APPEAR scholarship holder Charles Rutikanga was appointed as International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) Africa Region representative for the indigenous knowledge commission. IFSW is a global body for professional social workers made up of 141 professional social work associations including the Rwanda National Organization of Social workers of which Charles is a member. The Indigenous knowledge commission is one of the five African region commissions that include: Ethics Commission, Human Rights Commission, Education Commission and United Nations Commission.
This indigenous knowledge commission was set up to contribute to social work practice and to acknowledge the relevance of indigenous knowledge for social work. The IFSW set the "UBUNTU - I am because we are: Strengthening social solidarity and global connectedness" as the theme for the world social work day which will be celebrated on 16 March 2021. The Ubuntu concept is a famous African indigenous philosophy. It is a term borne out of the philosophy that community strength comes out of community support, and that dignity and identity is achieved through values of mutualism, empathy, generosity, and community commitment. The concept is fundamentally linked to the notions of cooperation and working together where individuals and families have a moral obligation of caring for one another. Charles’s primary role in this commission will be to strengthen the voices of indigenous social workers in Africa. He will also ensure that the African social work practice stories and concepts are incorporated into the global social work narrative. The term of office as regional representative will be 2 years.
Charles Rutikanga is a lecturer at the Department of Social Sciences at the University of Rwanda (UR) since 2009. He is also a PhD student at the Department of Development Studies, University of Vienna. He obtained a Master of Social Work from Uganda Christian University and a Social Work Bachelor’s degree from University of Rwanda. While working at University of Rwanda, Charles has been involved in the coordination and implementation of several research projects including PROSOWO projects I and II funded APPEAR. His research interests include social work, childhood and child protection as well as social development and indigenous social work practice