Queen Mothers and Social Workers: A Potential collaboration between traditional authority and social work in Ghana

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Kingship (chieftaincy) is an institution that has existed since ancient times in Africa (Kludze, 2000). It is an institution that has played a major role in many Ghanaian ethnic groups as the governor of customary law. Important to traditional authority is the Queen Mother. She is the biological mother or close relation to the chief and offers advice and counsel to him. Today they have many roles in their communities including being diplomats and mediators as well as overseeing the welfare of women and children in the community. Western style social work has been present in West Africa since the 1940's encouraged by the United Nations and the Association of Social Work Educators in Africa. Social workers have been trained in Ghana since 1946 and work in government and non-government organizations. The development of communities and the social welfare of women and children are of concern to social workers as well as to Queen Mothers. In 2002, a group of social work researchers met for ten months to look at the indigenisation of social work curriculum in Ghana with a Queen Mother as part of this group. This article describes the important dialogue between social workers and the Queen Mother concerning their roles in the community with potential future collaboration with each other that would enhance community development.
Queen Mothers, social work, Ghana, traditional authority, Participatory Action Research