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Findings & recommandations by region

During Web of the Street, the International Digital Forum of Social Street Workers, exchange activities for members of Dynamo International – Street Workers Network (DISWN) were organised in order to collect findings and recommendations in each region of the network.

Africa region

Findings

No specific measures for people in street situations in most of the countries in the region. There are multiple consequences: an increase in extreme poverty and social inequality, and the very fabric of solidarity has been weakened. Observations: Isolationism, avoidance, discrimination, vulnerability, loss of meaning, moral dilemmas. Street social workers need protection and psychological support, just like the population in street situations.

Recommendations

  • Recognize street social work as “key work” and pay decent wages.
  • Improve healthcare accessibility by reforming the system, notably mental health provision.

Asia region

Findings

No social protection system and because of a loss of income, children, young people and their families are experiencing extremely precarious circumstances, and are unable to be out on the streets because of lockdown measures. Migration of families to towns is increasing their vulnerability. Some population groups “do not exist” and consequently have no way of accessing their fundamental rights. An increase in addiction, sex work, depression, and police violence.

Recommendations

  • Guarantee that states apply General comment number 21 issued by the UN’s Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
  • Develop social policy drawing on dialogue with the children and street social workers, enabling their needs to be identified.
  • States need to ensure that anti-poverty programmes are not solely focused on the humanitarian emergency but also on respect for fundamental rights.
  • As quickly as possible develop synergies between the stakeholders to reduce the health risks, encourage a return to school, bolster the social protection system, guarantee access to rights for children in street situations and their families.
  • Ensure that street social work has a recognised legal status. Street work has shown itself to be an effective method of working with vulnerable populations at times of crisis.

Europe region

Findings

Social distancing measures increase the risk of worker isolation and of populations in street situations becoming invisible. In some countries, street workers have had to do advocacy to get the relevance of street work during a pandemic recognised.  In other countries, street work has been deemed “key work” in order to reach communities in street situations. Street workers are overwhelmed with work now that lockdown has ended.

Recommendations

  • States should guarantee the implementation of UN General comment number 21 on the rights of the child, particularly children in street situations, and the European Commission’s Child Guarantee.
  • Foster a cross-sector discussion process on the socio-educational dimension and prevention in street social work (relationship with school, place in the democratic space etc).
  • Establish a direct dialogue with street populations so that social interventions undertaken by street social workers are in tune with reality on the ground.

Americas region

Findings

The consequences of the pandemic are being felt with an increase in poverty and inequality, foreshadowing a major social crisis in gestation. States of emergency, martial law, militarisation, polarisation, organised crime, religious beliefs as a response to the virus, are all imperilling the rule of law and the democratic system. The coronavirus crisis has highlighted the ineffectiveness of public health systems and the lack of social protection. Women and indigenous people are the most badly affected by the consequences of the pandemic. Street social workers are adapting their working methods and are taking all possible social distancing measures to protect themselves and their target groups, but the impact of the crisis is being felt from a mental health perspective.

Recommendations

  • Guarantee the rule of law in the face of radicalisation, the militarisation of society, religious extremism, and a decrease in respect for human rights.
  • Strengthen public aid programmes for the education, social and healthcare sectors, for vulnerable and impoverished groups, indigenous people and street social workers, with a focus on mental health in order to cope with the impact of the crisis.

Findings & recommendations of social streetworkers in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic at international level

Findings & recommandations at international level