Visit to Albanian Association of Geriatry and Gerontology
As part of the duties of the Taking Action on Social Inclusion of Older People project coordinator, the Red Cross of Serbia is tasked with visiting all the project partners and observe project implementation in all five countries in the region. Additionally, if any problems arise during implementation the Red Cross of Serbia is obliged to assist the partner in solving these problems, through offering examples of good practice from other project countries and the like. The third monitoring visit was organise don 8 and 9 January 2017 with the project coordinators Natasa Todorovic and Dr Milutin Vracevic visiting Tirana, Albania. Albanian Association of Geriatry and Gerontology (AAGG), the coordinator of the project in Albania, was hosting the visit.
The meetings during the visit took place at the premises of MOSHA network. This network has been founded more than a decade ago, it is being coordinated by AAGG and its members are civil society organisations focusing on ageing and working with older people. The primary goal of the network is advocating for improved quality of life of older people, protection of older people’s human rights, including ageing and older people in all relevant public policies as well as creating positive image of older people. A special segment of their advocacy activities is about facilitating older people’s access to different public services.
The meetings were headed by AAGG representatives and featured also representatives of Albanian Association for Integration of Older People, Albanian Demographics Association as well as the General Union of Pensioners (both their president and the president of the Tirana office). The coordinators discussed the project with the partners about the implementation so far, about the activities and plans for the coming year, as well as the finances on the project.
During the meetings the MOSHA members described their intense involvement with the production of the five year report related to the implementation of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, their assistance to the Ministry on data collection and presentation of examples of good practice. This is the first time the civil sector was involved in preparation of this report and it turned out to be a successful model of cooperation.
Also, in the project so far, the Albanian partners have had intense advocacy activities related to decreasing the costs of public transportation services for persons over the age of 65 as well as to including the persons over the same age in the national programme of annual free of charge health check-ups. This latter activity will significantly contribute to improving older people’s health status which will in turn be beneficial to them being more socially active and included at different levels. Within the scope of these activities the advocating partners have met even the Albanian prime minister and discussed the problems older people face with him.
The general impression is that MOSHA network is a rather specific entity, being comprised mostly of organisations of active older people. This gives their activities the quality of authenticity – their representatives know what older people need and their efforts to protect older people’s human rights are fuelled by real knowledge of needs and capacities of this population group. Additionally this network has string academic and research background which increases its advocacy capacities.