Nesta Hatendi has a MA degree in Education and over 30 years of international humanitarian sector experience. Nesta’s engagement in ageing issues include:
- Current Board Member of Melfort Old People’s Home, Zimbabwe
- December 2014: Expert Advisor on Ageing to the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA): Ageing in Small Island States. Mauritius.
- 2014: African Union Commission, UNECA and African Population and Health Research Center Working Group on Aging and a Demographic Dividend in Africa. Ethiopia.
- March 2014: Pensioners without Borders, UNDP (Nordic) and Dag Hammarskjold Foundation Seminar: The Youth Bulge in a Graying World- a Demographic Challenge? Sweden
- June 2014: Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation Development Dialogue Paper no.10 Older Persons and the Post-2015 agenda – a sub-Saharan African’s perspective. Sweden
- March 2013: Routledge Publishers: International Perspectives on Elder Abuse-Kenya: Co- author with Isabella Aboderin, Chapter 8: Focus is on gender based violence among older women.
- May 28, 2013: IFA Conference: Achieving Age Friendly Environments in Sub Saharan Africa. Cameroon
- October 2012: First Africa Ageing Conference: Africa Ageing: Opportunities for Development? The Case for Health and Social Policy Action on Older Persons covering Civil society advocacy, approaches and needs. South Africa
- Oct 2010: East and Southern Africa Parliamentary Regional Workshop: Introduction to Social Protection and Child Sensitive Social Protection, The Civil Society experience. Namibia.
- October 2008-13: HelpAge International’s Regional Director, led teams focusing on programmes related to ageing, initially in Sub- Saharan Africa, then East, West and Central Africa.
Institutional Care Giving of Older Homeless Persons at Melfort Old People’s Home, Zimbabwe-A Case Study
Most African governments and communities are focusing on supporting their youth populations, yet population ageing is increasingly impacting on our societies and happening at different rates, globally. Within Zimbabwe and in the African region, social protection systems tend to be weak and institutional care for older persons, is not wide spread. At Melfort Old People’s Home (MOPH), ageing and migration has resulted in its older persons not being effectively cushioned by family and government support systems.
The presentation analyses the level of care and support at MOPH which caters for destitute and vulnerable older persons. The study also examines the Government’s obligations as outlined in local laws and legislation supporting older persons. The complimentary desk review highlights findings, conclusions and recommendations which could be adopted or replicated as best practice in other residential homes for the homeless in Zimbabwe. It further suggests that rapid population ageing and urbanisation are increasingly shaping our society where neglect and abandonment is putting the burden on the government and not for profit institutions to take over the roles of care giving. Other findings indicate the need for sustainable service provision based on increased resources mobilisation, better health facilities and provision of psychosocial support, where repatriation and reunion with families is not feasible.
More robust qualitative and quantitative research is required on the institutions sheltering the older homeless population, to better understand how big the problem is in Zimbabwe. Innovative support mechanisms need to be adopted in an increasingly hostile socio-political and economic environment. Research findings should therefore influence future policy and practice and support more robust evidence based advocacy work.
Whether they are local or migrant populations, older homeless persons have a right to protection against discrimination and abuse including social exclusion. They should be better equipped to be more self-reliant and visible contributors to the country’s sustainable development goals. Government and community efforts should therefore enable destitute older persons, to live in age friendly environments which promote a life worth living.