On 1 October, tens of thousands of campaigners in 62 countries took action to demand their rights and lobby their governments to make positive changes for older people. Age Demands Action, our global grassroots campaign, is the Power of We at its best!
Old and young working together
Older and young activists are working together to create a difference for older people on issues such as social protection and access to healthcare, as well as lobbying for a convention on older people’s rights and calling on the European Union to make EU development aid more age-friendly!
To mark the UN International Day of Older Persons on 1 October, activists from Haiti to Kenya to Indonesia took to the streets and met with decision makers in their country and communities to demand that older people’s rights be respected. In Latin America, more than 15,000 campaigners took action, with the demand for a convention on older people’s rights being heard in more than 43 cities and towns in the region.
Power of collective action
This year’s 1 October Age Demands Action campaign has already been successful in instigating change for older people at many levels. In Moldova, the Ministry of Health has doubled the list of cheap medicines which older people will have access to. And in Vietnam, older people’s contributions are being recognised through the government’s request for our Affiliate, the Vietnam Association of Elders, to draft a section of the National Action Programme on Ageing (2012 – 2020).
In Sri Lanka, older people’s activism has resulted in the Minister of Social Services reducing the eligibility age for the Older People’s Allowance from 80 to 70, a positive change which has already been implemented. This will directly benefit the lives of nearly 200,000 older people.
A force to be reckoned with!
Pakistan has also seen positive change at a local and national level. In South Punjab, district health officials have approved healthcare facility improvements for the creation of seven age-friendly hospitals. These changes have already been implemented in one hospital.
The Chief of Population and Social Planning has also agreed that statistics on older people will be included in the national Economic Survey of Pakistan. This will have the long-term positive impact of promoting older people’s inclusion in development policies by the government, donor agencies and NGOs.
Age Demands Action is all about older people coming together to decide which issues affect them and what they want to change. It shows that if enough people come together, starting from a local level, big change can happen on the national (and perhaps even international) stage.
Alone, our older campaigners are strong in themselves, but as a group and with “the Power of We”, they are truly are forced to be reckoned with!
Read more about Age Demands Action.
Find out more about Blog Action Day 2012 and “the Power of We”.