Professional supervision in Palestine: a participatory evaluation of a development project

Lindsay, Jane and Baidoun, Mahmoud (2006) Professional supervision in Palestine: a participatory evaluation of a development project. In: Global Conference on Social Work; Sep 2006, Santiago de Chile, Chile. (Unpublished)


This paper presents the results of a participatory evaluation of a new initiative in Palestine, namely the development and provision of professional supervision programmes. In the period post-Oslo Accords (1993-5) the Palestinian Authority took over responsibility for social programmes within the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). The past twelve years has seen the rapid development of social programming and service development, funded, and often initiated by international donors. Social workers were appointed to work in a range of public and non-governmental organizations to deliver new social programming in an ad hoc fashion, and often without the necessary training to carry out the job functions required. Additionally, there was insufficient understanding of the supervision and support needs of social workers/ counselors. Supervision arrangements focused on inspection and audit, rather than professional development, growth and support and were perceived as threatening and oppressive. The outbreak of the Second Intifada in 2000 increased the pressures experienced by professionals including social workers and counselors (Lindsay and Baidoun (2004), and workers were often left in the position of caring for and supporting others, whilst themselves also being the victims of the conflict and with no systematic professional support. In 2003, the Continuing Education Department of Birzeit University in collaboration with Kingston University, London, developed and introduced a Professional Certificate and Diploma in Professional Supervision in order to meet these identified needs. This was the first professional course in supervision in Palestine. The approach taken to develop these programmes was based on the premise that importing a “off the shelf” programme from another country would not be appropriate for a Palestinian context. A process of critical dialogue between the university, those taking the programme and their employers was initiated to develop a model of professional supervision tailored to meet the needs of Palestinian professional workers. The innovative elements of the programme that was developed included the integration of counseling skills, self-awareness and growth, and supervision tools, including intensive live supervision. An integrated approach to supervision has been formulated which includes learning about human resource management, supportive and developmental supervision. Four programmes have now been provided. A participatory evaluative approach has been used for the past two years of programme provision, including working with an external evaluator. This paper will present the results of this evaluation highlighting the importance of participation of all stakeholders in the development and evaluation of such a new initiative. Some of the dilemmas that arose in the provision of such programming will be outlined, including the challenges of educating workers who had been professionally neglected and isolated; delivering a programme during a period of acute political conflict and occupation; Palestinisation of educational materials, and securing recognition of the need for supervision by public, private and non-governmental organizations. In an era that is experiencing a rapid growth in psychosocial programming internationally, we would argue for the necessity of the inclusion of education programmes in professional supervision. We consider that the results of our evaluation may be of relevance to educators and professionals in other national contexts. The paper will conclude

Actions (Repository Editors)

Item Control Page Item Control Page