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SIG leader: Marichen van der Westhuizen  Marichen    
Contact: [email protected]      
Biosketch: As the HoD at UWC, Marichen has been exploring how self and professional identity can be developed within the curriculum, considering the socioeconomic challenges of student social workers. We are currently engaged in three studies (2 postgraduate studies and one departmental study). We want to collaborate with other interested researchers to see how a Supported Education framework could contribute to the empowerment of student social workers as the focus area of further dedicated research.     
SIG Focus:      
Additional Members: Dr Shernaaz Carelse [email protected]


SIG leader: Rika Swanzen        
Contact: [email protected]      
Biosketch: Dr Rika Swanzen dedicated her Master's degree & Doctorate to expanding Ecometrics after completing the certificate in psychosocial functioning measurement by Perspective Training College (including the use of Hudson scales). From 2007 to 2022, she authored 22 peer-reviewed publications and presented 25 conference papers. Dr Swanzen has been in academia for thirteen years and is the current Research Manager for the Independent Institute of Education (IIEMSA). Before this, she had thirteen years of direct social work practice experience in the child welfare, mental health, residential care and community development sectors. The previous Minister of Social Development appointed her to the SACSSP’s 4th council as an education and training representative. In 2022 she completed the UCT PGDip in Paediatric Palliative Care.      
SIG focus: This SIG accommodates researchers interested in scale and assessment tool development and how harnessing these instruments can improve direct social work practice with clients. The SIG focuses on applying scale development methodology in various research projects developing robust measurement tools for different social work practice contexts. In addition, the SIG will serve as a platform for informing the sector about commercially available scales. The SIG will lastly focus on promoting social workers’ use of IT technology in practice.      
Additional Members: Dr Yolane Heyns ([email protected]), Marietjie Smit ([email protected]), Elza Duvenage ([email protected]) Prof Wim Roestenburg ([email protected]) Dr Hanelie Malan ([email protected])


SIG leader: Varoshini Nadesan  Varoshini    
Contact: [email protected]      
Biosketch: As a senior lecturer at the University of Johannesburg, she lectures and supervises students at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Her research interest is primarily in social work education. In addition, Varosh serves on the Board of Alcoholic Anonymous South Africa as a non-alcoholic trustee. Her research interests include graduate employability, field instruction, and alcoholism.      
SIG Focus: The SIG will focus on social worker employability, competitiveness, training quality, job-readiness research, skill level comparisons and scarcity in the local labour market. Secondly, the SIG will focus on the role of field instruction in employability and job readiness.      
Additional Members: Prof Stephan Geyer  [email protected]

SIG leader: Prof Lambert Engelbrecht  Lambert    
Contact: [email protected]      
Biosketch: Prof Lambert Engelbrecht works at the Department of social work at Stellenbosch University. The South African Academy for Sciences and Arts awarded him the Stals prize in 2017 for his internationally acclaimed publications. In 2018 he was rated as an internationally acclaimed researcher by the NRF. He is an author or editor of numerous articles, book chapters and books, among other books "Management and supervision of social workers: Issues and challenges within a social development paradigm" (2014; 2019), and co-editor of "The Routledge international handbook of social work supervision" (2021). He received the Stellenbosch University Chancellor's Award for research in 2021.      
SIG Focus: Social work's traditional research agenda is by its very nature primarily focused on intervention with the most vulnerable people of society. These interventions should, however, be managed and supervised within public and private organisational contexts. In addition, social work management and supervision occur at distinct organisational levels and globally and progressively transformed by neoliberal discourses to ensure evidence-based practices. Contradictory viewpoints emerge when some scholars resist managerialism, and others advocate increasing control over management and supervision practices in social work. Moreover, in many social work publications, management and supervision are depicted as two separate practices, remote from policy implementation, narrowly country-specific and operating merely within a clinical context, and not compliant with social development objectives.  Such conflicting tendencies are seldom accommodated as mainstream topics in social work deliberations, resulting in management and supervision as a neglected research trajectory, contributing to the profession's potential crisis condition. This state of affairs prompted a research agenda to delineate contemporary issues and challenges in social work management and supervision within a social development paradigm.      
Additional Members: Dr Priscalia Khosa ([email protected]) Dr Mpumelelo Ncube ([email protected])
SIG leader: Stephan Geyer  Stephan    
Contact: [email protected]      
Biosketch: Prof. Stephan Geyer is an associate professor (Social Work) in the Department of Social Work and Criminology at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. He teaches modules in addiction, gerontology, and research methodology. As research supervisor, he guides both MSW and PhD candidates in addiction, social gerontology and HIV social interventions. As an applied researcher, his research focuses primarily on addiction and secondary social gerontology. He is a member of the South African Academy for Science and Arts.  He received a C2 rating from the NRF in 2021.      
SIG Focus: The SIG focuses on research in gerontological care in South Africa.      
Additional Members: Dr Somaya Abdullah - [email protected] Prof. Annaline  Keet- [email protected]
SIG leader: Abdullah Somaya      
Contact: [email protected]      
Biosketch: She is a social worker and holds a PhD degree in the study of religion. Her research interests are in the role of religion in social work and social development, with specific reference to Islam and social welfare.      
SIG Focus: To study the role of religion in social work and social development.      
Additional Members:
SIG leader: Mariette van der Merwe  Mariette    
Contact: [email protected]      
Biosketch: She is an Associate professor at NWU, COMPRES research unit, Faculty of Health Sciences. Four-year bachelor's degree in Social Work (cum laude), Honours in Social Work (cum laude), Masters in Social Work (cum laude) and D.Phil. in Social Work. Vast practical experience in a different context, such as Pollsmoor prison, clothing industry, NGO's, Childline consultant and private practice. Promoter and study supervisor for Masters and PhD students. Writer and co-writer of scientific articles on trauma, well-being, and marginalised populations. She frequently presents CPD training on trauma, well-being, social and emotional competence.      
SIG Focus: Focuses on trauma issues, the management of trauma, Interventions and programmes.      
Additional Members: Dr M Herselman - [email protected] Dr Pieter Boshoff - [email protected]
SIG leader: Shahana Rasool  Shahana    
Contact: [email protected]      
Biosketch: Shahana Rasool is an activist, researcher, trainer and academic in gender and gender-based violence. As a Rhodes Scholar, she obtained her Masters and Doctorate from the University of Oxford. She is a professor at the Department of social work at the University of Johannesburg. Her research includes socio-cultural influences of help-seeking, social and professional responses to domestic violence, decoloniality, comparative research on adolescent gender attitudes and gender-based violence. She has published in cross-disciplinary journals; is on the JIWS and Gender issues Board, chairs the International Conference on Gender and Sexuality; she is Vice president of ASSWA and the Asia-Africa Association of Women, Gender and Sexuality.      
SIG Focus: The SIG focuses specifically on Gender-based violence in a community context, women’s help-seeking behaviour and community and individual interventions. 
SIG Co-Leader: Vedhna Lalla Vedhna
Biosketch: Vedhna is passionate about Development, Gender and Empowerment. She is a visionary. Ensuring that she delivers on her objectives is a crucial work ethic for her. Her experience within the NGO sector, National Government and Higher Education have enabled her to develop and facilitate many programmes on Leadership, Gender and Empowerment and HIV and Aids. She has also had the privilege of delivering papers on Peer Education, HIV/Aids, and Gender Empowerment locally and internationally. She is currently a PhD candidate with a focus on the empowerment and flourishing of women. 
SIG focus: Focus is on the topics of women empowerment, sexual assault and gender-based violence issues. This includes identification, assessment and reactive and pro-active interventions, policy interventions and macro-level strategies      
Additional Members:
SIG leader: Alida Herbst  Alida    
Contact: [email protected]      
Biosketch: Alida Herbst is a registered social worker, professor of social work, director of the School of Psychosocial Health at the North-West University and a C3- rated researcher by the National Research Foundation of South Africa.  She has extensive practice experience as a medical social worker in public and private hospitals. Since the start of her academic career at the NWU in 2005, Alida participated in several trans-disciplinary research projects and supervised 22 MSW and 11 PhD students to graduation. She has authored / co-authored 24 peer-reviewed scholarly articles, has contributed chapters to textbooks and edited the textbook, Trauma counselling: Principles and practice in South Africa today (Juta, 2017). Her research focuses on the psychosocial health of individuals, groups and communities, with a specific interest in the narratives of individuals living with a chronic and life-threatening illness.      
SIG Focus: Narratives of health, illness and interventions       
Additional Members: Dr Nelia Drenth [email protected] Dr Charlene Carbonatto [email protected]
SIG leader: Nicolette Roman  Nicolette    
Contact: [email protected]      
Biosketch: Professor Nicolette Roman, is a South African Research Chair in the Development of Human Capabilities and Social Cohesion through the Family; She is PI in Early Childhood Development (UWC), an Established Researcher in the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies of Children, Families and Society (CISCFS), at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). Her research focuses on family life including the family-parent-child relationship across the lifespan. She currently leads a COVID-19 project exploring Family Life during COVID-19, co-authored Chapter 8 of the first edition of the Country Report on Covid-19 and is a member of the Western Cape Steering Committee for strengthening families.      
Additional Members:
SIG leader: Poppy Masinga     
Contact: [email protected]      
Biosketch: Dr Poppy Masinga is the current Head of Faculty of Social Work and Community Development at the South African College of Applied Psychology (SACAP), since January 2021. I started my academic career at the University of Pretoria in 2008 as a lecturer whilst studying towards a PhD with a special focus on designing a school-based violence prevention programme, which I obtained in 2017. I also hold a Master of Social Work Degree in Child and Family Welfare from Buffalo State University, USA and a Master of Social Work in Social Work Management from the University of Pretoria. I worked at the University of Pretoria since 2008 -2017 lecturing Social Policy and Community Development both at under-and postgraduate levels. Subsequently joined University of the Witwatersrand  in 2018, as a Senior Lecturer teaching both social policy and community development at both under-and postgraduate levels until November 2020. My research interests are in school violence, youth development, community development, green social work and disaster management, immigration issues and programme design and management. Currently, I serve on the Editorial Board of Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work and Journal of International Migration and Integration. I am the current President of ASASWEI and serve on the South African Council for Social Service Professions' (SACSSP) Foreign Qualifications and Continuous Professional Development Panels      
Co-SIG leader: Louis Nyahunda  Louis    
Contact: [email protected]      
Biosketch: I hold a Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral Degrees in Social work, all obtained from the University of Limpopo in South Africa. My research titles for both Masters and PhD were foregrounded in climate change, gender dynamics and social work. Since then, I developed an insatiable interest in environmental social work, climate change, environmental sustainability and sustainable livelihoods within the prism of the social work profession. I am a well published researcher in the field of climate change, gender dynamics and social work. To date, I have published more than 45 peer reviewed journal articles and 10 book chapters.      
SIG Focus: The SIG focuses on the social aspects of environmental sustainability, climate change, disaster management and green issues.      
Additional Members: Namoonga Chilwalo - [email protected] ; Peggie Chiwara -email: [email protected] Molly Shayamano - [email protected] Frans Matlakala: [email protected]

2023 Conference