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New Year's Revolution

07 Jan 2011

It's that time of year again

No sooner than the last chime of Big Ben heralding the beginning of 2011 has faded among the sharp, crackle, crack of fireworks exploding in the night sky, happy revellers look to the New Year as a time of hope and change.

How often have you made New Year's resolutions only to break them hours, days or weeks later? I know this often happens to me!

I start off with many good intentions and plans for making sometimes small, sometimes big changes in my life which are then rapidly eclipsed by the demands of the "every day". This year I have resolved to think a bit differently.

New Year's revolution

What if we created New Year's Revolution instead? I don't mean the cataclysmic, political-overthrowing kind (as humanitarians subscribe to neutrality and impartiality) but "a dramatic and wide-reaching change in conditions, attitudes or operation", according to one of the definitions in the Oxford English Dictionary.

Changes for 2011

In 2011, I'd like to see a dramatic change in:

  • The living conditions of older people and their families worldwide, especially during humanitarian crisis situations. At the height of an emergency it is important that older people have access to safe and accessible shelter, appropriate food and nutrition, clothes, hygiene items and medicines as well as access to the means to support their dependents.
  • The attitudes of humanitarian actors, including government and donor agencies towards older people in emergencies. They need to recognise that older people have a right to life-saving emergency assistance, ensuring their specific needs are met. Older people should have an opportunity to be supported in the many ways they contribute to overall emergency response and recovery.
  • HelpAge’s operations as we plan to grow to meet the needs of more older people in natural disasters and complex political emergencies and build the capacity of our network. We are already on this journey and have achieved so much in 2010. However, it is important that we continue to strive for excellence in all we do and learn from and share best practice with each other and external colleagues. At the same time we also we also need to press on with integrating disaster risk reduction into our programmes.

You won't fool us

If I can persuade you to do one thing, then please support our emergencies work with older people worldwide.

Then we can say to those who might need more persuading, in the words of T. Rex "No, you won't fool children of the revolution...."

Read more about HelpAge's work with older people in emergencies

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Author profile

Sarah Packwood
Country: England
Job title: Emergency Programme Coordinator

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