The challenges of maintaining social work ethics in Kenya

Ndungi Mungai, Gidraph G. Wairire, Emma Rush

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This paper presents an overview of the challenges of maintaining professional social work ethics that are predominantly Western-based in an African cultural context. Social work is yet to establish a profile in most African countries and therefore the meaning and relevance of social work and social work ethics to African people is not well researched. Social workers in Kenya, for example, have to operate in a challenging social environment that includes corruption in service delivery, social norms with overlapping boundaries that could be considered contrary to Western notions of professional boundaries. The ethical dilemmas faced by practicing social workers included the extreme poverty facing their clients amidst corruption and limited referral options, playing the role of gate keepers to limited resources, inflexible rules and lack of support or supervisory structures. In addition to highlighting the challenges, the paper discusses some creative solutions that social workers could apply.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-186
Number of pages17
JournalEthics & Social Welfare
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


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