Social Development works to bridge generational gap
11 August 2008
The Deputy Minister of Social Development, Dr Jean Swanson-Jacobs will deliver the keynote address at an event bringing together the youth and older persons at the Hantam Local Municipality, Calvinia, Northern Cape on the 15th of August, 2008.
The deputy minister will engage both older persons and youth, to promote understanding between the two generations and to bridge the generational gap.
The event is hosted in partnership with the provincial government and the Hantam local municipality. It is envisaged that a long term relationship will be built whereby programmes aimed at the development of the community will be established.
Date: 15 August 2008
Venue: Calvinia West Community Hall
Media is invited to cover the event.
For media RSVPs and interviews contact:
Cell: 073 282 4633
Tel: 012 312 7993
1. Background Information
The office of the Deputy Minister, the Directorate Care and Services to Older Persons in collaboration with the Northern Cape provincial office celebrated the International Human Rights Day on 10 December 2007. The theme was "Older Persons Rights are Human Rights Too." The first phase was characterised by sporting activities. The aim was to promote active ageing programmes thus complying with the second priority direction (advancing health and well being into old age) of the international instrument on older persons, viz. the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing.
South Africa is lagging behind with regards to the implementation of this plan of action. The "Madrid plus five" report that was submitted to the United Nations in February this year reflected a lot of progress made in terms of the third priority direction, viz. ensuring enabling and supportive environments. Nothing much was reported in terms of the progress made in the other two priority directions, viz. advancing health and well being into old age as well as older persons and development.
As a spin-off from this event, the national department would like to initiate the intergenerational programme informed by the first priority direction, viz. older persons and development, another requirement of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing. The country is lagging behind with this requirement as mentioned above.
The first phase is the needs analysis process. The Directorate Population and Development has conducted a study on the status of older persons in the area. This project will fall within the community based care and support services programme in terms of the Older Persons Act of 2006 (Older Persons Act No. 13 of 2006) and the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing.
2. Intergenerational Programme
The core function of the Department of Social Development is to create an enabling environment that will facilitate the development of a South Africa that belongs to all its older persons, people with disabilities and children. Older persons are classified as the vulnerable group. According to the Statistics South Africa's community survey, there are older persons and the youth who are still facing challenges in terms of accessing social services. Northern Cape is one of the provinces that are still trying to meet requirements of citizens in terms of social services.
Calvinia is generally poor in terms of accessing resources. Strengthening ties between older persons and the youth is fundamental for the achievement of a society for all ages. These relationships work in both directions, with older persons often providing significant contributions both financially and, crucially, in the education and care of grandchildren and other kin. Solidarity between generations at all levels, i.e. in families and communities is fundamental for the achievement of a society for all ages.
Intergenerational solidarity is also a major prerequisite for social cohesion and a foundation of formal public welfare, informal care systems and other social development initiatives.
Older persons are faced with challenges of becoming second time parents as the scourge of disease impacts on the health of community members. They are also challenged by changes in their own ill health due to physical and mental deterioration by virtue of their old age.
3. The event
The purpose of the event is to initiate a programme that will bring the two sectors together. Following the outcome of the survey, it is envisaged that a long term relationship will be built whereby programmes aimed at the development of the community will be established. These can be done by older persons themselves with the support or cooperation of the youth. For example, older persons are child minders as a result of the fact that they stay at home.
The youth are always occupied outside their home due to their busy schedules. Therefore if there is a programme in the community targeting the older persons development, there will be better negotiations between the young and the old as both parties will be supporting the initiative.
The issues of the survey will be debated by the youth and older persons with a view to come up with solutions to challenges that may have been identified. Planning will be done by role players to address the issues.
Cell: 082 808 9486
Tel: 012 312 7775
Issued by: Department of Social Development
11 August 2008