PASSION FOR OLDER PERSONS HAS LED TO MULTIPLE BENEFITS.
Jajja (Grand Mother) Edith Bonabaana is 82 years old and very passionate about older persons.
She worked as a Cashier at Uganda Transport Company for 17 years and later got a job at BAT International an Italian Company where she worked for 4 and half years as a maintenance officer until she started doing her own business.
Jajja (Grand Mother) Bonabaana thereafter decided to start up a small Community-Based Organisation for older women which she named Gaita Kukibi Widows and ElderlyAssociation in Gaba in 1997 because of the passion she had for older persons.
The group consists of both older women and men who need support and stay in the same area. They are involved in soap and liquid making, carry out vegetable growing and poultry farming, these Income Generating Activities (IGAs) enable older persons to have food and money to sustain themselves.
Through URAA, she was trained on how to engage in Evidence-based Lobby and Advocacy for the rights of older persons most especially for her older persons group. This has enabled her group to get favor from the RDC who gave them permission to work and express their rights in the community.
The RDC also got interest in their work and provided funds and food to boost their IGAs.
URAA training also enabled her to gain planning on how to lead her group by hosting weekly meetings and attendance by all members.
The evidence based lobby and advocacy skills enabled her group to gain confidence thus open up and communicate their views and problems as well as develop action points on how best to solving them.
URAA also taught her how to plan, and budget for the money which comes in by any well wishers and the Income Generating Activities. This prompted her to start up a Savings and Credit Cooperation (SACCO) with her older persons utilizing the skills she had attained from URAA periodic trainings. The Savings and Credit Cooperative (SACCO) helped them to save money that helped them during COVID -19 and also supported the sick members in the group.
Jajja Edith’s work and interactions with URAA and the Community Development Officers Office in Makindye Sabagabo Municipality has also equipped her with knowledge and skills to create awareness to her fellow older persons on the Parish Development Model (PDM) with more information from the local government, she told them the benefits of receiving that PDM money, the process required to receive it, what they can use it for and how to pay it back at the end of the day.
Jaaja Edith also continues to work with the other Special Interest Groups namely; Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities in various ways like having different meetings to discuss matters affecting the vulnerable groups as well as organizing joint lobby and advocacy drives.
As the Special Interest Group, they were able to work together and this enables their visibility in the community.
The SIG helped older persons in the provision of material needs that they collect from the community; this, therefore, enabled them to have basic needs like clothing.
During COVID-19 the youth supported older persons by escorting them to health centre’s to get treatment also directed them where to get the vaccine and provided the basic support needed.
Older persons should continue in Lobby and Advocacy, this has created awareness of the older person’s issues at higher levels which has promoted public support.
Compiled by Martha Amoding.