MANEPO through HelpAge International sourced some funds from the Irish Aid funded project known as the AFFORD to use it in response to COVID19 pandemic. The response targeted 400 older men and women in 8 Older Person’s Association in Blantyre namely; Ntenje, Kachere, Makhetha, Area 10, Chemusa, Manje, Mbayani and Chirimba. The overall objective of the response was to identify, reach and support older men and women in the fight against the Corona Virus pandemic by providing them with soap and buckets for according to WHO older people have elevated risk to COVID-19 illness due to their reduced immunity, chronic illnesses that come with age and other underlying factors like care and access to basic needs like soap. In view of this, an inclusive response was done to provide older men and women in the target district with soap and buckets while ensuring an intensive awareness on COVID-19 prevention. The community nurse was core in the dispatching of the preventative measures of the Corona Virus disease during the door to door identification, verification and distribution exercise.
Goat pass-on is a project under the income security thematic area. It is a livelihood enhancement through livestock dispersal programme being implemented in Lilongwe and Balaka districts. It is a strategy in order to improve goat production, and increase household income, from goat sales by providing targeted older persons’ vulnerable households with hybrid goats. The projects outcomes include; to improve living conditions of vulnerable older persons’ headed households and to reduce malnutrition among older men and women in the targeted areas. Pass-on is a concept where smallholder livestock farmers receive livestock and sign an agreement to pay the loan in kind by passing on the same number or more of livestock to fellow beneficiaries within the community. The idea behind the goat pass-on strategy is that in each circle, several members would be given initial inputs and as they start generating returns, they would pass these offspring on to other circle members so that after a set period, the whole targeted older men and women would have benefited from this scheme.
Easy Gardens is a one-year project which is aimed at improving older person’s lives. All activities under the project are being conducted by the projects’ implementation team which comprises of the community leaders, MANEPO staff, beneficiaries and other partners. Inclusion of the beneficiaries and community leaders in the team makes them understand that they are equally 100% accountable for the project’s success. It also provides a chance to access if they are really going to maintain the gardens even after the project phases out. The villages where the project is being implemented have encouraged to make specific action plans/commitments towards sustaining the project, ensuring that activities continue beyond the life-cycle of the project. An implementation committee has been established to help in sustainability of the project.
Commemorated on 28th June 2019, the theme this year was “Access to Justice: Legal, Social and Economic Services for Older Victims of Sexual, Physical and Financial Crimes”. On the occasion of the day, older persons had a solidarity walk to raise awareness on the violence, particularly sexual violence perpetrated against older women and men, physical attacks stemming from accusations of witchcraft and other deep-rooted cultural bias, discrimination and greed which often remain shrouded in the global discourse on Elder Abuse. Other activities included; traditional dances, drama, poems and speeches from older persons who have been victims of different forms of abuse and a press conference. .
The Malawi Network of Older Persons’ Organizations (MANEPO) with funding from the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) through HelpAge International is implementing a 2 years project in Mangochi and Zomba districts. The project is designed to contribute to the redress built on lessons drawn from the implementation of SADC fund-Round II by HelpAge International. Thus, despite efforts being made by governments and other stakeholders to achieve the UNAIDS 90:90:90 targets and ending HIV epidemic by 2030, a few challenges remain, one being that iIn the 3 SADC countries (Malawi, Tanzania and Mozambique) many 50+ population living with HIV (approximately 62%) are living lonely lives . Tthe effects of ageing and HIV are complex and impacting on overall quality of life. Although depression is the most common condition for many people living with HIV regardless of age, for 50+ population living with HIV, depression is 39% higher . Furthermore, people living with HIV who have depression are less likely to adhere optimally to ART
Project Objective: To support community-based institutions and health systems to deliver SRH services, access to health ageing, integrated screening, management, treatment and adherence support for 50+ population with comorbidity of HIV and non-communicable diseases (NCDs)
Approach: The project is built on lessons drawn from the implementation of SADC fund-Round II; and employ tested methodologies on; Intergenerational approach to SRH, health and community systems strengthening, Mobilization and Empowerment, Promotion of Healthy Ageing, Enforcement of Rights Based approach, improving accountability and building strong evidence base for learning, disseminating and advocating for responsive policies and laws
In 1990 the UN officially made 1st October as the international day of older persons. This was made to highlight the importance of older persons and appreciate their contributions to the society. However it is observed every year. MANEPO also celebrates with the elderly every year.
This year the minister of Gender, community development and social welfare, Patricia Kaliati was part of the celebration which took place at group village head Phata, traditional authority Chadza, in Lilongwe. She was able to visit some elderly persons and she gave them food items.
During the commemoration the minister talked about how older persons are ignored by their family or start getting abused and discriminated because of their old age. This results to them meeting challenges in terms of their health, income which affects their living standards. She mentioned that the government will be putting an old pension bill and shall consider programs to take care of the elderly.
The Country director Andrew Kavala, said it is sad how most older persons live in poverty. However there is a need for the government to make older Men and women their priority and include them in the national budget for them to have a sustainable means for their livelihood.