In a world where populations are rapidly ageing, the well-being of older persons has become a crucial concern. Rights of older persons are violated and their needs neglected. They are lonely, sick and abused.

To address the issues affecting older persons and violation of their rights, the Ethel Foundation for the aged (EFA) with funding from Misean Cara is creating awareness and sensitizing local communities, government officials, community gatekeepers, private sector actors, and development agencies, to increase their understanding of the rights, needs and plight of older persons. Additionally, this initiative seeks to engage the various stakeholders in isolating context specific issues affecting older persons and coming up with solutions. The initiative will also lobby service providers for priority or express consideration of older persons seeking services in both the private and public sector such as in grocery stores, banks, hospitals, private, and government offices. This will see older persons exempted from queuing for services and be accorded assistance and expedited services.

Recently, EFA conducted a community sensitization event in Nukuru County with a diverse range of actors. The meeting brought together a diverse stakeholders including county level national government officials, community leaders, caregivers, as well as religious and community leaders.

A section of gatekeepers during a sensitization meeting in Kinungi, Naivasha su-bcounty, Nakuru County

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In the ensuing discussions, elder abuse, lack of income, limited access to health care, and ageism, emerged as the main challenges that older persons in Nakuru County face. These issues are exacerbated by neglect and inadequate social support systems. Participants observed that older persons also bear the burden of child care. It was noted that younger people leave their children with the older persons and depart for towns and marriages.

“In my jurisdiction, a young woman abandoned her child at her older father’s house and took off after disagreeing with her husband. The widower found a crate that he turned into a baby coat”. Assistant Chief

The informative meeting was not short of suggestions on possible solutions to the challenges that older persons experience. Establishment of community-based elder abuse prevention programs and rescue homes was considered a crucial response to elder abuse. To promote economic empowerment the team suggested skills training and microfinance initiatives. Actors also committed to advocate with service providers to ensure priority services for older persons. Other measures recommended included the tailored education and literacy programs for older adults. Public education was considered an important means of addressing superstitions around witchcraft. The participants underscored the importance of collective action and community support in improving the quality of life for older persons.

The EFA will continue to engage and collaborate with all actors in the population ageing space including the community and religious formations, to advance the rights and wellbeing of older persons. We will continue to empower older persons, the community and duty bearers to ensure that there is universal understanding and response to older persons issues. We will document and mine evidence to inform our population ageing responses as we create an inclusive and supportive environment where older persons can age with dignity and respect.


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