Ageing and positively changing!
By Rodel Salano, COPAP Voice Project Coordinator working for the Confederation of Older Persons Associations of the Philippines, Inc. (COPAP). COPAP is an empowerment grantee focusing on enhancing their organisational leadership and capacities, envisioning a sustained national movement advocating for older persons’ rights. In this Voice of Change, Rodel shares reflections from three elderly women leaders— the changes experienced and dreams they continue to pursue.
After more than a year of implementation, the project has generated great impact. It came with challenges and a moment of reflection and a reality check for all Older Persons and Senior Citizens in the Philippines. I would like to highlight the voices of three women that have made an impact on me.
According to Ate Dolores, Acting President of the Federation and Older Persons Organisation (OPO), the greatest challenge she came across in the life of this project is learning how to stand and handle their organisation as Acting President. Sadly this happened due to the sudden death of the former President. She took the role as President without any orientation about the organisation and no proper endorsement of all the documents of the Federation and OPO. She acquired techniques on how to become a good leader through the training and other capacity strengthening activities conducted by COPAP. Ate developed the self-confidence to lead the organisation towards its sustainability. Prior to being Acting President, Ate Dolores was one of the active members of the OPO in the Manila area. Presently, aside from being the Acting Federation and OPO President, she is also already one of the trusted members of the Executive Committee on Public Relations.
Ate Leony is the Chairperson of the Burial Fund Benefit (BFB) programme of COPAP. A good practice that she observed during project implementation was being part of the creation and implementation of the BFB monitoring baseline which gave clear data of all BFB and COPAP members. Because of this involvement, it made it easier to reconcile all the records of BFB partners from 2015 to date. The big challenge now is on sustaining the good BFB membership and collection record through the monitoring baseline. However, Ate Leony shared that as a result of the competence-building and training she attended through the project, she is confident that the BFB will go forward with better implementation.
Another reflection was shared by Ate Vicky, the Federation President from Navotas. According to her, the project served as a reflection for almost all COPAP key leaders and members as it was the first project implemented by COPAP itself. Add to that, that almost all activities were conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic. All Older Persons and Senior Citizens were fully restricted to go out (not only as directed by the government but also coming from their families). It was extra challenging to pursue, participate and be involved in the conduct of activities. It was not easy to attend face-to-face meetings, seminars and training whilst in a pandemic, but no one was able to interrupt the passion and desire of Ate Vicky just to uphold the rights and benefits of Older Persons and Senior Citizens. She added that the training served as a stimulant that gave them the energy to advocate the core values and programs of COPAP.
The project has truly generated impact. It came across a lot of challenges, which we managed to overcome, offering space for reflection. Aged and definitely changed, sums it up perfectly…