Connecting local responses around the world
Since December 2011, The Constellation has worked in partnership with the World Health Organisation and Health Nest Uganda to transfer the Community Life Competence process. The aim of the partnership has been to strengthen the participation of older persons in local community responses. In April 2012, a group of new CLCP facilitators met together to measure their progress and document their experiences. These are their stories.
Organisations are communities too!
Going to scale with Community Life Competence in Uganda through transfer between organisations
Way back in Uganda’s past, older persons were traditionally cared for by relatives, friends and the kind donations of neighbours. The times have changed, though, and these people can no longer support the elderly owing to increasing caretaker poverty. This is leaving older persons more vulnerable, and causing them to lose hope in life. Older persons seem to have been abandoned, despite the challenges they face, including stress, poor health, loss of income and poor nutrition. This appalling situation has raised an alarm for Elders’ Concern Uganda (ECU) to wake up and do something.
In responding to this situation, ECU has shared its experience with Community Life Competence with other institutions working with communities, especially those focussing on older persons. These organisations have included the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD), Documentary Research and Training (DRT) and American Refugee Committee (ARC), all of whom have shown great interest in having more information on CLCP so as to apply it in their communities.
“What a great approach to apply in the community,” says an official from the MGLSD. “Is there any way we can also have some written reports to study, and apply it to other communities?”
An officer from DRT agrees: “Oh, what a good skill to introduce in our services. Could we please have some other time for you to teach us further about this process and how we could use it as an organisation?”
This really gives me courage and hope that, after gaining support, these organisations will join the process and there will be even greater change in our communities. Institution leaders still hold a responsibility to promote change amongst others, and show care. Transfer of knowledge and experience is possible, and necessary, between institutions in the same way that neighbour-to-neighbour transfer happens within the communities.
I am confident that, if the government organisations and other institutions spearhead CLCP, they will create a big impact in communities at the grassroots level, hence changing the lives of people living in vulnerability.