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Post-2015: Capturing the voices of the marginalised

21 Aug 2012

Our previous blog on post-2015 discussed the absence of global ageing from the Millennium Development Goals. The structure, goals and targets in the current framework simply doesn't allow for age-group disaggregation. The HelpAge Network must ensure that older people are not marginalised in the same manner within the post-2015 framework.

We therefore plan to make as much noise as possible in the post-2015 process, alongside other groups who face similar constraints. We want the world's older people to raise their voices and influence the following groups:

The voices of the marginalised Ensuring that older people's voices are taken into account.

To capture some of the voices that were marginalised by the MDGs, HelpAge is working with Sightsavers, Action on Disability in Development (ADD), Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI), Basic Needs, and the Secretariat of the African Decade for People with Disabilities on a research and policy project, which we simply call "Voices of the Marginalised".

The marginalised in this context are older people, people living with disabilities and people living with mental health issues. The project currently has two streams of work, which we carry out in close collaboration with the Institute of Development Studies and the Overseas Development Institute.

Participation and dialogue

One of the key critiques of the MDGs was the lack of inclusiveness and participation in their development. One of their architects has even said that they were basically written in "a proverbial windowless committee room".

Consultation for the new framework are being taken forward to avoid this critique, and it is recognised that those who have felt marginalised should be more at the centre this time round.

While we know there is an opportunity in principle, we also know we have to work hard to ensure that the previously invisible groups, receive much needed attention.

Ensuring representation and recognition Older people's participation should be central to the framework.

The Voices of the Marginalised project aims to do this by making sure that the findings and recommendations of the project are taken into account, and that they are grounded in the voices of older and disabled people and those with mental health issues. Participation and dialogue with some of the world's most marginalised people will be primary to the project.

We are working with the Participatory Research team at IDS to carry out research to find out about the needs, constraints and wishes for the future of these marginalised people. The pilot phase of the project will be carried out in Bangladesh in the first instance and will lead to a larger research programme in up to 10 countries.

The findings will be used to influence the UN High Level Panel and the various intergovernmental deliberations towards a successor to the MDGs.

Localising data gaps

With the ODI, we will carry out a study to explore how the existing survey methods help or hinder an understanding of the inequalities experienced by older and disabled people and those with mental health issues. The study will identify gaps on ageing, disability and mental health data and suggest a framework to improve data collection for international and local use.

The outcome of the study will include recommendations on how to address the disparities gaps and weaknesses in data in the three areas. They can be used to influence national enquiries such as the one that is forthcoming in the UK; the forthcoming UN led thematic consultation on inequalities and other relevant influencing opportunities.

What we want

The findings of both the participatory research and the data study will serve as key evidence in our continuous work to influence the post 2015 process towards a new rights based and age-inclusive framework. We want a post-2015 framework which:

  • Is accountable, rights-based and age-inclusive.
  •  Supports people throughout their lives and across social, economic and environmental issues.
  • Acknowledges and encourages the contributions of an active, secure and healthy ageing population.
  • Has goals, targets and indicators which are directly applicable to older people.

What you can do

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Author profile

Anders Hylander
Job title: Network Comms Officer

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These blogs are personal reflections and do not necessarily reflect the views of HelpAge International.