The Commonwealth Organisation for Social Work (COSW) is an accredited civil society organisation of the Commonwealth.  

COSW has formal recognition to contribute to policymaking in the Commonwealth, providing it unique opportunities to be the voice of social work within this important group of nations.

Through accreditation, COSW can also advocate for decisions within the Commonwealth to reflect social work aims, ethos, and values.

COSW has representatives in Commonwealth countries who are supported by the local national social work associations in which they are based.

In the UK, BASW plays the important role of providing professional and logistic assistance to COSW.

BASW has been able to present UK social work perspectives in the Commonwealth, leading to campaigning successes on key issues:

  • The need for the Commonwealth to recognise the important role women play in the economies of the Global South
  • Marginalisation of women, including gender-based violence
  • Children’s role as informal carers and how this impacts on their own development
  • Oppression of people of different sexual and gender orientation
  • Enforced migration
  • Sexual exploitation

One international event that symbolises this advocacy success is the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London.