GAROP members in all regions are busy marking International Day of Older Persons (IDOP) 2019 in a variety of ways this week. This year’s official IDOP theme is the ‘Journey to age equality’. The sub-themes include lifelong learning, decent work, and social protection. These are all focus areas of rights currently being examined by the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing.

Today we celebrate the many older activists in our global coalition who advocate tirelessly for the human rights of older people and lead campaigns for their rights. Bertha Kijo, an activist from Tanzania, attended the 10th session of the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing in New York and delivered a statement there about education, lifelong learning and capacity-building, which included her own personal experiences of studying in later life. When Bertha shared her experiences and learning from the UN session with a group of older people in her local community, they were inspired to start a literacy class and managed to acquire the resources they needed to make this happen. Following the success and popularity of this class, more learning centres are now being planned. Bertha says ‘To be able to share my experience with other older people is a benefit to others and myself. Autonomy and independence can be stimulated and  meaningful if older people are educated and aware of their rights’.

As our global movement continues to grow, GAROP is also excited to announce that with support from the Swedish Postcode Foundation, we will hold the first ever GAROP regional meetings for our members. The first will take place in the African region on 16th-17th October in Kampala, Uganda with the support of the Uganda Reach the Aged Association. The second will take place in the Asia Pacific region on 13th-14th November in Thiruvanathapuram, India with the support of the Centre for Gerontological Studies.  These two workshops will strengthen the capacity of members in those regions to undertake effective national advocacy and campaigning around older people’s rights and a new UN convention on the rights of older people. They will also enable our members and older activists to build strong coalitions at the national and regional levels and plan together for our successful engagement in the 11th UN Open-ended Working Group on Ageing session.