SSWIM (Supporting Social Work in Malawi) for 8 years and, in partnership with Prof Janet Walker, University of Lincoln, Felix Kakowa, University of Malawi, visits the ‘warm heart of Africa’ to teach sustainable practice education and transformational leadership training.  SSWIM’s work involves supporting a clear vision for Malawian social work with practicing social workers and practice educators, Malawian university lecturers, politicians, and other charitable organisations.  The training has helped support the quality and professional standards of professional of social work education.  SSWIM supports social work as an emerging and critical profession, with a primary role in social development, social justice, human rights, and gender equality.

SSWIM continues to support the recently created National Association of Social Workers in Malawi (NASWiM), with Chisangalalo Ntonio, as its President.  NASWiM aims to develop standards, processes, and systems to support the regulation, professionalisation and development of the social work profession.

His Excellency Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chalwera recently appointed Edward Chileka Banda to the position of Director of Social Welfare in the Ministry of Gender.  A meeting is planned in March between Simon, Janet, Chisangalalo, and Felix where discussion will focus on national priorities, legislative needs in support of the professionalisation of Malawian Social Work and needs assessment for the next SSWIM visit to Malawi. Simon and Janet will join Malawian academics again in June 2023 to support leadership training and a sustainable ‘train the trainer’ approach to practice education.  A scoping exercise will inform how best to support continuous professional development (CPD) across the workforce.  Work will also include field visits to local communities, tribal leaders, and placement settings to gain insights (oral histories) into needs, Malawian social work practice and support new placement developments.

British Association of Social Work (BASW) have supported some of the work completed so far through the International Development Fund and future bids to BASW and other funding streams are planned.


Simon Cauvain is currently co-authoring a chapter within an edited Routledge Handbook, African Social Work Education.  The chapter is entitled, Social Work and Practice Education, Decolonisation and Ubuntu: Making Connections in Malawi.

Future collaborative research and subsequent writing plans for publication include:

  • The development of social work education in Malawi, including issues and challenges
  • Indigenous knowledge and social work practice: implications for the social work curriculum
  • Malawian communities and lived experience: an exploration through oral histories methodology
  • Eco-social work: Malawian perspectives
  • Malawian social work student perspectives

Methodological approaches 

  • Qualitative approach
  • Interviews on social work practice
  • Surveys on teaching-practice education and leadership

Team members

  • Dr Simon Cauvain, Principal Investigator. Social Work, Care and Community, School of Social Sciences, NTU.
  • Prof Janet Walker, University of Lincoln
  • Felix Kakowa, University of Malawi
  • Anstance Chunda, Chair of SSWIM