Peggy Edwards is an active volunteer with the Grandmothers Advocacy Network, which works to engage Canadian and international support for policies and programs that will address the needs of African grandmothers as they strive to sustain their families and communities in the wake of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. (www.grandmothersadvocacy.org). Peggy is a health promotion consultant, policy analyst, and author on health and aging. Peggy is the primary author of “Active Ageing: A Policy Framework” (WHO 2002) and “Women, Ageing and Health: A Policy Framework” (WHO 2006). She is a grandmother of 11 and great grandmother of 5. In 2011, she received the Alan Thomas Fellowship from the Carold Foundation to study the role of older women as advocates for social justice. You can see her video from that work at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AI9PJh2Ycqg&t=4s
Older Women Count! Grandmothers Fight the HIV/AIDS Pandemic
This presentation will explore and celebrate the enormous contribution that grandmothers make in pursuing the United Nation’s goal of “ending HIV/AIDS for good”. Grandmothers in sub-Saharan Africa are at the centre of the pandemic—both in terms of their own vulnerability to the disease and in their roles as caregivers to millions of young people orphaned by AIDS. Yet they are rarely counted, recognized or included in efforts addressing HIV/AIDS.
There is an urgent need to collect and analyze data and information on the experience of HIV/AIDS after the age of 49 in Africa and other developing areas. Without this, older persons are left out of policies and practices to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS.
Older women deserve to be counted and counted in.
This paper/presentation will explore how:
- invisibility, ageism and misconceptions about HIV/AIDS, gender and age affect older women/grandmothers in Africa and the orphaned children in their care.
- older women/the Grandmothers movement in Canada and Africa are advocating for their rights to health and full inclusion in policies and practices to address the pandemic.
Grandmothers in Canada and in sub-Saharan Africa work in solidarity to lead the fight to end HIV/AIDS. This session will include a description of some key activities of the Canadian Grandmothers Advocacy Network and the grandmothers in sub-Sharan Africa. It acknowledges the “profound love and unbearable bond grandmothers have with their grandchildren,” as well as the “tenacious nature of older women’s organizing power,”