In furtherance to the establishment of ageing desks with focal officers in relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies to interface with the National Senior Citizens Center (NSCC), the Centre has held a 2-day workshop for desk officers.
In collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Workshop is hinged on the implementation of NSCC Strategic Roadmap on Ageing 2022-2032 and National Plan of Action on Ageing in Nigeria and project activities 2021-2025.
According to the Director General of NSCC, Emem Omokaro, the 2-day workshop for Desks officers aims to ensure representation of older persons’ interests at all MDA forums as well as their inclusion in monitoring and evaluation teams. This is to ensure that older persons have the same rights and opportunities
“So far, NSCC has through partnership successfully mainstreamed older persons into the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) Matured People Program, signed an MoU with FMoH, NPHCDA, NOA, NHCRC, LACON, NAPTIP and more to come.
“With the desk officers, we should be able to strengthen NSCC’s partnerships with the various MDAs, where they already exist and to leverage on the enhanced understanding of ageing and issues of older persons to evolve more effective partnerships and collaborations on mainstreaming ageing into specific programs and services,” she explained.
She noted that older persons have peculiar challenges, the bedrock of which is ageism, negative form of stereotypes, prejudices and discrimination expressed at the micro, macro, institutional and social levels, indicated by non-inclusion of the older persons in strategic plans, programme designs, planning, implementation and budget lines.
“This gap hinders age-centred service delivery and inclusiveness of older persons in development and social services plans. It brings about marginalization, neglect, abuse and violence against older persons resulting in negative health impacts. The other challenges can be broadly categorized into income security, health and wellbeing, psycho-social factors, humanitarian emergencies, unfriendly age environments and data gaps,” Omokaro remarked.
For her part, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, commended the efforts of the NSCC DG, noting that her ability to reach out to partners in order to move the Centre forward is better imagined.
Represented by the Special Adviser to the President on Humanitarian Affairs, Musa Bungudu, the Minister emphasized that the idea behind the workshop is to ensure that the Desks Officers are effective, efficient and professional in carrying out their duties as regards NSCC goals and objectives regarding the aged, and to reach out to governments at all levels to relay the hopes and aspirations of all stakeholders to make them a reality.
“As I am talking to you, there are about 42 different MDAs that have signed an MoU to collaborate with the Senior citizens Center.
“Virtually in all states we have Chairs and Vice Chairs with no fewer than 6 officers and their key function is to support, initiate and facilitate the Programmes that are targeted at senior citizens,” she concluded.