CONSULTATIVE WORKSHOP ON THE OEWG10 focus areas, Kigali on January 12, 2019

Since September 2018, NSINDAGIZA Organization, promoting the rights of older people in Rwanda, has been implementing, in partnership with the GAROP and HelpAge International, a project called “Global Fight Against Ageism”, funded by the Swedish Postcode Foundation. The project is implemented in 10 countries of Africa and Asia, with the aim to strengthen the capacity of older people and for the civil society organization to advocate for the establishment of the UN convention on the rights of older people and the national policies on the rights of older people.

The first training of older activists was conducted in Kigali from November 26th to 29th 2018 and the participants thereafter conducted a survey with the objective to collect information on older people in order to understand the focus areas of the UN OEWG10 to be held in New York from April 15th to 18th 2019 where one of the older activists from Rwanda will participate.

Objective of the meeting

To raise awareness of older people on the OEWG on ageing, and collect their views on the focus areas of the UN OEWG10


In order to deepen the survey conducted to 147 individual older people from different districts, NSINDAGIZA organized, in collaboration with other older people’s platform “URUMURI RW’IZABUKURU”, two one-day consultative meetings in Kigali on January 12, 2019 and in Huye on January 20, 2019 with 67 older people (34F and 33M), and the 4 Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) were conducted on the four topics respectively Autonomy and Independence, Long-term and palliative care, social protection and Education, training, long-term learning and capacity building. Participating in the meeting were also the representatives of the Rwanda Association of older people (ARPA), Rwanda Association on pensioners (ARR), The St Vincent of Paul Society (SSVP) and different NSINDAGIZA elderly support groups.

After the presentations by the experts, focus groups were formed, to discuss on the presented topics and come up with the findings to share in the plenary sessions.


  1. Palliative care
  • The Government of Rwanda and non-governmental organizations to include in their programs educating and giving ability to the elderly, so as to help them reduce their pain so that they may be able to age gracefully.
  • The Government to ensure that all older people, without discrimination, have access to affordable, available and holistic palliative care services, including access to controlled medicines for pain relief in settings which meet their needs, will and preferences, including at home and in residential facilities.
  • The Government to ensure adequate and appropriate training of health personnel in palliative care.
  • The Government to ensure regulation of all palliative care providers and monitoring of their compliance with professional obligations and standards.


  1. Autonomy and Independence
  • The Government to ensure that older persons are recognized before the law on an equal basis with others and are able to make their own decisions in all aspects of their lives and lead autonomous and independent lives in line with their will and preferences.
  • The Government to ensure older persons have access to support services, including support to make decisions and exercise their legal capacity, and services to support independent living and inclusions in the community.
  • The Government to ensure the full, effective and meaningful participation of older persons in family, social, cultural, economic, public and political life and educational and training activities. Violence, abuse and neglect

Key highlights from the commemoration of the International day of older people 2018 in Rwanda

NSINDAGIZA Organization is committed to promote the rights and welfare of older people, through advocacy and community awareness campaigns, targeting older people’s families, community members, civil society and Government officials. This year’s global theme was “Recognizing older campaigners”, in Rwanda it was “Self-reliance for everyone: Foundation for ageing with dignity”. We applaud the effort made by the Government of Rwanda to make successful this year’s IDOP at all levels. Below are key highlights from the International Day of Older Persons:

  • The IDOP 2018 was commemorated countrywide and the high level officials mobilized by the Ministry of Local Government and Social Protection. Awareness was increased at district level with a strong involvement of older people, two meetings set up prior to the IDOP, with relevant officials to discuss the national elderly policy.
  • Tripartite meeting that brought together Government institutions (MINALOC, MINIJUST, MINAFFET, REAF, RSSB…), civil society and the National commission for Human Rights. Older people were given the opportunity to share their feelings and views on what the Universal Declaration of Human Rights means for them and NSINDAGIZA shared the outcomes from the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing and encouraged the Government of Rwanda and the National Commission for Human Rights to join others in advocating for the UN Convention on the rights of older people. The meeting served as a platform for older people to share their views.
  • Other actors organized IDOP 2018 related events including Humanity and Inclusion (former Handicap International) in Mahama refugee camp, in collaboration with Caritas Rwanda, Rwanda Red Cross and Save the Children. Presbyterian Church in some parishes, and individuals organized home visits and support to the elderly in their community.
  • Strong partnership with the National Commission of Human Rights during the organization and implementation of the IDOP 2018
  • Strong media engagement, where older people were called to talk on different radio stations about the ageing issues and older people were requested to advise the community on how to sustain cultural values. Different radios and magazines were interested to talk about ageing issues and the community was given the opportunity to share their concerns.

Recommendations from the workshop on long-term care, palliative care, autonomy and independence, may 24, 2018

NSINDAGIZA Organization, considering the integration of the elderly in the implementation of the SDGs, organized on May 24, 2018 a high level workshop on long-term care, palliative care, autonomy and independence for older persons. The workshop was organized in collaboration with the Rwanda Bio-medical center, National Commission of Human Rights, with the support of MINALOC and HelpAge International, and different actors in palliative care, human rights institutes, Government and Civil Society attended the workshop and the MINALOC addressed the opening remarks. After the presentation made by NSINDAGIZA Organization, RBC, SDGC/Africa and the National Commission of Human Rights, the participants agreed on the following recommendations:

1. The Government of Rwanda and non-governmental organizations, to include in their programs to educate and give ability to the elderly, so as to help them reduce their pain and that they may be able to age gracefully.
2. RBC/MoH ought to raise community awareness on the existing palliative care to the people and put in consideration the elderly in particular.
3. The Government and non-governmental organizations should conduct the researches on the livelihood of the elderly, so as to promote the rights and welfare of older men and women and create awareness based on evidences.
4. The Ministry of Health to fast-track the in-service training and awareness for health professionals on how to take care of the elderly
5. The Ministry of Health to train specialists in gerontology and geriatric and establish geriatric services in all public hospitals and clinics
6. The Government of Rwanda to comply with the international and regional instruments/measures/mechanisms related to the rights of older persons and plan to attend annual meeting of the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWG) that should be attended by the Government, the National Commission of Human Rights and the elderly representatives
7. The Government of Rwanda to fast-track signing and ratification of the African charter on the rights of the elderly (2016), putting in action the Madrid Plan of Action on ageing (2002) and to submit the due reports concerning the above.
8. The MINALOC to speed up the national elderly policy, and advocate for the mainstreaming ageing among all the sectoral policies, such as MoH, MIDIMAR, MINAGRI, MIGEPROF, SDGs implementation…
9. Civil Society and Private Sector to put into consideration the elderly in all their programs.
10. Put in place policies that will enable the older men and women of the society to take decisions on their own and be able to participate in programs to build the family and the country as a whole
11. The Government of Rwanda and civil society to increase community awareness on the violence against the older men and women and to celebrate the World Elder Abuse Day, every June 15th
12. Non-governmental organizations to work hand in hand with the Government in the celebration of the International Day of Older Persons, October 1st.
13. Put in place policies to make known the Law of the responsibilities of children towards their parents and the consequences of failing to do so.

Kigali, May 24, 2018


Ageing Demands: Older persons claim specific care, activists on policy gap, Government finds no gap

“I am tired now, you have made me talk for long and it is good for me but I am tired. I like having someone attending to me for a talk as I usually spend entire day alone.”

Retired Pastor Naasson Hitimana.

Activists advocate for particular policies

Well over 10 years through Age Demand Action (ADA), rights activists have advocated for international convention on the rights of older persons, participation of older persons in governments’ decisions that affect them and having choice about their lives in their respective families.

There is still a lack of international convention and local policies about the rights and welfare of older persons.We are urging the Government of Rwanda to set up particular platforms through which older persons can channel their concerns as children, youth, women and people with disabilities have theirs.

Most of older persons suffer serious depression and stigma resulting from isolation and creating space for them to participate in the country and family’s life would be the best solution as well as developing effective social protection schemes for older persons.

Madeleine Nirere, the Chairperson of National Commission for Human Rights, Told that after the recent outreach in which the commission learnt about lack of proper protection of older persons, the commission recommends government to develop a policy on eldercare and support existing charitable centres for older persons.

She added that considering the frailty of older persons, they deserve special care, saying that Rwanda should ratify and implement obligations in international and regional instruments on older persons’ rights and protection.

Ms Nirere stressed that older persons’ close and extended family members, neighbours, close government entities and Rwandan society at large should take responsibility of eldercare.

Minister of State in charge of Social Affairs and Social Protection at the Ministry of Local Government,Dr Alvera Mukabaramba,Told that government does its best to support all vulnerable people and older persons constitute the majority of beneficiaries of social protection schemes such as cash transfer under Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme (VUP) and Community-Based Health Insurance (Mutuelle de Santé).

“Not all elderly persons need support. Some are receiving their pension while others have children or other family members supporting them. We are working on a comprehensive social protection policy considering together all categories of the disadvantaged as the current policy will expire in 2018,”Dr Alvera Mukabaramba said.

Dr Mukabaramba urged young people to save for their old age, saying that every working Rwandan, not only monthly salary earners but also informal sector actors including those on government support schemes, has to save for pension as a sustainable solution for ageing demands.

“Government seeks to strengthen pension scheme and poor people who will join the scheme will receive government’s incentives according to law which is now in Parliament. Meanwhile, children should not forsake their old parents and government will intervene where necessary,” Dr Alvera Mukabaramba said.