Socio-Economic Inequalities in Namibia: A Qualitative Social Work Study




socio-economic inequalities, poverty, developmental social work, social development, neoliberalism, Namibia


Social work in Namibia is practised in a context marked by extreme levels of poverty and socio-economic inequalities. These interrelated challenges remain deeply entrenched despite several development efforts at national, regional and international level. As a social justice and human rights-oriented profession that has a global footprint, social work pledges to promote socio-economic equalities in view of realising a just and equal world. Such a structural emphasis on tackling socio-economic inequalities is a radical departure from the micro-level centred approaches that have historically dominated social work practice in Namibia. In this qualitative study, we explored 10 purposively selected Namibian social workers’ perceptions of socio-economic inequalities through semi-structured one-on-one interviews. The findings indicate that social workers are intricately aware of the socio-economic inequalities that characterise the Namibian society, but that their focus on micro practice restricts them to deal with the structural causes that retain socio-economic inequalities. Adopting a developmental approach as policy framework for social welfare and social work will enable social workers to bridge micro and macro practice, challenge oppressive structures and contribute to social transformation and a just and sustainable world.


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How to Cite

Chiwara, Peggie, and Antoinette Lombard. 2022. “Socio-Economic Inequalities in Namibia: A Qualitative Social Work Study”. Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development 34 (3):19 pages .



Received 2022-03-10
Accepted 2022-06-02
Published 2022-10-06