The European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity Between Generations was highlighted with a series of activities during Europe Week in Tanzania.
Organised in May by the European Union Delegation to Tanzania, the programme of activities included a workshop targeting different media outlets with the aim of equipping them with the skills and knowledge to promote active ageing and intergenerational solidarity.
Held in collaboration with the local office of HelpAge International, the workshop’s objectives were similar to one held in Brussels targeting European journalists earlier in the year. The outcome was a set of concrete commitments from the Tanzanian media to actively challenge negative stereotyping of ageing and society’s deep rooted beliefs that discriminate against older people.
At a press conference in Dar Es Salaam to launch the Europe Week’s activities, Ambassador Filiberto Ceriani Sebregondi, Head of the EU Delegation to Tanzania, said: “Population ageing is a global phenomenon that is occurring fastest in low and middle-income countries. While ageing presents challenges to society, it also creates many opportunities. Solidarity among generations is key to overcome socio-economic and global challenges, such as the sustainability of social security systems, or the preservation of the natural resources".
Older people play a key role in Tanzania’s economic and social development. 73 per cent of older people remain economically active with most engaged in small scale agriculture. However, 96 per cent of them do not have a secure income and live in poverty. Further challenges facing older people include discrimination, marginalisation and a lack of participation and representation in local government structures.
”In our African traditions older people are regarded as custodians of traditions and values and it is each and everyone’s responsibility to uphold and safe guard the positive traditions that sustained society ensuring generations of young and old live in harmony and mutual care and support”, said Amleset Tewodros, Country Director of HelpAge International.
In the spirit of the European Year’s theme of healthy and active ageing, older people also participated in the EU Delegation’s annual Cycle Caravan. Senior Tanzanian government officials spoke alongside older people at the event, which also provided an opportunity to distribute a range of awareness-raising materials.