22 November 2012

Tanzania: Call for Concerted Efforts in Helping Old People

Photo: © Manoocher Deghati/IRIN
An elderly woman in a slum area. The elderly in Tanzania are reportedly marginalized.

THE government, social workers, policy makers, academicians and the public at large have been urged to ensure they play a part in reducing social problems such as poverty among the elderly.

Acting Chairperson of Tanzania Social Workers Organisation (Taswo), Dr Zena Mabeyo said the government should revisit the social work curriculum to address issues of poverty and Millennium Development Goals (MGDs) in the country.

Dr Mabeyo said this while giving welcoming remarks during a one-day workshop on dissemination of research findings on the role of social work in poverty reduction and the realization of the Millennium Development Goals in Tanzania.

The objectives of the meeting among others included disseminating research findings, gather additional views from participants and sharing information regarding a recently published book entitled, "In Search of Protection," for old people.

"The elderly in Tanzania are disadvantaged and marginalized in many ways, including lack of adequate formal social protection," Dr Mabeyo noted.

She said a research conducted between July and September 2011 countrywide, focused on social work education and training (curriculum) and social work practice whereby on social work practice, it based on how the curriculum in Tanzania prepares graduates to handle issues of poverty and social development gaps.

The Director of Studies at the Institute of Social Work, Mr Charles Madihi, said poverty was still a serious problem in developing countries including Tanzania and social workers have a key role to address the problem.

"I am not certain if social work training in the country explicitly and adequately prepares students to address or deal with poverty, MDGs, social development and gender issues," said Mr Madihi.

Butimba Prison Welfare Officer, Mr Zephania Tibwakawa said the public must respect old people because they are the nation's think tanks and also have rights like others.

The research project was funded by the Austrian Development Cooperation under the auspices of Austrian Partnership Programme for Higher Education and Research (APPEAR) and the Carinthian government in Austria.

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