What has age got to do with it?
In the course of my doctoral research on older people in Africa here in the UK, I am constantly asked why I have chosen this less trodden path? Have I been divinely inspired in some way or is it personal?
People ask: "Why would a 'young' woman such as me decide to devote her life and resources to researching the living conditions of older people in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa?"
Or sometimes the question is: "Why not focus on something 'fashionable' such as child poverty, gender, health and nutrition?".
As I continue my research on Nigeria - a country where existing systems seem to hinder rather than help - I feel an increasingly strong responsibility to give a "voice" to the cries of vulnerable older people.
Evidence needed to change attitudes
In fact, a recent conversation on older people with an acquaintance (who embarrassingly happens to be Nigerian), has again reminded me of the reasons why I have chosen this path.
His words were: "Those that cannot provide for society should die".
His level of ignorance aside, I should thank him for unwittingly providing me with the strength to forge ahead against the odds.
As I further pondered on his alarming words, I believe that only when valid evidence is presented can there be a shift in attitude towards older people in Nigeria and other parts of the world.
I hope to help bring this change about through my work.