The founder and a fund raising committee although as

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the Founder and a Fund Raising Committee, although as the Foundation grows other committees will have to be set up. The Secretariat is run by the Executive Director who is responsible for its day-to-day administration and planning of outreaches and programmes in consultation with the Founder and members of the Board. The Foundation’s mission is to provide a new and unique platform for the elderly to impart their skills and experiences to the younger generations, and to ensure that their common interests and welfare are safeguarded. Although the Foundation continues to distribute much needed food items, clothing and other basic necessities to the elderly throughout the country, the Foundation aims at setting up centres for the elderly in the North, South, Centre and Eastern Regions of the country and, eventually, in all districts. Such centres will provide venues where the elderly can obtain health care, spiritual support, nutrition, interaction with one another and the younger generations and, if needed, give shelter to the truly destitute. Such centres will also provide skills training to encourage the elderly to remain active in their old age. The Foundation has reached out to several commercial companies with the view of seeking donations as well as encouraging them to take up their social responsibility and thus become part of the solution of caring for the elderly. At the same time, the Foundation plans fund raising activities to sustain its operations and reaches out to donors who might be willing to assist, although the desire of the Foundation is to eventually become self-sustaining. The Foundation sees the need for organisations dealing with issues of the elderly to interact one with another while at the same time the media needs to become actively involved in sensitizing the general public to the challenges the elderly people face. Subsequently, Mr M. S. Nyirenda spoke about activities of the Ministry of Persons with Disabilities and the Elderly, which is (since 2006) in charge of the portfolio of ageing- related matters. The presentation focused on five key areas of the Ministry’s work: policy formulation, provision of nutritious food to those in need, civic education and awareness- raising about the elderly, collaboration with BSF, and production of printed materials. The Ministry is currently in the process of drafting a national policy on the elderly which – after a series of regional consultations as well as coordination discussions with the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development – will eventually be submitted to the Government for approval. Other immediate plans of the Ministry include developing a national register of all NGOs that deal with issues of the elderly, and building emergency centres for destitute elderly. One problem the Ministry is facing is an acute shortage of staff with qualifications in the area of ageing, but the missing posts are likely to be fi lled soon.
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13 The concluding plenary discussion
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