IFA Virtual Town Hall Chat Summary 9 October 2020
- Dave Omokaro Foundation
- Poem dedicated to Africa’s resilient older persons: “Broken Wings and Flight”
- The Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People
- IFA Virtual Town Hall – COVID-19 and Older People: Good Practices in Programmes and Policy Responses in Singapore that Respect the Rights of Older Persons
Friday 16 October 2020 at 7:00 am EDT (Toronto)
Dr. Emem Omokaro
Dr. Emem Omokaro is the Executive Director, Dave Omokaro Foundation (DOF), an organization in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC) and a global training partner of the International Institute on Ageing, United Nations Malta (INIA). She leads advocacy for ageing mainstreaming in national and regional development agendas and the development of capacities of policy and decision makers in government and private institutions, and persons leading services delivery to older persons in ageing, specifically in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa. She has served variously as a Visiting and also as LEADS Scholar with the National Universities Commission, as focal person, facilitating the development of Benchmark Statements and Minimum Academic Standards in PD.G, MSc, and PH.D studies in Gerontology and the training of academic staff in eleven Nigerian Universities. Appointed by African Union Commission in 2019, Emem is a member of African Expert Group for the review and revision of the 2002 African Union Policy Framework and Plan of Action on Ageing.
She is the Convener and Co-chair of the Stakeholder Group on Ageing Africa (SGA- Africa), a coalition of CSOs and multi-sector organizations and professional bodies representing the constituents of older persons at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UN ECA) African Regional Forum on Agendas 2030 and AU 2063. Through Dr. Omokaro’s innovative and proactive leadership, SGA Africa has inserted Africa’s perspective at the United Nations General Assembly Open-ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWGA), facilitated the African Regional Intersessional event, preparatory to 11th OEWGA in collaboration with African member states, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament with a forceful outcome document in support of the UN Convention on the Rights of Older persons. She is member, Editorial Board of INIA Journal of Ageing in Developing Countries and Special Editor, Section on Ageing in Africa. Dr. Omokaro holds a Ph.D. in Development Sociology and Post-Doctoral Certificate in Social Gerontology from the INIA. She is the founder and Executive Secretary of Dave Omokaro Africa Institute on Ageing and Development (DOFRIAD) nested with the University of Abuja.
Learnings from Africa
- World Health Organization press briefings give high praise to the the pandemic response in Africa.
- Some characteristics that contribute to the resilience of older people in Africa are: self-awareness, attention, access, sustaining a positive outlook
- The importance of the community can be seen in different cultures like those in developing countries and offers critical learnings on the use of social capital.
- Using social assets, working together within communities and forging partnerships are essential to building and maintaining resilience across the ageing population.
- How is COVID-19 affecting grandmothers caring for orphaned children, and could you please share any examples?
- In Cameroon for example, many youth are volunteering to provide care for older persons through community mobilization initiatives. What strategies may be utilized to overcome challenges such as high unemployment, financial burdens, and inequality, to continue to support such intergenerational community initiatives?
- COVID-19 has exposed systemic challenges including high levels of inequality, insecurity, poor medical infrastructure and lack of long-term policy planning, which are vital to social development that supports the ageing population.
- In Ireland, the Special Committee on COVID-19 Response has published a report with comments on the impact on residential facilities and recommendations for change.