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Discussion - Community Empowerment

Choose one community population that may be supported by social work advocacy programs (education, community agencies, elders, persons with disabilities, nonprofit organizations, et cetera). Explain how this population fits into the domain of social work, and discuss the social justice issues social workers should be aware of in these systems. How do underrepresented populations rely on community social work advocacy programs? How are social justice issues and social advocacy processes addressed by social workers for underrepresented populations?

Answer - Understanding Community empowerment


Many studies have revealed that, the tribal communities have unique cultural norms. It has been difficult for researches and social workers, to identify the issues of such communities and address their problems. In USA, the American Indian Alaska Native community population occupies only below 2% of total number of people and is a minority community. (Ogunwole SU, 2000). The Suquamish tribe, a community residing in the Port Madison area of Washington belonging to this community that consists of population of adults, old aged people and youth, has been analyzed for the purpose of the study.

The major social justice issues that need to be addressed by social workers in the community are identified. Excessive alcohol usage and drug addiction are the issues. The persistent usage of drugs and alcohol has led to serious health issues and mental disorders and these issues have affected the minority community on a large scale and hence awareness of these issues have become mandatory for social workers so that they are able to help the community to resolve such problems.

Community based participatory research and Tribal participatory research has been identified as two main approaches that could help social workers understand the need of these communities. The members of the community and the research team are included in the process and a combined, collaborative and systematic approach is taken for the purpose. Research has evidence that supports the idea of making such community members participate and collaborate with the research team. The Alcohol and the drug abuse institute of Washington along with the tribal community have been able to successfully identify the challenges faced by the community. Tribal based approach helps in giving specified analysis of the issues addressed and this acts as an extension of the Community based research approach.

The community has a tradition of practicing a unique cultural events that includes tribal journeys (Fischer PA Ball TJ, 2005), which are undertaken by the community .The population move in groups to a place called Bella Bella in British Columbia, to celebrate the event, for which the community prepares itself for several days, so that they ensure that their traditions and customs are well understood by their families, before reaching the destination.


In the research the members of the community are trained and a translator called as a cultural facilitator, is appointed to improve the communication between the research team and the community groups which helps in assessing and provide recommendations for the problems involved. The community members, coming from an underrepresented population in this case, took this as an opportunity to participate in the social advocacy programs so that there issues are addressed through social workers. As these Such participation from the community is required to bring out the issues faced by such communities so that they can be provided with better health care facilities and improved life style. (Allison K R 7 Rottman I , 1996)

Researcher's continuous efforts have resulted in increasing the awareness of these communities about the need to participate in such research activities. (Locock L & sMITH l , 2011 a).Tribal journeys insisted forbidding the use of alcohol and drugs. Here, the community themselves approached the research team to support then so that this practice can be made as a common custom where the population reduces the consumption of these items and makes it as a way of life. The Community based participatory approach and tribal based approach was thus introduced to discuss the challenges and find solutions for the issue.(Caldwell JY, Davis JD, Dubois B, Echo Hawk H Erickson JS Goins RT et al, 2005)

Interviews and discussions were held frequently to collect qualitative data as a part of the Community readiness model which has been introduced for identifying the specific concerns of the youth and elder population, regarding the drug and alcohol addiction. Through the use of the research approaches the research team was able to gather the relevant data, which helped them to identify areas of concern and introduce different training programs. (Glaser, B G & Strauss A L , 1967).According to the results obtained, a training module was set up that aimed at providing skills that are meant to refresh their mind and body so that they are free from any emotional issues. Effective communication strategies and improving the life style of people were suggested as a part of the program.

In order to address the social justice issues, social workers need to work according to the evidence received from such researchers. This is possible only if they are able to put together their knowledge experience and the evidence they were able to gather. (Scottish executive, 2003).The skills required by social worker also matters. The ability to solve complex problems and to analyze the same is important for establishing a solid foundation in order to implement knowledge gained into practice. (Cree V E & Macaulay C ( Eds ), 2000).Social workers can use the four components of good practice for this purpose. This approach helps the social workers to combine his personal knowledge and skills along with his real work experience. This helps the social workers to better engage themselves in community development programmers. (Openlearn, 2009).An ability to understand and put the knowledge into practice is very important. (Sheppard M Newstead S diCaccavo A and Ryan K , 2000).TAPUPAS is a framework, introduced in Sociology, where social workers can try to answer a set of questions that enables them to understand the issue more clearly, as the framework outlines the purpose of the issue and also is a transparent approach that allows the social worker to arrive at accurate results as regards the evidence collected from the research. (Pawson R Boaz A Grayson L Long A and Barnes C , 2003).


The study enables one to understand the issues faced by the American Indian Alaska native population and various techniques adopted by social workers to understand various issues related to community empowerment.


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