Social Welfare in Cuba: A Holistic View of Human and Environmental Sustainability

Social Welfare in Cuba: A Holistic View of Human and Environmental Sustainability

(A cross island tour from Havana to Santiago de Cuba!)

April 23 – May 5, 2017

Social Welfare 2015 f

The Social Welfare in Cuba 2013 group enjoyed professional meetings and informal gatherings with Cubans in Havana and in the provinces.

In 2013 and 2015, Michigan NASW members, along with their friends and partners, ventured on two inspiring week-long trips to Cuba and universally gave the experience glowing feedback:

      'This experience was structured as a mobile conference where the participants went to the agencies and communities of the presenters. This provided knowledge of the bio-psycho-social context that went beyond any other conference which I have attended. In every way this trip was an extraordinary opportunity for cultural and social work understanding."

     “This was definitely the most educational and informative continuing education activity I have ever experienced. The presenters and topics were very thorough and the diversity of agencies that were visited helped to give a holistic picture of how the Cuban health/social care system works. It was very beneficial to learn how a community-based approach can be effective in dealing with multiple issues and can be very preventative.”

     “I learned so much at every presentation. It was obvious that there was a great deal of time, energy and collaboration both in the US and with folks in Cuba. Marjorie and Chuck and Michelle were amazing. The places we visited and the people that we met were well prepared for us. Although I was tired and somewhat limited I enjoyed and learned so much. So much learning took placed as rode the bus!! We had the ability to learn so much from our guides on the bus and the interaction within the group was amazing. It was a trip I had wanted to make for a very longtime and am so happy I had the opportunity. Very happy that we did it.”
     "This was a tremendous program-it was highly stimulating professionally. Cuba’s integrated health/mental health system is an inspirational model for the world."

For the spring of 2017, we are planning an expanded program that will begin in Havana, include several days in the charming rural provinces of Sancti Spiritus and Camaguey, and arrive in the vibrant Afro Cuban city of Santiago de Cuba in Cuba's far east in time for May Day!

As always, along the way we will have the opportunity to interact with both Cuban professionals and the ordinary Cubans who benefit from their government's universal systems of health care, education and social welfare.

I am excited to again be leading this group and returning to Cuba for (in my case) the fourth time! Each time I return to Cuba I am newly invigorated by the communitarian spirit and the commitments to health and education that give the Cuban people a remarkable quality of life despite living with the consequences of a US embargo for the past half century.                                                — Marjorie Ziefert, LMSW, ACSW

This program will provide a closer look at vital issues facing Cuba today with a focus on (1) sustainable social and environmental policy and practice and the integration of the two in Cuba; (2) approaches to behavioral health in Cuba from a community and individual perspective and (3) issues of gender, race and class in Cuba as they impact the practice of Social Welfare.

Participants will have the opportunity to interact with official policy makers, directors of programs, and a variety of practitioners with a range of social work and other disciplinary training. The program will include engagement with urban and rural Cuban citizens in a variety of formal and informal settings as well as a variety of cultural activities.

Through site visits, presentations and discussions, participants will be presented with Cuba's perspective on the issues and encouraged to think critically about how these perspectives relate to the US – our work as social workers, and to society in general, as well as how Cuban and US social workers can learn from each other… and of course, how we, as US citizens, can help to bridge the gaps so that we can work together for the well-being of our clients, communities, countries, world and planet.

SW 15 whole group with Granma

The Social Welfare in Cuba 2015 group posing in front of a mural of the "Granma," the yacht  that brought Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Camilo Cienfuegos and 79 additional revolutionaries from Mexico back to Cuba to launch their successful revolution against the Batista dictatorship.

Social Welfare in Cuba Sample Program

Orientation Packet or Social Welfare in Cuba, April-May 2017

If you have any questions on the program and/or  logistics for the delegation, please email Pam Montanaro, Coordinator for Eco Cuba Network or call 510-318-4910.

Social Work Continuing Education Units (CEUs): This trip offers 45 CEUs (including 5 in Ethics and 2 in Pain as required every three years for Michigan Licensure), through Michigan Chapter NASW. Members of NASW- Michigan receive these CEUs for no additional cost. Social Workers wanting to receive CEUs for the trip, who are not members of Michigan NASW, can do so by paying a  $250 administrative fee to NASW Michigan. Social Workers from other states will need to check with their state licensing authority to be sure that CEUs approved by the Michigan NASW will be accepted in your state. This has not been an issue to date as most states do reciprocate with regard to CEUs. For further information about CEUs please contact Marjorie Ziefert, LMSW at

Spouses, partners, friends and colleagues of Social Workers who work in related fields are also welcome to participate.

For articles and videos on Social Welfare and Sustainability in Cuba, check out our Resources on Social Welfare in Cuba page.

For articles and videos on Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development in Cuba, check out our ECN Resources page.


  •   $3200   Program/in-Cuba logistics fee
  •   $600     Flight package fee

Program/in-Cuba logistics fee includes:

  • Double room accommodations in 4 star hotel and 2 meals per day*
  • Full program
  • Tour guide and translator for all scheduled events
  • Transportation to all scheduled events
  • Honoraria to all host speakers, organizations and communities
  • Preparatory educational material
  • Access to Eco Cuba Network coordinators before, during and after tour

* Single Supplement is $450

Program/in-Cuba logistics fee does not include:

  • Bottled Water and other beverages
  • Tips to hotel and wait staff
  • End of tour gratuity to guide and driver
  • Optional evening cultural activities and non-scheduled activities
  • Personal expenses

Flight Package fee includes:

  • Round trip airfare Miami to Havana 
  • Required Cuban health insurance 
  • Cuban visa 
  • Fedex delivery 

How to Register:

Please print out and complete the Social Welfare 2017 Application Form and then scan/email it, along with a photocopy of your passport, it to Pam Montanaro.  If you prefer, may call in your credit card account number to Pam at 510-318-4910, but you must still complete and sign the Credit Card Authorization page on the form. A deposit of $500 is due upon registration.

This trip will be limited to 22 participants and is expected to fill up quickly.  Application forms will be processed in the order in which they are received.  The completed forms and deposit are due by November 15, 2016. However participants are encouraged to submit their forms as soon as possible to ensure participation.

Cuba travel for Eco Cuba Network tours, including the flight, visa and required Cuban health insurance, is arranged by Marazul Charters, a licensed Cuba Travel Service Provider with over 40 years experience arranging Cuba travel for professional, educational, cultural, and "people to people" delegations to research every aspect of Cuban life.

Payments by Mastercard, Visa and Discover are welcome. Full payment is due four weeks before departure.

Participants should also allow at least $50 – 100 per day for personal expenses and non-covered items and for the flight to Miami from your home city, and one overnight stay in Miami the night before departure for Cuba.

Eco Cuba Network is a project of the Green Cities Fund

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