Accountability to older
women and men
Magda Rossmann
Accountability Officer
mrossmann@helpage.org
World Vision Accountabil...
The world is ageing fast…
• There are more adults over 60
than children under 5
• By 2030, there will be more
people over ...
Gaps and challenges
Are we accountable to older women and
men?
“Nowadays there is no more respect for old people in the co...
Gaps and challenges
Contrary to common beliefs, older people are not
always cared for by their family and community.
Patte...
Gaps and challenges
In principle, older people may be recognised as a
vulnerable group. In practice, however:
• Data about...
Gaps and challenges
Programmes are
not tailored to
meet older
people’s specific
needs
Gaps and challenges
They are minimally
consulted in the
planning and
execution of
programmes and
humanitarian
operations
“...
Gaps and challenges
Their capacity to
be active
participants in
recovery and
response is
ignored
"I need cash to support m...
Accountability to older people –
key actions
Participation
• Data disaggregated by age and sex
• Inclusion of older people in needs
assessments
• Older People Associat...
Information sharing
Communicating with Older People
• Gender and age matter
• Religious and traditional beliefs
• Language...
Communicating with older
people: 10 tips
1. Ensure peaceful environment and good
acoustics
2. Speak clearly but not too lo...
Communicating with older
people: 10 tips
6. Examples work better
7. Repeat your message
8. Speak the local language
9. Ens...
Complaints mechanisms
• OPAs and OCMs
• Kenya intergenerational helpdesks
Kenya help desks
Intergenerational community help
desks were established as a
mechanism to enhance accountability
to the c...
Protection Policy
• For children and vulnerable adults
Vulnerable adults are those aged 18 years or
more who either:
• ide...
Thank you!
Questions?
Comments?
Group work
• Examples of current practice /
involvement of older people
• Key challenges
• Opportunities
Presentation accountability to older women and men
Presentation accountability to older women and men
Presentation accountability to older women and men
Presentation accountability to older women and men
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  • Source: Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, World Population Prospects

    Growing ‘target group’– but not a homogenous group!


  • In the next decade we can expect one billion older people worldwide and this number will double by 2050
  • - number of older people will double in Asia and Africa and South America,
    - almost 80% of the world’s older people will live in developing countries.
  • Older people not a homogenous group – not always frail and in need of help, but also active participants of economic and social life
  • Older people – faced with discrimination, their needs and capacities often misunderstood or not thought about; on the other hand 
    Accountability does not just mean marking older people as a vulnerable group but rather actively involving them in our programmes to understand their differing needs and capacities
  • Source: Sex and age matters

    The challenges of shelter construction can be exacerbated by age, too. Older people experience greater mobility challenges than younger people, restricting their capacity to flee insecurity, settle in temporary shelters or return to their places of origin when distant travel is required. A study conducted by HelpAge International in Uganda found that when the Government ordered the disbanding of the IDP camps not all persons were able to return home. For those who did not return home, they were labelled as “extremely vulnerable populations” and were able to receive some assistance from WFP and partner organizations. HelpAge’s research found that 80% of these “extremely vulnerable populations” were people over 60 years of age.
    Furthermore, HelpAge International identified a problem that affected single, older women. These women cited the main reasons for not returning to their villages of origin as the lack of shelter and a concern over their physical capacity to return. A group of older women without family members to support them told researchers that they wanted to return home but they had no one to help them, and they lacked the strength or the skills to build shelters.
  • Examples:
    If the registration of beneficiaries for food distributions does not include a systematic outreach process, older people may easily be excluded, as other, more mobile and vocal population groups are registered
    Temporary or rebuilt shelter made available by aid organisations (also latrines and sanitation facilities) may be inaccessible for mobility-impaired people
    When healthcare is accessed, it generally focusses almost exclusively on communicable diseases, for which older people are at increased risk. However, non-communicable, chronic diseases which are the main concern for older people, are rarely taken into account.
  • Older people may be unable to eat food rations provided because they have few teeth, cannot digest the food, have not eaten a particular food, etc. – crucial to consult before distribution
    Older people are rarely included in nutritional surveys and rarely screened for malnutrition
    The cultural acceptability of clothing supplied in an emergency is likely to be a particular issue for older women, who may find it impossible to abandon traditional forms of dress
    Systematic outreach!
  • Exclusion from rehabilitation and livelihoods projects: Older people are excluded, often systematically, from rehabilitation programmes such as the distribution of seeds and tools, cash and food for work, micro-credit, cash transfers and skills training. Even when older people organise their own projects they find it difficult to source funds or other inputs.
    Inability to earn a living: Producing an income can be exceedingly difficult in crisis situations, and few countries affected by humanitarian crises have old age pension schemes
  • Participation needs to start with inclusion!
    Needs and capacities of a woman in her 60s will be different to those of one in her 80s – to see them important to collect data 50-59; 60-69; 70-79; 80-89; 90-99; 100+ and not just 60+
    Needs assessment and participatory activities might need require outreach due to restricted mobility of some of the older people
    Creating ‘age friendly’ spaces, facilitating organisation of community groups (play a big role in accountability both of our agencies – by providing feedback, but also can serve as social accountability mechanisms during and after recovery)

  • Intro: Being able to communicate sensitively and effectively with older people is vital to ensuring that their entitlements, needs, contributions and concerns are documented and addressed.
    As with communicating with other especially vulnerable groups such as children, the best interests of the older person should be respected at all times and in all circumstances.

    Gender and age: Staff must be careful that gender, including both the gender of interviewer and of the translator, is taken into consideration.
    Likewise, the age of both interviewers and translators can be a barrier to speaking with older men and women. Older people can perceive the use of a younger interviewer or translator as a mark of disrespect by implementing partners, UN agencies or local government.

    Beliefs: Where young children often use fantasy and imagination to express their feelings about different and often sensitive issues, older people may refer to religious, spiritual or traditional systems of belief, taboo, and cleansing. These alternative perspectives and explanations need to be received with respect. For many older people, perceptions of (supernatural) threats are as valid to their decision making as what many outsiders would consider to be reality.

  • When speaking with older people, either alone or in a group, ensure that the environment is peaceful. Limit background noise, such as traffic, the mosque, radio or television or shouting children
    It is more effective to speak clearly and slowly rather than very loud. Also, make sure that people can see you speaking
    Older women tend to be silent when men are around – also mind your age and gender get info from the guide!
    Many older people tend to lose focus when the meeting takes longer. Morning time is best to meet, as people’s minds are still fresh
    Some older people have difficulties moving from one subject to another and get easily confused when more than one topic is discussed at the same time. Clearly indicate when you are moving to a new topic
  • 6. The ability of some older people to think in abstract terms is reduced. When explaining a new concept or idea, try to work with examples and stories / case studies
    7. One aspect of ageing is that the capacity of the short-term memory is diminished. This is why older people tend to have more difficulties with processing new information then younger people. It is therefore very important to repeat your message to older people. It may be necessary to meet several times with older people to get your message internalised.
    8. When they are addressed in their native language, they are more apprehensive and are more likely to retain the information that is being conveyed
    9. Illiteracy amongst older people, especially older women can be high. Ensure that people who are unable to read or write can also follow the discussion or take part in the training. Use pictures to get your message across
  • Older people are represented in each of these committees and bring on board a wealth of historical knowledge and experience from previous disasters. This has been valuable in the process of shock identification, hazard analysis and traditional early warning mechanisms
    Community awareness was done through the Help Desk as a feedback mechanism in relation to the project but also as a community structure to channel grievances to strengthen community cohesion; In all the 9 sub-locations the helpdesk committee members have been co-opted into the council of elders under the Governments administration structure as a result of the role they have been playing in relation to grievance mechanism. A key role of this council of elders is to arbitrate on disputes between and among community members. In Nakwamoru sub-location, the 4 members of the helpdesk committee were part of a team identified by the local authorities and the community to represent and participated in a peace meeting between the Pokot and Turkana communities. The structure is also being used by other organizations operating in these areas in their programs due to the training on grievance mechanism. Then will continue and are being integrated into other projects.
  • Presentation accountability to older women and men

    1. 1. Accountability to older women and men Magda Rossmann Accountability Officer mrossmann@helpage.org World Vision Accountability to Communities Workshop 17th – 20th September 2013, Geneva
    2. 2. The world is ageing fast… • There are more adults over 60 than children under 5 • By 2030, there will be more people over 60 than under 10
    3. 3. Gaps and challenges Are we accountable to older women and men? “Nowadays there is no more respect for old people in the community. Back in the old days in Somalia the young used to bring milk and meet the old people. This was the form of respect given to them. Those values are lost in this place. I even have to go and beg for my firewood.” Ajabo Ahmed, around 70 years old, Dadaab camp, Kenya (2011)
    4. 4. Gaps and challenges Contrary to common beliefs, older people are not always cared for by their family and community. Patterns of discrimination may actually be accentuated in the drive for survival in humanitarian crises. When excluded by their own communities and families, older people may become isolated and be unaware that humanitarian assistance is available
    5. 5. Gaps and challenges In principle, older people may be recognised as a vulnerable group. In practice, however: • Data about them is often not collected
    6. 6. Gaps and challenges Programmes are not tailored to meet older people’s specific needs
    7. 7. Gaps and challenges They are minimally consulted in the planning and execution of programmes and humanitarian operations “Most people who left Jada went to Chad but me and my sister were too old to walk there, and my legs get very sore, so we came to this camp instead.” Halima, age unknown, Darfur (2004)
    8. 8. Gaps and challenges Their capacity to be active participants in recovery and response is ignored "I need cash to support my recovery. I would be able to rebuild my home and to help my sons to invest in a business so they can support themselves and the family.” Myriam, 69 years old, Badin, Pakistan (2011)
    9. 9. Accountability to older people – key actions
    10. 10. Participation • Data disaggregated by age and sex • Inclusion of older people in needs assessments • Older People Associations and Older Citizens Monitoring Groups
    11. 11. Information sharing Communicating with Older People • Gender and age matter • Religious and traditional beliefs • Language • Respect
    12. 12. Communicating with older people: 10 tips 1. Ensure peaceful environment and good acoustics 2. Speak clearly but not too loud: it is a common misunderstanding that shouting makes people hear you better 3. When needed, hold separate group discussions with older women and older men 4. Group meetings not longer that 1,5 hours 5. One topic at the time
    13. 13. Communicating with older people: 10 tips 6. Examples work better 7. Repeat your message 8. Speak the local language 9. Ensure people can understand you 10. Be respectful!
    14. 14. Complaints mechanisms • OPAs and OCMs • Kenya intergenerational helpdesks
    15. 15. Kenya help desks Intergenerational community help desks were established as a mechanism to enhance accountability to the community. The help desk committee members received training on accountability and documentation as well as awareness on HIV and AIDS.
    16. 16. Protection Policy • For children and vulnerable adults Vulnerable adults are those aged 18 years or more who either: • identify themselves as unable to take care of themselves or protect themselves from harm or exploitation. or • due to their gender, old age or frailty, mental health problems, learning or physical disabilities as well as disasters and conflicts, and are unable or unwilling as a result to identify themselves as vulnerable or subject to abuse, but are deemed at risk
    17. 17. Thank you! Questions? Comments?
    18. 18. Group work • Examples of current practice / involvement of older people • Key challenges • Opportunities
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