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Ageing and the media in Democratic Republic of Congo

04 Dec 2013

One of the group exercises at the media workshop. (c) Mireine Bulonza/HelpAge InternationalIn my role as communications officer at HelpAge in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), I recently went to Beni to organise and take part in a two-day workshop with media professionals from radio, television and print journalism.

The aim was to identify opportunities to include media in our programmes in North Kivu province, as well as raise awareness of ageing and older people's issues in the media itself.

Emphasis on advocacy

We have put a lot of emphasis on advocacy in our programmes, with the older people we work with producing radio shows to raise awareness of their rights and livelihoods activities.

To continue our advocacy work, we brought together people working in a variety of media channels to:

  • give them a better understanding of older people's needs and abilitiies in emergencies,
  • build relationships and help newspaper publishers take older people's issues better into account,
  • come up with practical ways that the workshop participants can integrate ageing and older people into their work.

Throughout the two days, we looked at stories from older people's lives to explain the issues they face and the contributions they can make in certain areas, such as health, nutrition, food, violence and discrimination. We also talked about ageing statistics from around the world.

These exercises were very successful in putting the participants in the shoes of an older person and helped them feel compassion for them. Many people who took part decided there and then to help older people, especially those living in vulnerable situations.

Including older people in the media

At the end of the day, we came up with a plan of action which included:

  • working to ensure issues such as the protection of older people are included in the media,
  • giving older people more of a voice by reporting on their lives and including them in interviews,
  • creating a short programme on older people that could be shown every day on television at peak time to raise people's awareness of older people,
  • researching and publishing articles on specific themes, such as older people and care.

Find out more about our work in the Democratic Republic of Congo

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Author profile

Mireine Bulonza
Country: Democratic Republic of Congo
Job title: Communications Officer

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