September Wisdom Talk Highlights Cameroon-based Organization

The Global Aging Network welcomed speakers Jack York, founder of It’s Never Too Late (iN2L), and Francis Njuakom Nchii, founder of CDTVA Cameroon, on Sept. 27 for the Wisdom Talk monthly series. CDTVA is an organization in Cameroon that promotes home care for elders at the grassroots level. Nchii is also involved with the Eldercare Cameroon Collaboration, which is a joint venture between WD International Consulting, iN2L, and CDVTA. The collaboration provides opportunities for donors to contribute to CDTVA as a village partner, adopt a specific activity, or to support the educational advancement of administrative staff, field staff, volunteers, and elder club leaders.

York began the Wisdom Talk by discussing how he met Nchii at a conference during the 2015 Global Ageing Network (formerly IAHSA)-ACSA Conference in Perth, Australia. Nchii asked for funding from the West at the conference and York was moved by Nchii’s speech. York provided Nchii with a $500 donation to help elders in Cameroon. This sparked the beginning of a fruitful connection between Nchii and York. A few months later, they traveled around the U.S. to fundraise together. All donors had the special experience of having a goat named after them.

Nchii noted that funding for elders in Africa is scarce and the government does not provide any support for seniors. Life in Africa for elders depends on the mercy of chance, and many elders who live in remote communities have become accustomed to the poverty in their lives. 85% of older adults have never been to school, and 95% of women are illiterate.

The intergenerational approach has been beneficial in connecting elders and children. Younger people typically leave the city in search of jobs. But by promoting the relationship between elders and children, grandparents can instill values in children and teach them skills. The burden of care often falls onto grandparents in Africa because many parents suffer from HIV, resources must be put in place to support both elders and grandchildren. Grandchildren who rely on elders for care often don’t have an opportunity for equal education.

Community health volunteers are also another effective approach to caring for elders in Africa. The volunteers live in the community and they don’t receive salaries. They carry out home visits in the homes of older adults – they chat with elders and help them with any tasks. The volunteers show the government that they are proud of their elders. They hope to promote respect for elders in their communities. The community health volunteers paid for buses for older adults so they could travel to the capital and meet with the Prime Minister and Parliament to discuss their concerns. 

We look forward to hearing more stories and ideas from this great international partnership in the future.

For more information about the Global Ageing Network “Wisdom Talk” series and to watch the live recording on Facebook, please visit: