Consultancy in International Social Work
Decolonising knowledge production, transfer and use in MHPSS
International social work research and practice pose several challenges regarding the globalisation of knowledge, the indigenisation of practices and opportunities for decolonising methodologies. Specifically, in mental health and psychosocial support in emergency settings (MHPSS), social workers are mostly known for raising awareness about the social impact of war on and within communities, group interventions with trauma survivors, ex-combatants and child soldiers, social development projects in the aftermath of conflicts, human rights advocacy and restorative justice. From a theoretical perspective, social workers operating within a critical paradigm have warned against the dangers of programmes being engineered in the North and imposed by NGOs in the Global South. Social workers have also raised concerns regarding institutional dependency in implementing and maintaining programmes that rely heavily on foreign outsourcing for service delivery, defending, rather, initiatives that rely on local knowledge for praxis and that respond to expressed needs as opposed to epidemiologically assessed needs measured according to foreign priorities.
The consultancies I undertake in international social work — whether online or onsite, one-off or extended over a period of time — are tailored to the particular epistemological and theoretical frameworks of each social programme. I act as a consultant to both small and large research projects run by academia, governments, supranational organisations, think tanks and NGOs. I particularly welcome consultancies that focus on:
- Group interventions with women survivors of armed conflict and genocide
- Training-of-trainers in first-line psychosocial counselling in primary health care
- Supervision of clinical staff conducting feminist and devictimisation interventions
- Appraisal of international social work syllabi
- Development of teaching materials for international social work practice and theory
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As a freelance methodologist, I train social scientists and humanitarian practitioners in qualitative analysis, decolonising research and participatory methodologies. I coach research teams, teach doctoral-level courses and I consult for humanitarian aid agencies worldwide.