Located in Western Kenya, the Ageing Concern Foundation (ACF), strives to enrich livelihoods of vulnerable senior citizens (> 65 yrs) who are pillars from which communities tap wisdom and guidance. Founded in 2018, ACF focuses on strengthening the livelihoods and resilience of often neglected elders in Migori County. Currently, there are no organizations directly targeting, voicing, and solving challenges that engulf the senior citizens in Migori County, Kenya.
Driven by passion to offer practical and sustainable positive transformation, ACF is committed to taking actions that reenergize elders, let their voices be heard and remove negative society stigma, as evident in the stereotyped statements in native Luo Language such as – ‘Jaduong cha tho otamo’ this means – “The old man seems not to die.” ACF focuses on how to make lasting positive transformation and impact in their community, aiming to change such narratives. ACF follows the 4 key areas below as a guide toward assessing the needs of elders in their community:
- Immediate and Basic Needs
To achieve this, we have over the last year advocated for an active community that mobilizes resources for its own senior citizens. An important outcome of this program has seen the targeted beneficiaries’ access clean and warm beddings through ACF member contributions. We have also seen to it that beneficiaries of the government’s cash transfer are aware of the funds and not exploited by rogue care givers.
2. Harnessing Elder Knowledge
This has included the documentation of indigenous or traditional knowledge on some of the income generating practical options that elders could engage in old age to provide and sustain their needs. The information is intended to benefit those approaching retirement to continue being financially sound, an important outcome in reducing dependency syndrome associated with old age.
3. Community Exchange Programs
Inter-county programs will be initiated for elders in Migori County to encourage older adults participate in the program. This has been exciting with elders we have engaged, and resource permitting, we will expand this to intervention. Such programs are useful in promoting learning and experiences that reduce feeling of usefulness, loneliness, and isolation currently associated with the senior citizens of the county.
4. Marking International Days
This has so far included the International Day of Older Persons (UNIDOP) on 1 October, and the forth-coming World Elder Abuse Awareness Day which we are set to mark on the 15 June 2019. The international days are instrumental in creating awareness on some of the sufferings older adults experience as they age.
ACF looks forward to cover Migori County adequately and even expand to other needy counties in Kenya. ACF recognizes the importance of networking with member organizations to enrich our efforts and expand the scope and reach of Ageing Concern Foundation mission. ACF is eager to collaborate and join the Global Ageing Network (GAN).