Raisa Sinelnikova: born in 1946, is a teacher by background. Since 2000, works with INGOs developing, implementing, and evaluating projects related to empowerment of vulnerable groups. Through the last seven years focuses on Active Aging and empowerment of older people. Consults the Swiss Red Cross in its projects implemented in post-socialist countries, and conducts research related to this topic.
Power of old age
Swiss Red Cross (SRC) in partnership with other national organisations works in several countries to build systems of integrated community-based health care and active ageing. When working with elderly, it focuses on their empowerment and participation with the aim of overcoming age related social exclusion and neglect in a systemic way. The process is based on the assumption that vulnerable persons feel more inclined to participate in activities and support each other on issues that affect their every day life. When they gain experience and new competences related to communication and collective decision making, they become agents of change in their communities initiating dialogue and joint action to overcome age based discrimination and improve life conditions for different groups of people.
In 2016, the organisation commissioned a comparative research of its projects in three countries: Bulgaria, Belarus, and Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to assess the level of effectiveness of the selected approach, and draw lessons for future interventions. The conclusions proved that the results achieved are very positive. The most impressive changes are observed in individuals in terms of their self-reliance, increased social capital, and capacities. Sustainable changes are also observed in how elderly people are perceived by community members and local and national institutions.