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HelpAge International (HAI) is a unique development agency. It works via a network of development, research, community based and social service organisations that share a common mission to improve the lives of disadvantaged older people. HAI¡¦s innovative approach combines support for partners and members, direct programme implementation, research and advocacy. Increasingly HelpAge International is involved in the formulation of national and international strategies on ageing.
The organisation was founded in 1983 as an independent charity by HelpAge India, Help the Aged Canada, Pro Vida Colombia, HelpAge Kenya and Help the Aged UK. From five agencies it has grown to the present membership of 67 organisations world-wide.
Through its membership, HAI has established a presence in areas ranging from remote rural villages to some of the poorest slums in Asia, Latin America, Africa, Eastern and Central Europe and the Caribbean. The organisation currently works with over 200 partners in 70 countries targeting the most vulnerable older people.
HelpAge International is governed by a Board of Directors drawn from its membership who presently come from Canada, Dominica, Ghana, India, Kenya, Singapore, UK, USA, and Zimbabwe. The secretariat is based in London and it has four regional development centres in Asia (Thailand), Africa (Kenya), Caribbean (Jamaica) and Latin America (Bolivia). HAI also works in East and Central Europe and has representation in Brussels.
HelpAge International was the first organisation to receive the United Nations award for services to the United Nation Programme on Ageing, and has consultative status (Category 1) with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
How does HAI work?
Practically - through projects which address the basic needs of older people particularly economic insecurity and poor health and which tackle social issues such as isolation, fear, discrimination, disability and abuse.
At policy level - challenging the poverty, inequality and discrimination which prevent many older people achieving their potential and realising their rights. By strengthening older people¡¦s involvement in development programmes and in local and national policy making processes. And by creating awareness of the rights, needs and problems facing older people and the role they play in solving these challenges.
In emergencies - responding to the specific needs of older people affected by civil conflict, economic collapse or natural disasters.
Through its membership which includes national organisations; community based groups and regional networks. Support is provided to facilitate members learning from one and others experience, through funding, training, resource mobilisation, capacity building and project management.