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Caring for Older Caretakers: Supporting Grandmothers Caring for their Grandchildren

In 2002, the Madrid International Plan of Action on Aging (MIPAA) was hailed as a major step in the right direction in the protection of older individuals when it was adopted by 159 governments.


This was the first international agreement to call for aging to be included in national social and economic development policies which directly also links to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). MIPAA is supposed to promote equal participation of older people in the development process. However, since its adoption, MIPAA has made very little progress in terms of implementation, and very few governments and international agencies including the UN seem to know its purpose.

A unified voice is necessary to raise awareness of its existence for the benefit of older people especially African grandparents caring for their grandchildren. The African Union Policy Framework and Plan of Action on Aging is scheduled to review its progress in 2008. Members of the African Union (AU) adopted the MIPAA framework in July of 2002 and identified thirteen key issues and made more than 28 recommendations to address these issues. One of the recommendations is to recognize the rights of older people and their participation in the development process. 


The Ark Foundation believes that social protection is a realistic responsible investment in Africa’s economic future and that it is a cost effective way to break the cycle of generational poverty. It is also a key in reducing new HIV/AIDS infections among women and youth.  


ARK is dedicated to improving the conditions of grandmothers affected by HIV/AIDS by committing resources and raising global awareness about this epidemic that affects not only grandparents but threatens the well-being of many children.

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