Mama Rhoda Ngima and Mama Esther Wamera (L-R respectively) join others on a street match calling on the rights of the older persons
Mama Rhoda Ngima and Mama Esther Wamera (L-R respectively) join others on a street match calling on the rights of the older persons

The participants will share their views on their successes in participation and key challenges that prevent them from effectively participating in local and national policies and decision making processes as well as discuss the importance of ‘civic space’ which exists when individuals and organisations have the freedom to speak out, organize and take action.

Mama Rhoda Ngima and Mama Esther Wamera (L-R respectively) join others on a street match calling on the rights of the older persons
Mama Rhoda Ngima and Mama Esther Wamera (L-R respectively) join others on a street match calling on the rights of the older persons

Additionally, they will highlight on agreed actions that could support their effective utilization of the existing spaces to contribute to enhancement of their rights and wellbeing of the society.

According to Jamillah Mwanjisi, Head of Policy, Advocacy and Communications, HelpAge International East, West and Central Africa, the objective of the Global Day of Citizen Action is to get people thinking about ‘civic space’, understanding their rights and increasing awareness about the importance of civic space and need to monitor and protect it.

In Kenya, HelpAge international is joining other Civil Society organizations and activists all over the world who will be hosting different events to give opportunity to citizens to express their views on civic space. This is one of the main agenda of the day for the CIVICUS– an international alliance dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society around the world.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides for all people, everywhere in the world to have the right to speak out, to organise, and to take action. These rights – the freedoms of association, assembly and expression – give us the freedom to form groups, to join organisations and to peacefully protest for the things we want – and to counter the things we don’t.

These freedoms are called `civic space’ and are an essential part of a vibrant society; where debate and discussion thrive, and where people are able to contribute to important decisions that affect their lives.

Elijah Mwega, coordinator, KARIKA (Kenyan Aged Require Information and Knowledge Advancement)—a community based organization of older person based in Nairobi said civic space also means freedom and ability to participate in national and county budgeting processes to ensure resource allocation is directed to programmes/interventions that support the felt needs of the communities. He added that freedom would also mean freedom to participate in all policy processes without exclusion and the right to be heard.

“Older people are left out when key issues are being discussed at community or national levels. This results to older people consistently being excluded in policies and programmes increasing their vulnerability further”, he said adding that the end result are inconsistent policies that often leave out key populations of society.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.