MANEPO calls for advancement of mechanisms to support elderly people


The Malawi Network of Older Persons’ Organizations (MANEPO) says there is a need for the country to put in place proper mechanisms that aims at advancing the welfare of elderly people in the country.

The Organization’s Technical Lead, Goodwell Thunga, said that it is worrisome that elderly people in the country are disadvantaged in many spheres of life, they continue facing segregation, verbal or physical abuse, and in some instances, they are labelled as perpetrators of witchcraft in their societies.

Thunga added that it is disheartening to learn that elderly people are considered a burden in their societies.

 ”We have had cases where elderly people are mistreated, neglected and denied the care and love they deserve for simply being old. It is therefore high time that as a country we should develop a mindset change towards the way we view old people but also importantly put in mechanisms that are taking into consideration of the needs of old people in our societies,’’ said Thunga.

Currently, MANEPO is implementing a project dubbed ‘’Accountability on Fulfillment for Older People to raise their Dignity’’ (AFFORD II) in Balaka and Blantyre districts, which aims at ensuring that the social protection mechanisms put in place are more inclusive and  designed to meet the needs of older people.

According to Thunga, elderly people are a key group, which needs to get dignity, and must be targeted with social protection interventions based on the deteriorating health conditions as well as the income security that is associated with old age in Malawi.

Meanwhile, MANEPO in partnership with the Foundation for Civic Education and Social Empowerment (FOCESE) has trained Balaka based journalists with the necessary skills on how they can objectively report cases of various forms of abuse faced by older people in the communities while advancing their human rights issues.

FOCESE communications and Advocacy Officer, Annette Nalikungwi, said the media is a very powerful tool in bringing to light gruesome issues affecting the older people in the communities, hence the need for the training.

She said: “The media has a bigger influence towards shaping people’s attitudes and beliefs towards generations of people to come.’’

One of the participants in the training, Florence Chilanga, a journalist working with Litala FM radio commended the organizations for the training which she said has provided her with necessary skills in as far as reporting on stories hampering on the older people is concerned.

AFFORD II is a multi-national project and is being implemented in Malawi, Tanzania, Mozambique and Ethiopia with financial support from Irish Aid through HelpAge international.

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