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Age Demands Action: Older people's activism produces positive change

28 Nov 2012

ADA activists in EthiopiaFollowing on from our biggest Age Demands Action yet on 1 October, policy pledges are already translating into positive change for older people across the world.

Progress on pensions and social assistance

In Ethiopia, the pension payment scheme has been decentralised to neighbourhood level as a result of the Ethiopian Elderly and National Association's meeting with the Social Security Agency, making pension collection easily accessible for older people.

Developments are also now taking place to implement a non-contributory pension for people 70 and over. The draft strategy for this pension has now been submitted to the House of Parliament.

And in Ghana, a social pension pilot for older people who are not on any pension scheme has been announced for 2013.

HelpAge Sri Lanka have achieved huge success in getting the eligibility age for older people receiving the enhanced Rs.1000 Public Assistance Monthly Allowance lowered from 80 to 70. This change has already been implemented for the poorest aged 70 and over as of October and is now benefitting 200,000 extra older people.

Protecting older people's rights

As a result of HelpAge International Mozambique's ADA action over the last two years, a specific law on older people's rights is currently under consideration by the Prime Minister and Minister of Women and Social Welfare.

Following ADA 1 October activities in Lithuania, the Law on Plenary Guardianship of Disabled Older People has been changed to ensure older people are not stripped of their legal capacities.

And in Vietnam, the Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs has appointed the Vietnam Association of Elders to draft the proposal for the Government to replicate the community older people's association model in the Vietnam National Action Programme on Ageing.

Local change makes a difference

Brass band procession in Ghana on 1 OctoberFollowing our Affiliate in South Africa, MUSA's ADA activities on 1 October, a Senior Citizens' Desk in Ward 38 district has been launched to address older people's concerns.

In Kyrgyzstan, pledges have been made by local authorities in Naryn district to assist older people with fuel for heating. They have also pledged to provide age-friendly social spaces at the community level, such as tea houses in Talas district.

Three local partners in Russia have successfully improved medical access for older people. Two further partners secured improved public transport services and ADA activists in Ukraine have also succeeded in restoring a bus route essential to older people in Zhitomir district.

Accessible healthcare to the most vulnerable

To mark the UN International Day of Older Persons on 1 October, the Ministry of Health in Moldova approved a list of essential medicines to be made affordable for all older people a community level.

In the Gaza strip, the health insurance law for older people has also been modified to ensure free health insurance for those unable to pay for it.

Furthermore in Belize, following a meeting with the Minister of Health, the Age-Friendly Health Clinic Model established by HelpAge International Belize is now to be implemented on a widespread basis within the next two months.

Change for the better

The changes resulting from Age Demands Action on 1 October over the last two months are already starting to have a significant impact on the lives of older people around the world. More have access to healthcare, social pensions and legal avenues through which to claim their rights than ever before!    

Find out more on how 62 countries took part in our biggest Age Demands Action ever this year on our interactive ADA map!

Your comments

Dennis Purvis

I'm surprised that no mention was made of the plight of over one half million British pensioners worldwide, who are systematically stripped of any annual increases in their pensions, based solely on the country in which they choose to spend their retirement years.

HelpAge International

Hi Dennis, Thanks very much for your comment, you make a valid point. Unfortunately, HelpAge only work with older people in developing countries. We're an international NGO, so do not do any with older people in the UK. So matters about British pensioners, I would refer you to our sister organisation Age UK, who deals specifically with such issues. Many thanks.


One thing that took my thinking too deep is what can Old People give to the world. Physically this may not but logistically they can save us and the world. They have experience and knowledge which are part of wisdom...Then we need that and them at this point. Before some time ago, I had the intention to contact HelpAge about its campaign in Morocco which hopefully I get now here? When I looked at the ADA map; I noticed its absence in Arab World, North America and Australia. Myself alone, I ever want to do and act in this direction but I do not still know how or what to do. Anyway I would like the org to act now for the old in Morocco.

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Author profile

Natasha Horsfield
Country: United Kingdom
Job title: Campaigns assistant

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