ADA highlights from 2014
It's the beginning of another year, but before looking ahead to 2015, I want to reflect on our Age Demands Action campaign achievements in 2014.
Last year was a big year: 100,000 people signed the ADA global petition, and 150,000 campaigners took direct action throughout key campaign days.
I also want to share my own personal highlights which have inspired me in my work as an advocate for older people.
ADA global petition handover
One of the key highlights in 2014 was the global ADA petition handover in August.
The petition in support of a UN convention for the rights of older people contained 287,638 signatures and was handed over to the Chair of the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing at the United Nations in New York by campaigner Kenneth Hemley.
The petition handover was one of my personal highlights as I was able to spend time with Kenneth, an inspiring and dedicated campaigner from Jamaica. Kenneth also spoke in the meeting attended by 105 member states.
Another highlight was the creation of our ADA Steering Group. The group is made up of older ADA activists who will inform the direction of HelpAge's campaign work.
The first online steering group meeting was held in November and it gave members the opportunity to meet other campaigners from around the world.
Here in the London office we don't often get to meet campaigners, so it was incredible to hear about their experiences, and the individual and shared challenges they face. I was impressed by their spirit and dedication to making positive changes in their own and other older people's lives.
16 campaign successes in 2014
Last year, our campaign partners reported 16 successes. Most of these were with policies that campaigners had been advocating for over a number of years. Campaigners told us that it takes time to see changes they are hoping for and that it's important to keep striving for them.
A great success story came from our campaign partner in Indonesia, Yayasan Emong Lansia (YEL). YEL has been campaigning for long-term care to be adopted in the National Strategy Plan - and in 2014 they achieved their goal!
Eva from YEL told us that every year they form a campaign team, consisting of members from different organisations, and by doing this are able to meet ministers and policy makers directly.
It's exciting to hear about campaign wins and the policies that will improve the lives of older people, but for me, it is even better to hear how older people have contributed to the process. This is why I love campaigning!
This year is going to be an even bigger year for campaigning. The ADA campaign will continue to push for a convention on the rights of older people, and will strive for older people's voices to continue to be heard.
We will also be joining an exciting new campaign, action/2015, which is being launched on 15 January. And as ever we will be calling on you to get involved in whichever way you can.
Happy New Year.