Creating a Space for Social Work in Post-Communist Society-October 28, 2010 | by Zoe Brogden, OSI Blog

28 Mar, 2018

“What is a social worker?” Ask this question on the streets of Tbilisi, Georgia, and you might be pleasantly surprised by the accuracy of the answer. Yet social work has little tradition as an academic or professional path in most former Soviet countries.  The need for well-trained social workers is grave in all post-communist societies, with Georgia no exception.

On a recent visit to Georgia, I had the pleasure of spending several days with two Open Society Social Work Fellowship Programalumni, Marina Ushveridze and Salome Namicheishvili. Both have continued to follow their passion for the field by also receiving an Open Society Scholarship Programs Alumni Grant.

Along with three other Social Work Fellows-Natia Partskhaladze, Nino Shatberashvili, and Shorena Sadzaglishvili-Marina and Salome founded a professional touchstone for all social workers, the Georgian Association of Social Workers.  GASW has grown to around 200 members since its inception in 2004, when Georgian social work had no professional body or a code of standards, and few concrete opportunities to work in the field. Read further.