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.

NSINDAGIZA ORGANIZATION REPORT: July 2016-June 2017

Despite several challenges faced by the organization, a lot has been done during the reporting period. As the main axes of intervention are advocacy and sensitization, most of activities were related to the meetings with Government officials, international and local actors on ageing and the organization of the awareness-raising campaigns on the rights and welfare of older persons as detailed below:

I. ORGANIZATION OF THE LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND NATIONAL DIALOGUE

International day of older persons in Huye district, October 2017

In collaboration with other civil society organizations working with the most vulnerable people, NSINDAGIZA supported by CIVICUS, organized a leave no one behind (LNB) national dialogue, held in Kigali on the 19th January 2017 at Ubumwe Grande Hotel. 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 Noncommunicable diseases, youth, etc.

The main objective of the National dialogue was to facilitate and strengthen a platform where policy makers and organizations supporting vulnerable groups can engage in a constructiveway to ensure that ‘Leave no On Behind’ SDGs commitment comes to reality at national and sector planning and review process at all levels.

According to the results from local dialogues conducted in 10 districts by LNB network, the least to have access to the services are; the elderly, historically marginalized people, people with intellectual disability and the poor.

About the top factors causing being left behind, the participants in the local dialogues mentioned economic status, level of education, age, mental health and income generating activities (Pottery).

In all districts, they appreciate that the Government of Rwanda avails the following services to all: Water, education, security, transport and communication, freedom of voting, right to join any organization and medical care. They, however, said that they still face the challenges related to food security, shelter, information, electricity, paid jobs and loneliness for elderly.

Testimonies

Before open discussions, some testimonies were shared by caregivers, people with disabilities, historically marginalized people, etc. Below are some quotes from what they said:

“I thank the organizers of this dialogue who gave me the opportunity to discover my achievements when I lived with my mother-in-law. I am happy that I’m able to share this best practice and I urge the community to increase care to older persons”

Caregiver

“I became blind when I was 36, but now as I speak, I am older, HIV+ and disabled. Thanks to the organization of PWDs living with HIV, I’m confident that I have a role to play in the community, not just begging. I am independent. We don’t need pity, instead we need facilitation”

Older woman with disability and HIV+

As it is not easy to satisfy all the SDGs at the same time, the top 5 SDGs priority goals were identified:

  • Goal 1: Eradicate poverty in all its forms everywhere.
  • Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
  • Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
  • Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
  • Goal 5: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. After the LNB national dialogue, NSINDAGIZA was one of the 3 selected national organizations among the 30 around the world, and invited to share the best practices in London.

Recommendations:

At the end of the national dialogue, the participants formulated the following recommendations:

  • Integrate social inclusion in all the programs developed by both the Government and civil society organizations
  • Emphasize on changing the attitudes and behaviors of ensuring the wellbeing of all to ensure leave no one behind.
  • Through empowerment ensuring that water and sanitation is accessible to 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 in 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 efforts for effective advocacy.
  • Accelerate the National Policy on the rights and welfare of older persons.
  • Translate the SDGs into Kinyarwanda and disseminate them to a larger population.
  • Train and teach the categories of the most vulnerable about their rights.
  • The participants agreed that such dialogues should be organized as frequent as possible in order to share all innovative ideas.

II. Participation to the international dialogue on the precarious and vulnerability of elderly people, Douala, October 2016

The Chairperson of NSINDAGIZA attended the 3 day international colloquium on the precarious and vulnerability of the elderly people held in Douala-Cameroon, on October 2016. This has been an opportunity for our delegate to share with the participants from all over the world, the best practices from Rwanda where elderly people are culturally valued and most of the Government’s programs target older people, such as Mutuelle de sante, VIUP, ubudehe, inkunga y’ingoboka, etc. He was even given the opportunity to speak on national TV and radio as the shared practices were appreciated and should be shared with the wider population.

As the result, NSINDAGIZA in partnership with the International Federation of the Associations of Older Persons, is organizing an international colloquium in July 2018, where the international, regional and national actors on aging will be gathered and discuss on the improvement of the lives of older people.

The main objective of the colloquium is to join efforts for the increased advocacy for the rights and welfare of older persons at national, regional and international level and the theme for the colloquium is “The Role of the family and community on the quality welfare of older persons”.

I. ORGANIZATION OF THE LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND NATIONAL DIALOGUE

Figure 3: Celebration of the IDOP, Nyarugenge and Huye districts, October 2016

One of the key activities of NSINDAGIZA is to organize the international day of older persons (IDOP). On October 1, 2016, NSINDAGIZA worked with the MINALOC to organize the event specifically in the City of Kigali and Huye district and co-facilitated a radio talk with the MINALOC. We appreciate the response of the Government on the advocacy of older persons, to organize the celebration of this day at community level in order to facilitate the participation of older persons and to increase community awareness on the rights and welfare of older persons.

Different methodologies were used, including consciousness-raising which was highly useful as older persons were able to express their feelings and share their experiences openly to their group members, and others were able to give their feedback and solutions were proposed. Surprisingly from what they shared, the family is the most unsafe place for older persons. The following are some of the quotes:

“I felt the threat of ageism when, after having studied at old age, I have been going around seeking for a job but I was told all the time that my age could not allow me to get the job. I started that exercise when I was 50 years old and now I’m 55. They don’t question my competencies, I have all they want but the only barrier is age”.

Older man, Remera Sector

“My granddaughter lives in my house; she decided to become a sex worker and she doesn’t even use condom. She always bring men in my house, gives birth to children that she leaves with me and doesn’t even provide the means to raise them. Sometime back, she took all the documents related to my property and I tried to explain my problem to the local authorities but there was no help from them. All these because I am an older person and she wants me today and leave her freedom to my property”.

Older woman, Remera Sector

Role-play was also used through which older persons shared the challenges of mistreatment by their family members. Though most of them were not comfortable to share but they expressed their feelings of being treated badly by their own families and at workplaces, show how there is no specific measures to their category.

Poems, songs and home visits were also used by older campaigners to express what they feel and visit those who are not able to participate in the campaign. These methods have been effective because older persons were able to express themselves using poems, song and they were able to support others based on what they saw during home visits to those who were not able to attend these events.

Another thing that was effective is the mass media such as radio as it is the most popular way to spread the message to the wider population.

Group discussions on ageing

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 the 6 have bank accounts and have initiated savings system and they support each other so that no one is frustrated because of the inequality. Depending on their convenience, some groups meet monthly others meet weekly and across all the groups’ gender is respected. These groups serve as a platform of experience and feeling-sharing and allowing group members to know and support each other in case of bad or good events.

IV. Organization of the health campaign, April 2017

Figure 4: Health campaign on depression, Nyarugenge April 2017

“SOCIAL INCLUSION, RESPONSE TO DEPRESSION”

In Rwanda, more than twenty years after genocide against Tutsi in 1994, the survivors and other people who lost or were separated from their family members, reaching the old age, they are isolated, jobless, poor, weaker, hopeless and neglected. The study conducted in January and February of 2011 in Kigali, revealed that 15.5% of Rwandan population was depressed and no specific actions were taken to face this challenge, especially among older persons. In addition, advancing age is often accompanied by loss of social support systems due to the death of a spouse or siblings, retirement, or relocation of residence. Because of changes in an elderly person's circumstances and the fact that elderly people are expected to slow down, doctors and family may miss the signs of depression.

As a result, effective treatment often gets delayed, forcing many elderly people unnecessarily struggle with depression. NSINDAGIZA organization promoting the rights and welfare of older persons, in collaboration with health centers, the Saint Vincent of Paul Society, All-Ages Innovation and the Rwandan association of older people, organized the health campaign around the World health day celebrated on April 7 each year. This year, the focus was put on the role of Social inclusion in the fight against depression, and it was organized from April 1-6, 2017. Two objectives of the campaign are summarized in awareness raising for the community and advocacy towards the decision makers for the increase of access to treatments at the primary healthcare level and age friendly health care for older people.

At the end of the campaign, older persons had understood that depression is a treatable disease at hospital and some of them testified that they already have the signs of depression and decided to consult the hospitals for medical treatment. Unfortunately they clearly said that it is unfortunate that one of the major cause of depression is the bad treatment by family members.

“94 years old, lost both parents at young age, removed from school by the adopter, late to have children after marriage, lost my husband and 4 of my children during genocide, rejected by the rest of my children and grandchildren when I reached old age and became disabled. Alone I felt depressed and had always feared that bad people will come to kill me and remove the prosthesis put in my leg. I lived in that situation until I was brought in this home where I feel safer with other people of my age, receiving care from the “Friends of the poor” sisters, but I always think of my family members who rejected me, refused to come to see me when they were called by the home leadership, and I guess that they will probably come to burry my body”.

Older woman with disability in Nzove elderly home.

I. ORGANIZATION OF THE LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND NATIONAL DIALOGUE

Figure 5: World elderly abuse awareness day, Huye June 2017

“BEFORE BEING AN ELDERLY PERSON, I AM A HUMAN BEING”. Elie M/NSINDAGIZA

“Like childhood and disability, the concept of old age is a socially constructed phenomenon— in other words, it is not simply a biological process, but something that is given particular meaning depending upon its social and historical context”.

(Gergen 2001)

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 elderly persons 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.

NSINDAGIZA Organization, having a mission to promote the rights and welfare of elderly people, in collaboration with other local stakeholders working with older persons, organizes every year the community awareness campaigns on the rights of older persons. For this year the focus was put on the “The increase of awareness on the rights of older women to non-discrimination, equality and freedom from violence, abuse and neglect”.

During the awareness campaigns, workshops were organized in Huye, Nyarugenge and Gasabo districts, where older campaigners together with young people met to discuss on the issue of violence, abuse and neglect against older persons. In all the sites, workshops were attended by older persons, youth as well as local authorities. In Huye, NSINDAGIZA club operating in the University of Rwanda (UR), in collaboration with the elderly support groups and Saint Vincent of Paul Society, organized two workshops and the elderly support groups organized workshops in different areas in Remera and Kigali sectors.

Apart from the workshops, the leaders of NSINDAGIZA arranged advocacy meetings with different officials in MINALOC and MIGEPROF, and organized radio talks and other mass media were used to spread widely the message.

VI. Formation of the NSINDAGIZA youth club in Huye and Kigali

Figure 6: Training of the volunteers in UR-Huye Campus, May 2017

As one of the strategies of NSINDAGIZA to promote the rights and welfare of older persons is to build a bridge between older and younger generations, this year 2016-2017, we formed two youth clubs; one in the University of Rwanda, Huye campus another one in Remera Sector-Gasabo District. These clubs elected their committees who received training for better understand the concept of ageing and encourage them to be involved in the promotion of the rights and welfare of older persons.

In Huye, the participants courageously agreed to 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:

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

Through the 6 elderly support groups (ESG) more than 100 older persons were supported in acquiring medical insurance, food and sanitary materials. We continuously organized trainings for the ESG committees on rights, health and economic initiatives. For the reporting period, the focus was put on the practical approach of the trainings where the committees, on their turn, cascaded the training to the group members and discussed the possible small projects such as livestock in Huye, soap factory in Gasabo, savings in Nyarugenge, etc.

Internation day of older persons in Huye district

UN THEME

“Stepping into the Future: Tapping the Talents, Contributions and Participation of Older Persons in Society”

Rwandan theme

“Duteganyirize ejo hazaza duteza imbere ukuzigama”

International day of older persons in Huye district, October 2017

INTRODUCTION

Globally, October 1st of every year, is an international day of older persons. This day was initiated by the United Nations (UN) in December, 1990. It was the 27th anniversary celebrated this year. It helps many countries to recognize the role and the rights of older persons.
In Rwanda, it was celebrated on 8th, October in Nyamasheke district at national level and in all villages/imidugudu countrywide. Huye district, in collaboration with Nsindagiza organization which promotes the rights of older persons and their welfare, the international day of older persons was celebrated in Ngoma sector.
It was a great day full of happiness of the participants, particularly the elderly who came from different sectors of Huye district.

OPENING REMARKS

In his welcome remarks Mr.KABALISA Arsene, Executive Secretary of Ngoma sector opened the day by welcoming the participants. He appreciated the elderly who tried their best to come even if they have difficulties related to ageing. He also congratulated the youth for their contribution and reminded them to assist and be near the elderly and comply with the theme of the day.

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

“WE ARE OUT OF LONELINESS”

Madam MUKARURINDA Zaïnabu, representative of NSINDAGIZA elderly support group in Ngoma Sector, on behalf of the elderly, explained their life before coming together in the group. With great happiness, she said that being in the group as older persons helped them meet and hold discussions on the different issues in their lives. This helped them to overcome the effects of loneliness among the elderly who have no families. She added that now they feel valued in the community, although they face different challenges of ageing such as dysfunctionality of the body, illnesses related to old age and other difficulties.

Complying with Rwandan theme “Duteganyirize ejo hazaza duteza imbere ukuzigama” focuses on preparing the future by saving, the members put together some money according to their capabilities and opened a saving account in microfinance SACCO (Saving and Credit Cooperative). The money they contributed helps them solve the problems of the members in their daily life.

In addition, this ESG, through their contribution and in collaboration with NSIDAGIZA organization, they were able to provide a little livestock to 7 group members (7 goats). They also decided that the first born of these goats will be given to other members selected by the group to improve their welfare and help them be productive.

Finally, she concluded by calling upon all the kind-hearted people starting by the families, to consider their roles and responsibilities towards the care of the elderly and assist them in their life journey and to respect their rights, including the right of participation in the different aspects of life.

MUKARURINDA Zaïnabu, president of NSINDAGIZA elderly support group, Ngoma sector

BUILDING THE INTERGENERATIONAL BRIDGE

On behalf of NSINDAGIZA organization, Mr. MULINDA Felicien, the president of NSINDAGIZA in Huye district, focused on the challenges met by the elderly in their daily life and how they are treated in the society. He explained that NSINDAGIZA approach to combat loneliness, isolation and stigma, helped them by creating elderly support groups where they meet to discuss different issues related to ageing and together, find solutions themselves and share their concerns with the young generation where needed. He explained that the objectives of the organization are to promote the rights of old people and improve their welfare in collaboration with other community members.

He said that in Huye district, the elderly groups are in four sectors (Ngoma, Mukura, sovu and Gishamvu). He called upon government authorities, civil society and private sector to work together to improve the lives of the elderly in Huye and in the country as a whole. He explained that most of their challenges are related to poor health services, social protection such as direct support, and they are not given the opportunity to participate in the political and economic decisions. He suggested that the district puts in its planning the creation of NSINDAGIZA elderly groups in all villages/imidugudu of Huye district and to provide means for their sustainability.

He added that NSINDAGIZA Organization is not only for older persons but also the youth, as this is the right time to prepare for their elderly hood (Akabando k’iminsi gacibwa kare kakabikwa kure). NSINDAGIZA serves as an intergenerational bridge between the elderly and younger generation.

Mr. MULINDA Felicien, The President of NSINDAGIZA Organization in Huye district

SAVING FOR THE FUTURE

In the speech of the guest of honor, Madam NIWEMUGENI Christine, social affairs of Huye district on behalf of the district, she appreciated the participants and NSINDAGIZA organization for its role and contribution in improving the lives of old people. She came again at the Nsindagiza groups from different sectors by appreciating their initiative of coming together. She called upon the young ladies and men to join the group for the purpose of helping each other. ‘Saving for the future’ Christine told the participants to save for the future and old age. She added that saving will help them in their old age not be the burden for the families.

Madam Christine NIWEMUGENI, The Vice Mayor Social Affairs, Huye district

In her closing remarks, the Vice Mayor, on behalf of Huye district, supported NSINDAGIZA elderly support group with One million Rwandan Francs (1,000,000 Frw) for their self-reliance and guaranteed the full support from the district leadership in the advocacy and awareness raising for the rights and welfare of the elderly. She concluded by telling the elderly that the front row is theirs and their ideas and advices are precious and needed in the society and she called upon the families and young people to support them in their daily lives.

The day was closed with a cultural dance by the elderly and showing to the public that regardless of the difficulties of ageing, they can entertain.

NSINDAGIZA ESG members, Ngoma Sector
NSINDAGIZA ESG, Mukura sector.