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.

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