Age Demands Action six months on: Discussions become reality in Kyrgyzstan
In 2010, HelpAge began a project on reducing poverty in multigenerational households affected by migration.
We are implementing this project with our local partners Mehr Shavkat and Federation of Self Help Groups.
Discussing the challenges faced by older people
As part of the Age Demands Action (ADA) campaign in Kyrgyzstan for 2010, we held discussions about the issues faced by older carers and children left behind in three areas of Kyrgyzstan: Kara Suu in Osh province, Ton in Issyk Kul province and Kemin in Chui province.
Those who took part were introduced to the ADA campaign. They discussed the impact of migration on older carers and children left behind to local authorities. Older People Groups' leaders also talked about the challenges older people face, such as living without the support of their children, isolation, lack of physical care and increased responsibility for grandchildren.
Our achievements so far
Six months on from this, we have achieved a lot! Some of the highlights include:
- Older people from remote areas learned about ADA campaign. It was great as they felt like they were part of a bigger world where older people want to be heard.
- Those who took part in the discussions (leaders of local government bodies, the public and communities of the target areas) learned about the issues older carers' and children left behind face and started thinking about the assistance and support society could offer them.
- A plan to follow up on providing support to vulnerable multigenerational households was drafted. It was also agreed that the plan would be presented to local government, including local leaders and the heads of the local departments of health, social protection and education.
- We are committed to raising awareness of the issues older carers face through local newspapers
Informing older people is crucial
Awareness of MIPAA, the global action plan on ageing, is very low in Kyrgyzstan. For me as the HelpAge Project Manager, it was important to have participants informed about ADA and get them educated in MIPAA goals and objectives.
It was surprising news for all participants that Kyrgyzstan has also committed to include ageing in its social policies.
Another important point is the participants in the discussion recognised that older people have the potential and willingness to participate actively in social development.
Success at a local level
Some leaders of Older People's Groups also conducted ADA meetings in their related villages, with great success.
In Eshperovo, the Older People's Group demanded that older people be included into their development plans. As a result, village administration provided them with a space they can use as a Resource Center. They also got the village administration to participate in an event which celebrates older people in the community. As a result, the village administration presented the older people with gifts.
In Bokonbaevo, the Older People's Group demanded that village administration repair an older woman's house from the community.