Commonwealth Project

Malawi Network of Older Persons’ Organizations (MANEPO) is implementing a project that seeks to contribute to a society that is accountable to the rights of older men and women in Malawi. In the period under review took a two thronged approach: focusing on older men and women from Older Persons’ Associations (OPAs), on one hand, and key actors on Older Persons’ Bill on the other. For older men and women, the interventions aimed at increasing awareness of their rights and strengthening OPAs for effective engagement of duty bearers in order to champion the demand of rights and entitlements for the elderly. On the other hand, engagements with key actors on older persons’ issues aimed at improving coordination for the efforts to create an enabling environment for fulfilment, respect and protection of the rights of the elderly. In order to improve awareness on rights of the elderly as well as relevant policy and legislation, MANEPO conducted trainings of older men and women in OPA management, rights of older men and women as well as grassroot advocacy. To further strengthen the OPA structures, MANEPO held other trainings, one on OPA documentation and reporting and another on Older Citizens Monitoring approach which promotes use of evidence as a basis for advocacy. To improve grassroot advocacy, MANEPO conducted OPA support visits, OPA review sessions where OPA leaders shared lessons and best practices. These visits were used to deliberate on how OPAs can identify basic issues for advocacy and take action at grassroot level. In a bid to increase engagement and coordination among key actors on Older Persons’ bill and policy implementation, MANEPO engaged different stakeholder at different levels on key issues affecting older persons including the need for enactment of older persons’ law. Firstly, MANEPO facilitated establishment of a National Taskforce on Elderly Issues in Malawi. This taskforce will be responsible for championing advocacy on elderly issues in Malawi, including pushing for the enactment of the Older Persons Bill. Secondly, MANEPO held a meeting with the topmost leadership of Malawi Law Society which sought to identify ways in which the Society can help push for the agenda of the rights of the elderly. The officials acknowledged that there is indeed a big gap on efforts around the need and rights of older persons in Malawi. By the end of the year, a draft MoU was completed, and a signing ceremony will follow and later a meeting with a larger group representing subcommittees of the society will be held. To further support the engagement with various stakeholders on the need for speedy passing of the bill, MANEPO undertook development of a policy paper in collaboration with a consultant from Institute for Policy Research. The title of the policy paper is “Challenges Older People are Facing in Malawi: A Call to Urgent Action”. The paper established that, In Malawi, older people are silently suffering from violence, abuse and neglect. The paper finds the legal, policy, social and economic environment hardly supportive for the fulfilment and enjoyment of the human rights for older people. With the slow progress in enactment of Older Persons Law, implementation of the National Policy for Older Persons remains a challenge. As such, speedy enactment of the law on older persons is a priority recommendation. Moving forward, MANEPO will, in year 3, use the paper to engage relevant government agencies for realization of the recommendations.

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