Age Demands Action in Ethiopia: Building a national movement and always striving for more!
1 October has been the major international campaign day for Age Demands Action (ADA) in Ethiopia since its conception in 2007. Our ADA delegation here has made a lot of progress since we started working to raise awareness of older people's issues, with the past year being very busy and successful.
Indeed, many ministerial bureaus have opened their doors to us. These include among many others, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MoLSA), which is the lead ministry on older people's issues. It's good to see that they are making efforts to include older people in their decisions, which is surely an indication of brighter times ahead for our movement.
Celebrating International Day of Older Persons
On 1 October to celebrate the UN International Day of Older Persons, MoLSA and the Ethiopian Elderly and Pensioners National Association (EEPNA), who is a HelpAge Affiliate, hosted a celebration. HelpAge supported the planning and coordination of the event which was attended by over 300 top government officials, NGO leaders, older people and people in the media.
Our Age Demands Action group was also there to help register the participants. The delegation made placards with positive messages on ageing and older people's demands on them. We then marched into the event hall from outside holding the messages up in the air. 100 older men and women from different older people's associations were part of the march and all wore ADA T-shirts.
Older people voiced their needs and demands
MoLSA presented a slideshow on issues affecting older people with recommendations, followed by a lively discussion. Many older people participated, voicing their needs and addressing comments directly to government representatives. Age was demanding action indeed!
Concluding the event, MoLSA pledged to work harder to give more attention to older people's issues. Finally, the State Minister of MoLSA, Ramedan Ashenafi, the president of EEPNA and HelpAge's country director also delivered speeches. MoLSA provided gifts to 11 new older people's associations, motivating them to continue their work for and with older people. We have to appreciate and encourage upcoming organisations dedicated to supporting vulnerable older people.
This event was truly a success. However, next year the delegation hopes to expand our work to the regions outside the capital and build a national movement. We are happy with this year's actions and achievement. However, we will strive for more next year!