Societal perception of older people among the communities across Africa has changed over time.
In traditional society, the older persons were seen as valuable members of their communities
who held great wisdom for the younger generations and were highly esteemed. Today, as a result
of erosion of social values coupled with tough economic times, communities view older people
as burdens. Additionally institutional ageism is rampant. Retiring policies are discriminatory
while there exists neither clear retirement preparedness mechanisms nor specific programs for
the senior retired citizens. Many elderly people get into loneliness and depression afetr their
active years especially when they can no longer cater for their own personal needs. Bearing in
mind that all human beings are candidates for old age, the agenda on aging can not be left to
the government alone. Ethel foundation attempts to address this social challenge through
advocacy in the following forums.
We take advantage of social gatherings in the community to sensitize and create awareness of
the plight of our aging parents within the community, reminding individuals , families and social groups of our collective and individual respnsibility in closing the gap between the you and the aged. It is in such forums where markets for products made by the elderly are sold. The plight of the young children under the care of their grand parents are discussed. Some well wishers offer to educate children from such backgrounds making a huge difference.
Ethel Foundation acts as a mouth piece for the aged and their families. We work very closely
with social institutions and individuals who are professionals who come in handy in offering
technical or professional support among our people whenever called upon. Through our
advocacy services, we have lawyers who support the aged in access to justice especially in
matters related to land disputes and inhertance management. We have hospitals that offer free
medical camps for the aged, counsellors who offer free counselling support, physiotherapy
among others. We have also successfully advocated for the aged among international
organizations who have offered monetary support for the advancement of our mission.
iii. Government and policy makers
All citizens, young or old are deemed to be a property of the government. The govermment therefore has a key role in defending and protecting the rights of its people. However, this is not always the case, and the voiceless members of the society are in most cases forgotten. Ethel Foundation has played a key role in championing for formulation and implementation of inclusive policies that consider the needs of the aged and their dependants. Some of the discussions held include the formation of a medical cover scheme for the aged, budgetary considerations at the County level, prioritization of care for the aged in hospitals and other government offices. We look forward to more fruitful collaborations in future. The Foundation intends to periodically conduct research on the status of older people. The findings will be used for advocacy and policy formulation at the community and national levels.