Empowering older people in Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania

The AFFORD programme: Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania

Empowering older people in Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania

Enabling older people to change their futures.

Being financially secure helps us to live with dignity as we get older, contributing to our families and our communities. And helps us to stay healthy – to eat well and get medical care. While pensions in many countries are growing, in most low-income countries only about 20% of older people have one. Those who are not part of a pension scheme are often pushed further into poverty.

We’re working to change this. Through funding from Irish Aid, the Irish Government’s Overseas Development programme, we have created the AFFORD programme which is supporting older people to lead secure and healthy lives in EthiopiaMalawiMozambique and Tanzania.
Accountability and Fulfilment for Older People to Raise their Dignity (AFFORD) Programme ensures that:
  •   Governments put systems in place that protect sustainable incomes for older people.
  •   National social and health policies are responsive to older people’s rights and needs.
  •   Attitudes to older people – from individuals, communities and society – are more positive.
  •   Civil Societies organisations promote the voices of older people, and support them to get their entitlements.

Stronger together

We’re delivering AFFORD by working with older people’s associations (OPA’s). Innovative community organisations run by older people, for older people. This means that, with a little support, they are able to make a big difference.
One of the ways we support OPA’s is by ensuring they know what services are available to older people, and how to use them. OPA’s then raise awareness among their members and can support them to access services such as state pension schemes and healthcare.
The technical assistance we provide to the government ensures that older women’s specific needs are integral to how services are delivered.
Job training and livelihood grants enable older people to earn money to support themselves and their families. And community workshops, build awareness about the contribution older people make in society.
A lot has happened since AFFORD began in 2017. More than 68 new OPA’s have been set-up. And, the advocacy training we provide (with data and evidence) is enabling OPA’s to engage with local authorities and national governments and help drive big changes.
  • Ethiopia and Malawi have signed-up to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights of Older People.
  • In Mozambique, the Basic National Social Strategy (2016-24) now includes pensions.
  • In Tanzania, the Zanzibar Universal Pensions Scheme came into law in 2020.


We work with the Ethiopian Elderly and Pensioners National Association (EEPNA) to deliver the AFFORD programme in Ethiopia. Created by a visionary group of older men and women, EEPNA is a national network of more than 800 grassroots associations working for more than 6.8 million older people.
Across the country they are working with our national partners to strengthen OPA’s, lobby for older people’s rights and support them to get the services they need.
“Many older people think less of themselves. HelpAge taught us that we can work and bring change, that we should not give up, and demand our rights.”
Bekelech Mosisa, 68 lives in Addis Ababa with her son and grandchildren. She attended AFFORD training on how to support herself and to claim her rights. As board secretary of EEPNA, she is now passionate about demanding change from the government and helping others do the same.


We’ve teamed up with the Malawi Network of Older Persons Organization (MANEPO) to deliver AFFORD in Malawi.

MANEPO, an umbrella of more than 60 civil society organisations, are working with older men and women to challenge discrimination and overcome poverty.
“I am happy that as older people we are now being recognized in our communities and if it wasn’t for MANEPO educating us on these rights I wouldn’t have been able to buy solar panels.”
Petors Yakobe lives with his wife and two grandchildren in Balaka district. He struggled to get paid work until MANEPO trained the community about older people’s rights. Now the Chief employs older people for development projects.
Petors was hired to construct drainage, meaning he was able to buy solar panels. His home now has electricity and his family can charge their phones and listen to the radio.


In three provinces, we’re empowering older people to claim their rights, from how to get financial support to obtaining free medical care. We also provide assistance during times of crisis, such as COVID-19 and the devastation of Cyclone Idai.

We’re working in collaboration with the Anglican church in Maputo, Xai Xai. ACIDEC in Manhica, and the Association for the Protection of the Elderly of Tete (APITE) in Tete province.
“I’m sure there are still elderly people who are unaware of their rights, but with the little I learned… I feel strong to teach other colleagues of my age, not to be marginalized”.


The AFFORD programme in Tanzania is supporting older people to improve their heath, financial situation and living conditions. We’re working in partnership with Kilio cha Waathirika na Waathiriwa wa UKIMWI Tanzania (KIWWAUTA) in the Mbeya region and with JUWAZA in Zanzibar.

“I have learnt a lot about identifying with older people and their rights. The JUWAZA training sessions made us aware of how we should address our rights with the Government.”

Mtenje Jirani Mtenje, 48, went to JUWAZA training where he learned about the invaluable contribution that older people make to society.

Explore stories of older people who have changed their lives with AFFORD.

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