By Navdha Malhotra
On 4 October, campaigners from across Europe and Kenya are marching to the European Parliament to urge the EU to make its development policy age-friendly, as part of Age Demands Action in Europe. The event will be chaired by Thijs Berman, MEP and Coordinator for the Socialists and Democrats Group on the Development Committee.
Older people remain invisible in development policies
Between now and 2050, the number of older people aged 60 or over will triple to two billion. Around the world, half the word’s population of older people lack a secure income and fewer than one in five people receive a pension. Yet, older people remain invisible in development policies.
Through ADA in Europe, a growing army of campaigners, younger and older, are raising their voices in support for older people in developing countries. Over the last three years, they have been exchanging messages with activists from developing countries, building an intergenerational movement of support for older people’s rights.
Through video messages, some of our campaigners in Kenya have connected with older people in European countries such as the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Ireland. They have been learning about each other’s lives and sharing their thoughts on why protecting the rights of older people is so important to them.
Make EU aid age-friendly
Mama Rhoda, 74, one of the activists from Kenya will meet officials at the EU, and give a speech about her experience as an older campaigner. She will talk about her life in Nairobi, her thoughts on building relationships with campaigners in other continents and what she thinks the EU should do to support older people in developing countries.
Mama Rhoda runs her own kiosk and is also a preacher. She said: “I was wondering how on earth they came to select me? I started talking to people in church to ask if they had ever been to Brussels. One of the ladies told me that part of the world is very cold! So, when I went to the market, I started looking for warm second-hand clothes which I can use when I come to Brussels.
“A great learning experience for me”
“It is going to be a great learning experience for me. I am going to see how European Commission handles issues of older people and whether it is any different from our government here. I have this feeling that things will be very different from Kenya.
“When I come back to Kenya, I will stand in the streets of Nairobi and tell everyone what I saw and what I heard about older people. I am so grateful to ADA for giving older people a chance such as this one.”
A younger campaigner from the Czech Republic and an older campaigner from Slovenia will also be present. They will discuss their learnings about the lives of older people in developing countries through the video messages and talk about their experience as campaigners.
Sign our petition urging the EU to include older people in development policies and programmes.