Each year, the IFA undertakes a number of interesting, innovative, and groundbreaking projects to further consolidate global knowledge on various topics related to ageing. This page provides a summary of the IFA’s current ongoing initiatives.
Action in Global Advocacy
Vision loss is no longer an inevitable part of the ageing process. Through innovations in diagnosis, biomedicine, nutrition, technology, and preventative care, people can now age with strong, healthy vision. The reality is that over 80% of global visual impairment is avoidable and the World Health Organization estimates that over 285 million people are visually impaired, of whom 39 million are blind. Globally, millions of older people will live their later years with severe visual impairment and blindness, often as a result of poor awareness, lack of preventative screening or services, and inaccessibility to adequate healthcare treatments and centers.
IFA is embarking into new territory. The Action in Global Advocacy (AGA) Project will respond to gaps in coalition building and mobilize effective and responsible advocacy campaigns globally towards the goal of addressing preventable vision impairment and blindness across ageing and vision organizations. Until now, no NGO has effectively and adequately formulated an initiative to link vision and ageing organizations together. There has yet to be a coherent strategy that unites research, policy, practice, and advocacy on vision and population ageing.
The project begins with six target countries: Brazil, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Turkey. Each with its own unique demographic outlook and with various caveats yet to be addressed. By building on the knowledge and experience within each target country, we hope to expand and make a significant impact globally.
Action in Global Advocacy aims to:
- Build a coalition: Bridging of vision and ageing organizations from the six target countries to help build strong advocacy campaigns addressing vision loss and impairment amongst older people and ageing populations.
- Become a resource repository: through the creation of the AGA Platform, a centralized hub for knowledge exchange and a repository of examples of effective advocacy strategies and campaigns; generating an advocacy tool box and an arena for open communication
- Be a monitoring body: Policies and programs vary on a national and regional level, highly impacting the development of flexible and impactful advocacy responses. AGA aims to be a liaison between organizations and governments and the go-to for the dissemination of policy updates. In addition, the development of an advocacy index to measure progress and performance, as without measures there is no progress.
Age Friendly World
In collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), the IFA is working to re-launch the WHO agefriendlyworld.org website. The goal of this website is to be an all encompassing resource repository on all things ‘age-friendly.’ Through creating and disseminating relevant publications, news articles, blogs, and toolkits the website will provide a clear pathway about how to develop best practices in the realm of age-friendly and provide models for emerging age-friendly communities to follow.
Additionally, the website seeks to connect those inside and outside of the WHO global age-friendly network by providing a forum for discussion, in which participants can exchange information and experiences.
The Diabetic Macular Edema Barometer Project
The Diabetic Macular Edema Barometer Project responds to a serious and emerging trend which is expected to escalate with population ageing, increased prevalence of diabetes and the poor level of awareness, patient support systems and inadequate governmental policies.
The Project will serve to create multi stakeholder and multi-sectoral partnerships around the central issue of DME. Through sensitive and respectful engagement of the most influential partners and experts, and skillful coordination and management of the project outcomes and outputs are anticipated to be groundbreaking.
Most importantly the outputs will have local and national significance to the collaborating organizations effective advocacy vehicles. The baseline information also serves as a benchmark for further comparative studies over time – an essential element in influencing and helping to shape policy.
The Fusion of Art and Culture Project
The Fusion of Art and Culture Project aims to provide exposure for young and emerging artists from Canada and Turkey and by doing so raise awareness and support for intercultural dialogue through the expression of art.
Artists will collaborate and dissolve cultural norms and parameters through creativity and innovation in the shared experience of art.
This project provides a unique forum to bridge cultures and raise awareness and support for the myriad of challenges all nations face as their populations age.
Global Alliance For The Rights of Older People (GAROP)
Established in 2011 as a collaborative effort of 9 international ageing NGOs, the Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People was born out of the need to strengthen the rights and voice of older people globally. The mission of the Global Alliance is to support and enhance civil society’s engagement at national, regional and international levels on the need for a new international instrument on the rights of older persons.
The IFA is currently a member of the steering group of GAROP and IFA Secretary General, Dr. Jane Barratt currently serves as the Chair. In this role, the IFA works to shape and progress the GAROP agenda so as to ultimately ensure the creation of a world world in which older people live free from discrimination and are able to fully enjoy their rights. More information about the work of GAROP is available on the official GAROP website.
Grantmakers In Aging and IFA: Community AGEnda Collaboration
IFA is collaborating with Grantmakers In Ageing to help improve the capacity of GIA’s Community AGEnda Sites to advance age-friendly efforts through harnessing IFA’s expertise and knowledge of international age-friendly advancements.
GIA’s Community AGEnda is a partnership between GIA and the Pfizer Foundation, where the objective is to help communities become the greatest places to grow up and to grow old. There are 5 community sites, each are entering their second year of funding to advance their age-friendly objectives set out in year one.
Complementing the work IFA is conducting with each Community AGEnda Site, IFA is producing two webinars, as part of GIA’s Webinar Series, which will bring together international experts from all around the world to share their insight and expertise on various topics to educate and provide tools to help improve the work across all Community AGEnda Sites. The first webinar will take place on February 19th, 2014 at 9:00AM EST, titled “Longevity is Power…Economic Power” a webinar focused on developing age-friendly businesses and incorporating age-friendly business practices into modern corporations.
The Health and Social Benefits of Companion Animals Project
The goal of the project is improved understanding of the measurable benefits of animal ownership and animal assistive interactions as a public health parameter. In describing the benefits derived from a systemic and comprehensive review of scientific literature, and industry and governmental reports the importance of animal health will be formally noted and highlighted as a key message and recommendation. Finally the proposed environmental scan and comprehensive literature review is intended to identify areas of limited research and gaps in understand of the benefits / or otherwise of the human-animal bond and interactions.