Older persons top the segment of the population that lives in poverty. As a result, they are unable
to meet their financial needs for medicare, nutrition, shelter and social participation. Inspite of
their greatest need for income to meet the above needs, most policies, services and physical
infrastructure discriminate against the older persons. For instance, most insurance companies
have age-ceilings beyond which they do not offer medical insurance. Ironincally, this is the age
in an individual’s lifetime when one needs insurance the most due to the chronic diseases that
are common at this age.
Ethel foundation attempts to address the capacity of older people in selection, planning and management of income generating activities (SPM-IGAs). This is only possible for the aged who are still active and can be able to manage small projects. This approach helps safeguard the aging persons from falling into total dependancy without any form of income generating opportunities.
This is however not very applicable for the aged who are sickly and lack capacity to operate by themselves. Some of the projects that Ethel Foundation encourage include the non labour intensive projects such as pourltry, weaving projects, kitchen gardening, goat rearing, bead work among others. The Foundation empowers the elderly through skill building but mostly by creating market linkages for the products. The fact that these aged persons are able to participate in some activities makes them feel ‘useful’ and boosts their esteem, adding a day or two to their lives. The communities have been sensitized on the importance of supporting the elderly by buying their products. This creates a bond between the community and the aged.
Ethel Foundation for the Aged is in discussion with the government to see possibilities of creating a medical scheme for the aged. This will guard against having them consume all their incomes through hospital and medical bills.