5 International Jobs for Social Workers

Social Working on a Global Scale

  • World Health Organization
  • International Rescue Committee
  • Women for Women International
  • United Nations
  • International Justice Mission

When many consider the field of social working, they might imagine a specific role in a rigidly defined domestic context, but there are many international jobs for social workers to do. Because individuals pursuing this career path possess training and education in the analyses of social problems and resource distribution, they are essential to many relief programs. The article below explores five vital roles for social work professionals on a global platform.

Social Working with the WHO

The World Health Organization employs more than 7,000 individuals in over 150 countries. Their mission is to increase the standards of health, awareness about public health issues, and resources available to local and state level communities. While many individuals who work for this organization have training in medical fields, WHO also employs a cadre of individuals trained in social assessment and exploration of how resources may be more efficiently allocated. Social workers are ideally suited to these inquiries and interpretation of existing civil structures, especially regarding how assistance can be most effectively applied.

The International Rescue Committee and Social Workers

The IRC works with survivors of war or natural disasters to ensure their recovery and future prosperity. Their mission takes them to more than 40 countries where people need help, and that requires organization, ability to assess the most pressing needs of individuals, and how both existing resources and prospective needs are managed. The IRC also charges its members with ensuring the health, education, and general well-being of these populations, a mission for which those trained in social work are ideally suited. Whether they are empowering women, protecting children or helping displaced communities survive in trying circumstances, the IRC embodies the missions of social work in a global society.

Working with Women for Women International

In countries that are impacted by war or dramatic social upheaval, women are often disproportionately targeted or penalized. WfWI is an organization dedicated to providing psychosocial support, resources, and other needs to empower women in these areas because when women are encouraged to prosper, the entire community flourishes. Social work professionals are called to a variety of locations to complete these missions, and WfWI hosts operations in more than eight key countries that have experienced drastic changes due to war, famine, disease, and social upheaval. Such endeavors may range from designing and implementing a culturally appropriate business opportunity or educational program for local women to allocating resources that provide sex education and products to young women to enable them to complete their schooling.

The United Nations and Working with Communities

The United Nations is much more than a body of representatives that meet to discuss salient global policy issues and developments. They are also a dedicated group of professionals from a variety of fields who work to ensure human rights, stable and sustainable social growth, deliver humanitarian aid in a crisis, and protect the peaceful livelihoods of communities around the world. Individuals trained in social work will find a variety of ways to enact their personal missions through those of the UN, whether it involves working with a team to design an aid program, studying local customs and laws in order to ensure that new developments and endeavors are both sustainable and promote the well-being of the community, or working to guarantee fundamental human rights in unstable situations.

International Justice Mission and Social Workers

For those who feel called to serve communities on a global scale as they combat issues such as human trafficking, assault, and slavery. While they are a faith-based organization, they work with vulnerable and traumatized populations with the mission of healing. Women and children are disproportionately targeted by slavery and sex trafficking, but IJM seeks to protect and heal anyone who has been denied essential human liberty and rights. Social workers with experience working with victims of trauma are posted to countries around the world, and master’s degrees in the field are considered desirable.

Related Resource: Top 10 Best Online Social Work Degree Programs

Whether the organization mission is one of education and empowerment or peacekeeping and healing, there are quite a few organizations that work with vulnerable populations around the world. Individuals who have attained degrees in the social sciences, economics and specifically social work are essential to enacting the missions of these global projects. To this end, there are many international jobs for social workers that call upon their skill set to counsel, assess, plan, and communicate.