Older people's associations, a key HelpAge International project, have been such a success in one Cambodian province that they are to be replicated and rolled out across the country.
The plan has the full support of H.E. Mut Khiev, the Secretary of State for Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY) who welcomed the expansion of older people's associations, during a two-day HelpAge workshop.
Nile Sprague/HelpAge International 2007
He said: "We [MoSVY] should increase the provincial departments' advocacy and support for older persons and continue technical and financial provision for the strengthening and replication of older people's associations throughout the country."
He also gave his assurance that the government will continue to work on better policies for Cambodia's older population.
So far, 60 associations have been formed and managed by local communities with the support of HelpAge Cambodia and local partners.
Vital services and support
The associations bring together older people in small communities and provide various services such as health training and home visits, opportunities for work, social activities and training in how to access benefits.
The workshop in Battambang was hosted by HelpAge International in July and brought together nearly 100 people from relevant development partners, including institutions that have already replicated the older people's association approach.
The event was supported by the MoSVY, the National Committee for Population and Development, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the European Commission.
Providing older people with dignity
H.E. Mut Khiev added: "In order to encourage the formation of new associations, all sectors should fully support the management of older people's associations with the aim of improving living conditions and welfare of older people by providing them with dignity, access to government resources and respect from the community."
Before the workshop began, HelpAge signed a two-year Memorandum of Understanding with the government.
The document, signed in the capital Phnom Penh, acknowledges the value in the partnership between the two bodies in order to provide full support to older people in Cambodia.
This is the fourth time MoSVY has signed such an agreement with HelpAge. The two have worked together for more than 14 years to support older people, particularly on social support, food security, livelihoods, healthcare, homecare for older people and formation of older people's associations in rural areas.
Watch this film to see how older people's associations benefit communities: