THE MINISTRY OF GENDER AND FAMILY PROMOTION IS CONCERNED BY THE ELDERLY

The Minister of Gender and family promotion (MIGEPROF), Hon. Esperance NYIRASAFARI, received in her office the delegation from NSINDAGIZA Organization promoting the rights and welfare of older persons on August 16, 2017.

The delegation was composed by Mr Elie MUGABOWISHEMA- the President of NSINDAGIZA, Madam Zainabo MUKARURINDA- the President of the Huye elderly support group and Mr Eugene MUREKEZI- the Board member of the St Vincent of Paul Society.

The objective of this audience was to strengthen the partnership and collaboration between the Government and the Civil Society working with older persons in Rwanda, in order to increase the social inclusion of older persons and ensure that no one is left behind in the sustainable development goals.

The delegation emphasized the inclusion of older persons in the EDPRS 3 and shared the concern that there is no specific policy on the rights of older persons and that there is no forum for older persons.
The Minister said that MIGEPROF is concerned by the challenges faced by older persons, promised her support to the Civil Society and appointed the focal person for the age related collaboration. She promised that the elderly are going to be among the priorities in the discussions during the evening parents’ forum (Umugoroba w’Ababyeyi) and Friends of the family (Inshuti z’Umuryango) network all over the country. The Ministry will also include, in the family campaign, the role of the families and community to sustain the rights and welfare of older person and give them the opportunity to educate the young generation.

Report on the volunteers training

UNIVERSITY OF RWANDA VOLUNTEERS OF NSINDAGIZA ORGANIZATION WORKSHOP REPORT

CENTER FOR MENTAL HEALTH HUYE CAMPUS

The participants to the workshop, Huye May 1, 2017

INTRODUCTION

NSINDAGIZA Organization in collaboration with Center for Mental Health, organized the workshop held on 1st May 2017 in Huye at the Center for Mental Health. The workshop was attended by 21 participants (14 Males and 7 Females). .

I. OBJECTIVES OF THE WORKSHOP

  • To raise awareness of the UR students on the situation of elderly persons at different levels
  • To explain the organization and its mission
  • To explain the operation of the support groups
  • To establish a club of volunteers in Huye

II. PARTICIPANTS

  • UR students, volunteers of NSINDAGIZA
  • HABARUGIRA Augustin, Center for Mental Health delegate
  • IZATURWANAHO Félicien ,President of Clinical psychology Students Association of Rwanda (CPSAR)
  • Elie MUGABOWISHEMA, President of NSINDAGIZA Organization
  • Félicien MULINDA, President of NSINDAGIZA Huye
  • MUKARURINDA Zaïnabu, President of Ngoma support group
  • Gisèle BANKUNDIYE, Board member

III. WELCOME REMARKS

In his opening remarks Mr. HABARUGIRA Augustin, representing the Center for Mental Health, on behalf of the center, applauded NSINDAGIZA organization and its volunteers who participated in the workshop for raising their voices and joining their hands in promoting the rights and welfare of the elderly persons in Rwanda and beyond. He ensured the collaboration and full support of the center to the organization.

IV. TOPICS DISCUSSED

I. Elderly overview

In his presentation, Mr. Fulgence MUNYAMPETA, one of the UR students in clinical psychology and intern in Center for Mental Health, showed clearly the statistics of elderly situation globally and in Rwanda.

According to his presentation, in 2050 the older person will be triple to about 1.5 billion representing 16 percent of the world population (WHO, 2012).

In Rwanda, according to the RPHC4, there are 511,738 elderly persons (60 and above) living in Rwanda out of a total population of 10,515,973 inhabitants. The elderly thus represent 4.9% of the total resident population.

Data from the four Rwandan censuses indicate that the proportion of old people first increased from 4.8% in 1978 to 5% in 1991 dropped again slightly to 4.3% in 2002 and has only minimally increased to 4.9% in 2012.

Therefore, He concluded by saying that the increase in the number of old people requires the programs and measures of assisting them in their long journey in old age.

II. Organization and its mission

Elie MUGABOWISHEMA, the Founder and President of NSINDAGIZA Organization, explained the mission and vision of the organization.

He said that after observing the problems and challenges older persons face (loneliness, Chronicle illnesses including NCDs and, HIV/AIDS, poverty, psychological problems,) he met with other few people to discuss what to do with older persons. The first General Assembly, held on 20th July 2014, initiated the Organization named “NSINDAGIZA” in Kigali Sector, NYARUGENGE District with 31 members and the committee of 7 members was put in place, with an objective of Promoting the rights and welfare of the most vulnerable older persons in Rwanda. Elie emphasized clearly the role and responsibilities, the qualities and the benefits for the volunteer and shared the power point presentation containing all related information. He concluded by calling upon the volunteers to join hands for the advocacy of elderly persons in Rwanda and beyond, and invest their time, talents and treasures in the promotion of elderly persons through sensitization of the community and capacity building of elderly persons.

III. Volunteerism

Gisele BANKUNDIYE, one of board members on her side, emphasized the terms volunteering (Gukorera ubushake) and to be committed (Gukorana ubushake) and the benefits of both. From different views from the participants, volunteering is to work without any material compensation whereas to be committed refers to work with willingness, strength and courage. Although there is no tangible compensation, there is internal motivation from working with the older persons because it is always helpful to realize the results of your effort. She shared her experience working as a volunteer from 2014, including fundraising for the activities related to the promotion of the rights and welfare of elderly persons, and she concluded by saying that it is not a shame nor a loss to invest in the improvement of the lives of the elderly.

Mr.KABALISA Arsene, Executive Secretary of Ngoma Sector in his welcome remarks.

IV. Working in groups

Felicien MULINDA, the President of NSINDAGIZA in Huye district, shared his experience of how after he met with Elie, he came and started to mobilize some key people in Huye and formed a local committee which is not fully functional as he immediately got an accident and was not able to sustain the team. Fortunately, he had at that time shared the idea with some older women in Ngoma Sector, who started a support group which is fully functional. He expressed his joy at seeing the commitment of the support group members and how the group is growing up, with the support of local leaders including the Vice Mayor in charge of social affairs.

After his speech, Mr Felicien handed over to Zaïnabu MUKARURINDA, the President of the support group- who shared her experience on how to be together as the old people changed their lives. They are 26 members (old women) who meet every Thursday to share their feelings and the effects of aging. In order to be able to help each other by solving some financial issues, they decided to contribute 200frw/week for gathering their capacity and self-sustainability. They opened a bank account in SACCO and they use the money to help whichever member could meet a problem. She concluded by saying that this group helped them overcome the loneliness, anxiety of their future lives, depression and some other social problems.

V. WORKSHOP OUTCOME

From the different opinions of greatly pleasured participants, they thanked the leadership of NSINDAGIZA Organization for thinking about them and helping them to understand how elderly persons could be assisted in their long aging journey and how they could be assisted to overcome the problems and challenges they face in their daily lives.

Pre-test and Post-test

Prior to the workshop, the participants did a test to evaluate their level of understanding the concept of aging in the beginning and did the same test at the end to evaluate the outputs of the workshop.

Therefore, in comparison to both tests, there was a big difference between the initial and end results. The participants increased knowledge on who is elderly, their challenges, how they should be assisted and how they could be involved in that process, they discovered the international, regional and national materials, they discovered the gap existing in Rwanda and also understood how the elderly person should be assisted in and the areas they need the assistance and support. (Biologically, psychologically and socially).

The question that had the same result in both tests is what asked whether there are documents they know about old people. All of them answered that there are no written documents about old people they knew.

2. Topic discussed outcome

The participants courageously agreed to be the volunteers, sustain the group, to be the agents of change in society by organizing the community awareness campaigns to improve the lives of elderly persons and advocate for them. As university students, they decided to use different measures in advocacy including:

  • Educating the community on how to sustain the lives of elderly persons in their neighborhoods,
  • Formalizing the UR students NSINDAGIZA club in Huye campus and creating others in other campuses as well as in neighboring high schools,  
  • Using ICT and social media to widely spread the advocating messages for the rights and welfare of elderly persons,
  • Conducting researches on the situation of elderly persons in Rwanda and encouraging the graduates to consider elderly situations in their dissertations,
  • Supporting their respective communities to create elderly support groups and youth  NSINDAGIZA youth clubs,
  • To be involved in the organization of key social events in Huye, such as; the International Day of Older Persons on October 1st, HIV and AIDS on December 1st, health campaign in the first week of April and campaign on rights on June 15th.
  • Keep supporting the existing elderly support group in Huye and create other in Ngoma Sector.

3. UR NSINDAGIZA Group Committee

The participants committed to join hands in advocating and raising awareness through different actions, and decided to elect their committee as follow:

No

NAMES

POST

CONTACTS

1

Julienne MUKABAHIZI

President

0781119408

2

NTWALI léo Charté

V/President

0784000559

3

MUHORAKEYE Oliviette

Treasurer Secretary

0783933070

4

MUNYAMPETA Fulgence

1st Advisor

0782225940

5

KANEZA Mariam Nadia

2nd Advisor

0728363022

Felicien IZATURWANAHO, president of clinical psychology students Association of Rwanda in his speech thanked the organization and committed to keep supporting the team and providing any support in his competencies.

v3
Felicien IZATURWANAHO, Clinical psychology students Association of Rwanda

Finally, the President of the organization, Elie MUGABOWISHEMA, thanked the participants for their opinions, ideas, commitment and promised them his full support and collaboration in all activities promoting the rights and welfare of the most vulnerable elderly persons in Rwanda.

Report of the Rwanda Leave No One Behind National dialogue, January 19, 2017

The Guest of honor to Rwanda National Dialogue, Dr Octave Semwaga, MINAGRI

In 2015 world leaders came together and made a historic promise. They signed up to 17 Global Goals – the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – that have the potential to end poverty, to reduce inequality and to tackle climate change in 15 years. At the heart of the goals is a commitment to ensure that ‘No One is left behind’ and that no goal is considered met unless met for all.

On 19th January 2017, In Kigali, Ubumwe Grande Hotel was held a Rwanda Leave No One Behind National Dialogue, organized by NSINDAGIZA Organization, in partnership with other civil society organizations working with the most vulnerable people, with the support of Leave No One Behind Partnership.

In her opening remarks Madam Beatrice UWIMBABAZI, on behalf of the Mayor of the City of Kigali) has argued that civil society plays a big role in the development of the country; she continued saying that the city of Kigali is ready to collaborate with whichever organization (local or overseas) wants to give hand to the development of our country; she welcomed the participants and opened officially the dialogue.

The dialogue was attended by 58 participants (29 M and 29 F) representing different Government agencies, Rwandan civil society organizations, academic institutions including university researchers and teachers, church based institutions, International NGOs and the representatives of different categories of people including older persons, widows/widowers, women and girls, persons with disabilities, historically marginalized people, older people in centers, pensioners, people in rural areas, people living with HIV and those with Non-communicable diseases, youth, etc.

Elie MUGABOWISHEMA, Chairperson of Rwanda Leave No One Behind (LNB) Network, and President of NSINDAGIZA

The Chairperson of LNB Network, Mr Elie MUGABOWISHEMA has explained in details the aim of this dialogue as to search a solution of maintaining a sustainable development to different categories of people (elders, persons with disabilities, Historical marginalized people, etc) basing on the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) with their principle to leave no one behind; This is an opportunity to discuss on who is being left behind, why and what to do in order to make accessible, inclusive and suitable all services related to SDGs. He said that we are lucky that our country was among the best in the implementation of MDGs which gave Rwanda an opportunity of hosting the SDGs Center for Africa.

The Chairperson has shared with the participants the guiding questions for the dialogue:

  • Who are facing difficulties to access to different services?
  • Who is responsible at government level, for helping those who are being left behind?
  • Who is responsible at civil society level, for helping those who are being left behind?
  • What can we do to help those who are being left behind?

He even shared the country profile based on the existing data and the summary of the results of local dialogues conducted in 11 districts prior to the national dialogue. After his speech, followed the testimony of one caregiver to older persons, one representative of older persons, one representative of persons with disabilities at the same time infected by HIV and at old age, and one representative of historically marginalized people. All the testimonies pointed the common challenge of misunderstanding of caregivers and service providers about how to treat those people and also they’ve asked whether there can be a special advocacy for their well being. Especially on health, education, economy and see how they can rebuild confidence to those people who are being left behind.

An open dialogue to all participants has started after a short break, the participants discussed about the questions listed above, many of the participant showed the challenges that make one group of people to be left behind such as:      

  • Poverty
  • Loneliness for older people
  • Education background
  • Lack of the acknowledgement of the community they belong in.
  • Lack of the policy on the rights and welfare of older people

The participants closed the discussions by recommending the following:

  • Integrate social inclusion in all the programs developed by both the Government and its Civil society organization partners
  • Emphasize on changing the mindset and taking care of all and leave no one behind.
  • Empowering on reaching water and sanitation to the most vulnerable people.
  • Increasing health friendly services for all, initiate geriatric services in all referral and district hospitals and train health professionals on the basic knowledge on gerontology.
  • Free of charge medical treatment for older persons suffering from NCDs and HIV
  • Increase evidence based advocacy by conducting researches and elderly situational assessment.
  • Emphasize on NDI UMUNYARWANDA (I’m Rwandan) program for all.
  • Maintain this LNB coalition in order to unite our effort for effective advocacy.
  • Accelerate the National Policy on the rights and welfare of older persons
  • Translate the SDGs into Kinyarwanda and disseminate them to larger population.
  • Train and teach the categories of the most vulnerable about their rights.
  • The participants have argued that such dialogues should be organized as frequent as possible in order to share all innovative ideas.

As it is not easy to satisfy all the SDGs at the same time, the top 5 priorities have been identified:

  1. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  2. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  3. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
  4. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
  5. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

In his closing remarks, the Guest of honor, Dr Octave SEMWAGA, the Director General of Strategic Planning and Programs Coordinator at MINAGRI, thanked the civil society for their contribution to the implementation of the SDGs in collaboration with the Government of Rwanda. He encouraged the Rwanda LNB Network to sustain for the SDGs lifelong and keep advocating for Social integration across all the programs developed both by the Government and Civil Society organizations. He ensured the full support of the Government to however who will be implementing the SDGs, especially those in line with MINAGRI, these recommendations will be taken into account in the budget of next fiscal year.

The picture of all the participants at the LNB National Dialogue, Kigali January 19, 2017

REPORT ON THE RWANDA LNB LOCAL DIALOGUES

INTRODUCTION

Due to the rise of cases of lack of service acquisition by some citizens, due to discrimination based on tribe, age and social status among others, the Nsindagiza organization in partnership with other concerned organizations put together a team to investigate these cases, their causes and come up with the most appropriate solutions. They were allocated one month, starting from 1st December 2016, in which they were to have made a report of their findings.

The full time members of the team were:

  • Abewe Mukesharugo Bienvenue.
  • Iranejeje Shema Shekillah.

We were helped by the staff of the Rwanda LNB network member organizations in their respective zones.

METHOD USED.

We used questionnaires and local dialogues in cases of illiteracy which high in rural areas.

FINDINGS.

MOST DISCRIMINATED AGAINST GROUPS

We found out that the groups that receive least services in most areas include:

  • The elderly
  • The historically marginalized people
  • The mentally ill
  • The poor

REASONS FOR THEIR DISCRIMINATION

The reasons we got for their discrimination include:

  • Their tribe
  • Their economical state
  • Level of education
  • Age
  • Mental health
  • Income generating activities (Potters)

IN WHAT WAYS THEY ARE DESCRIMINATED

  • Isolation
  • Loneliness
  • Stigma

SERVICES THEY LACK

  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Training
  • Electricity
  • Jobs
  • Pension money

SERVICES THEY GET

  • Water
  • Education
  • Security
  • Transport and communication
  • Freedom of voting
  • Right to join any organization
  • Medical

MOST NEEDED SERVICES

  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Electricity
  • Training

THE ROLE THEY MAKE IN MAKING LAWS CONCERNING THEM

Most of the victimized citizens take no part in making the laws that concern them.

CONCLUSION.

The first place we did our research was among the historically marginalized people, commonly known as the Batwa group. Most inhabitants, being potters, face great discrimination based on both their tribe and their occupation. They live in underdeveloped areas, since even the most educated among them do not take steps towards developing their home area, due to the discrimination they face whenever they try. Although they got help from well wishers, like a donor who built a school for their children, some do not attend due to lack of the money required for lunch by their parents. This affects them tremendously. About only four homes out of a hundred have electricity, hence the need for improved electricity in the region.

Another place we visited nearby experienced issues of lack of freedom of expression. Despite the government’s good will, policies and sensitization, whenever one of them succeeded in achieving a leadership position, there would be cynical comments from the community asking how a person from clay (based on the occupation) would bring about development, or how one who had no food for her family would feed a whole village.

In another area, the main problem faced was lack of jobs. There are too many jobless people around and without any hope in finding jobs, mainly due to lack of proper education.

The elderly do not receive nearly enough pension money. The little they get is sent through banks, which deduct over half of their fee, leaving them with next to nothing. Adding the transport fee to get to the banks, the aged end up without any benefit from their prior services to the government. Some of them however do not get any help from the government, because the local authorities claim that if an elderly has a child over eighteen years of age, they need not get any more help since their child will care for them. However, when the children grow up, most leave their homes, leaving their aging parents alone with no one to care for them. Some of the diseases they suffer from are unknown to health professionals since they do not specialize in that field, hence are not treated. Some doctors even have the nerve to discourage the aged by asking them why they are struggling yet they are just awaiting death. There is an urgent need of geriatric services, training of health professionals on how to work with older people

In another region, the citizens have small pieces of land but have little or no fertilizer and they lack enough money as down payment for the fertilizers loaned to them by the government. They also have very poor shelters as shown below

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We would recommend more awareness to be created since it was so saddening to find out that over 99% of the people we talked to have no idea what the Sustainable goals of the United Nations are.

RECOMMENDATION.

We would recommend more awareness to be created since it was so saddening to find out that over 99% of the people we talked to have no idea what the Sustainable goals of the United Nations are.

Another idea would be to build homes for the aged and appoint people to care for them since they are neglected, and also establish training colleges in caring for the aged and treating their diseases.

The pension money allocated to the aged should be increased as the value of money reduces since they get the same amount as forty years ago, yet value changes. Ways to get the money to them should also be come up with, since they are weak.

When registering those who are alive, the person is required to be present in person. However, some of the elderly have nobody to take them there.. The local authorities, therefore, should appoint individuals to go from home to home where the aged live to confirm their presence, so that they may receive the services they are due.

Discrimination should be greatly discouraged and equality promoted among all, irrespective of age, gender, tribe, mental and physical health, for a better tomorrow.

In areas where people need fertilizers, less money should be asked for in order to loan it since the higher the amount is, the less people who can afford it. Public awarance and training should also be carried out more often and to wider audiences.

Since some children suffer due to their parents’ poverty, the schools set up with free education should also provide food to promote equality.

Challenges

The main challenge we faced was that the overall coordinator , Abewe Mukesharugo Bienvenue, got involved in an accident and lost consciousness. All the data, report and all the supporting documents for the money used during the research we had conducted was stolen, and we were unable to recover them. This report, as a result, is all from what I can recall from our research.

Another challenge was that due to the poor transport facilities, we mostly used motorcycles, the drivers from whom we could not get invoices, hence no clear evidence of how the transport expenses were consumed

SUMMARY OF NUMBERS

DATE

DISTRICTS

NUMBER OF DIALOGUES/FGD

NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS

NUMBER OF FACILITATORS

6th-8th December 2016

Kamonyi

Nyaruguru

Huye

1

1

2

6

7

12

IRANEJEJE Shema Shekillah

ABEWE Mukesharugo Bienvenue

12th-16th  December 2016

Musanze

Rubavu

Bugesera

Nyarugenge

Gasabo

1

1

1

1

2

7

8

10

5

13

 IRANEJEJE Shema Shekillah

ABEWE Mukesharugo Bienvenue

 

20th-21st December 2016

Nyamagabe

 

7

 

140

IRANEJEJE Shema Shekillah

ABEWE Mukesharugo Bienvenue

GASHUMBADamascene

Olive

22nd-23rd

December 2016

Ruhango

Kicukiro

2

36

Alex

Drocella

 

 

19

244

 

NSINDAGIZA ORGANIZATION: July 2015-June 2016

Summary of Key Achievements

  • The formation of 6 elderly support groups in collaboration with local authorities
  • Training of elderly support group committees on the rights, health and economic initiatives
  • Organization of the International day of older persons in 2015 in partnership with the Ministry of Local Administration and HelpAge International
  • Organization of the awareness campaigns on the rights in partnership with HelpAge International
  • Organization of the awareness campaign on health in partnership with HelpAge International and the Ministry of Health
  • Two persons received training on project planning and management in Ouagadougou, in partnership with MDF
  • Support the most vulnerable older persons with health insurance, refection of the houses

The formation of 6 elderly support groups in collaboration with local authorities

Discussions in group on aging

In order to increase social participation of older persons and decrease isolation and depression, NSINDAGIZA created 6 elderly support groups in 3 districts; Nyarugenge, Huye and Gasabo. Each support group committee received an introductory training on leadership, group dynamic and rights. Currently 5 groups out of 6 have bank accounts and have initiated savings system and they support each other so as no one is frustrated because of the inequality. Depending on their convenience, some groups meet monthly others meet weekly and across all groups gender is respected. These groups serve as platform of experience and feeling sharing and allowing group members to know and support each other in case of bad or good events.

Training of elderly support group committees on the health, rights and economic initiatives

For health, around the rights campaign organized in June, the trained volunteers cascaded the training to 6 elderly support groups on HIV and AIDS using the modules produced by HelpAge on:

  • Training and supporting older people to be home or community based care givers
  • Income-generating activities for older people affected by HIV and AIDS
  • Using peer education to inform older people about HIV
  • Protecting inheritance in multi-generational households affected by HIV and AIDS
  • Psychosocial support for older care givers

Other skilled volunteers trained support groups on rights and economic initiatives using existing materials found locally though it is hard to conduct the cited trainings as most of support groups members are illiterates and volunteers have just knowledge but no experience to train or work with older persons.

Organization of the International day of older persons in 2015 in partnership with the Ministry of Local Administration and HelpAge International

The International day of older persons was not known in the community, it was just few people who came together and shared drinks but there was nothing at community level, no theme and there was no guidance on how to celebrate that day. Several audiences/meetings were organized with the officials from the Ministry of local administration, local authorities from District to grassroots level, and as the result this year the event was organized at the community level where families and communities countrywide were encouraged to organize something for older persons in their areas. The most vulnerable older persons received mattresses, food, clothes and other domestic materials. Good news from the last International day of older persons, there is an international student from Yale University who listened to the Rwanda National Radio, where NSINDAGIZA co-animated an radio talk with the Ministry of Local Administration, and she approached us and now she is conducting research for her Thesis, on aging in Rwanda, which will be at least one of the documentations on aging in Rwanda. We estimate that 30,000 people including older and young women and men have been directly reached with the message on ageing and more than 1,000,000 reached through mass media. Prior to the actual event we organize the audiences and meetings with decision makers and discuss with them mainly on their role to push the international convention on the rights of older persons. Though there is a participation of other parties, family members play a big role in the organization and funding of the International day of older persons.

Organization of the awareness campaigns on the rights in partnership with HelpAge International

Every year NSINDAGIZA in partnership with HelpAge International, organizes a community awareness campaign, in collaboration with local older persons’ associations, using mass media such as radio and written magazines, and during the campaigns community based volunteers provide trainings to the elderly support groups and the community, on the human rights and how older persons could have access to their rights as any other human being. Last year, 329 older persons received trainings, more than 20, 000 received directly the message on the rights and more than 1,000,000 were reached by the message through mass media. Prior to the actual event we organize the audiences and meetings with decision makers and discuss with them mainly on their role to push the international convention on the rights of older persons as we believe that a single instrument, a new international convention on the rights of older people, is the most effective way to make sure that all people enjoy their human rights in older age, and on an equal basis with others. Local authorities, families and services providers are mobilized to fight for the rights of older persons and it is an opportunity to link older persons with the service providers in the domain of justice. During these campaigns older persons raised their concerns about the urbanism as they always pushed to leave their native areas without any orientation on where to go, they also shared their feelings on being rejected by their relatives.

Organization of the awareness campaign on health

With the guidance of the training manual developed by HelpAge International, the community based volunteers trained older persons, caregivers and other family members on health. During these campaigns, NSINDAGIZA mobilized health structures in Nyarugenge District who provided their support by providing and guiding the transmission of the messages. Rwanda Diabetes Associations supported by diabetes and high blood pressure screening, where 114 older persons were tested and received counselling and education on the prevention and management of Non-communicable diseases. Mass media was also used as well as workshops on NCDs and over the two last years we are observing a big change in older persons’ behaviors including nutrition and physical exercises. Most of older persons know NCDs, they know their causes and even their management, however the problem is to change the habits. This campaign was also attended by a good number of school youth clubs who organized a football match as an expression of the importance of sport in good health.

Under health campaign and with the support of the Vision for a Nation International, the eye screening was conducted to 131 older persons, 61 received glasses for free, 70 received other kinds of medicines and where needed, they were referred to appropriate structures.

Also in partnership with Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC) under Ministry of health, we provided wheel chairs to 5 older persons with disability among them one couple.

Training on project planning and management in Ouagadougou, in partnership with MDF

About capacity building two board members participated to the training on project planning and management in Ouagadougou in September 2015, with the support of MDF. These persons were supposed to cascade the training to other board members, unfortunately they always miss the opportunity as people are always busy with other business

Support the most vulnerable older persons with health insurance, refection of the houses

During home visits and group discussions among older persons, they discovered that there were some of them who did not have health insurance and others health care, others did not have appropriate houses, there were even those who did not have clothes and food. We appreciate the courage of support group members who collected funds to support their fellows, approached their families (where applicable) and reminded them about their responsibilities towards older persons. Though we were not able to have all good actions from all groups but we are aware of some examples, and we urge support groups to provide all kind of good practices and success stories.

Networking

We all know that no one can work alone and this is the domain on which we don’t have enough skills, this is the reason why we need to build strong relationship with other national, regional and international networks on aging. NSINDAGIZA has adhered to 3 networks including the International Federation of the associations of older persons (FIAPA) and we attended the General Assembly in Paris, for the first time. We are also in the Age Demand Action (ADA) which is a network initiated by HelpAge International. Another network we adhered to is the Global Alliance for the Rights of Older Persons (GAROP). All these networks give us the opportunity to have access to information, joining others in raising the advocating voice for older persons, and to have access to their training and awareness materials and we receive financial support from HelpAge for the main awareness campaigns.

Administration

Concerning the management of the organization, The General Assembly meeting was held January 2016, The General Assembly has the responsibility to approve the annual report and work plan as well as to endorse the resolutions proposed by the Executive Committee. Four ordinary and two extraordinary Executive Committee meetings were held to: 

  • Oversee the implementation all the General Assembly’s decisions,
  • Follow up the day to day life of the association’s management
  • Approve the last year activity reports and submit them to General Assembly,
  • Approve the annual budget to be submitted to the General Assembly,
  • Prepare the meeting of the General Assembly.

Administration

Despite the cited achievements, we are still facing a lot of challenges including the following:

  • We should be using evidence based advocacy, however there is no data on the situation of older persons in Rwanda
  • The fact that there is no binding laws, policy, guidelines, national strategic plan related to older persons, there is no actors nor funding agency for the domain of aging
  • We don’t have permanent donors for the running cost and for small projects to cover the basic needs raised by older persons
  • Lack of reference as all of us; volunteers, caregivers and service providers, don’t have the knowledge on how to work with older people

Administration

  • To raise funds/mobilize researchers and academics for the situational assessment of older persons by 2017
  • To form a strong network/forum of the organizations and associations working with older persons and organize a national conference by 2017, on the implementation of the sustainable development goals and its principle to leave no one behind
  • To strengthen our network by participating to the organized meetings, conferences and seminars
  • Intensify our effort to advocate for the National policy on the rights and welfare of older persons, and keep working with other actors to push the UN until we get the International Convention on the rights and welfare of older persons
  • To contact HelpAge and FIAPA and see how we can together organize an International conference (in Rwanda) on the role of the family/community to maintain the rights and welfare of older persons by 2018
  • To strengthen the support groups and accompany them in the process of starting economic initiatives.