Uplifting the Quality of the Lives of the Elderly People Programme

Established by the government of Bangladesh in 1990, PKSF works for sustainable poverty reduction and beyond-poverty development through employment generation. Over the years, its vision has evolved and it now works to contribute towards creating a poverty-free society with every citizen living a humanly dignified life. PKSF has shifted its focus from microfinance only to inclusive financing and integrated development that includes education, healthcare, skill development, technology transfer, entrepreneurship development, social capital formation and value chain development. It now pursues a life-cycle approach to human progress, catering to the appropriate needs at all stages of life — from with the conception of a child and to the death of a person. As a supplementary intervention of its multidimensional poverty alleviation programmes, PKSF has introduced the ‘Uplifting the Quality of Lives of Elderly People Programme’ in line with the government’s elderly policy.

Through the programme, PKSF aims to help lessen miseries of the elderly people. The programme focuses on the social benefits of an elder person to ensure his/her fundamental human rights irrespective of race, religion, color, language, wealth, gender and age. Funding for the programme is sourced from the Special Fund and Programmes-Support Fund of PKSF, and 10 percent surplus of credit programmes of Partner Organisations (POs). PKSF bears 50% of the programme cost while the POs bear the rest.    

Under the programme, the following activities are currently being implemented: establishing social centres for the elderly people in every Union, providing old age allowances, providing assistive materials (walking sticks, commodes, blankets etc), offering Special Savings and Pension Fund, recognising elderly persons’ contribution to society, awarding the best children for serving their parents, providing appropriate credit and training facilities to the poor elderly people, training physiotherapists to provide geriatric nursing, and creating special social facilities for the elderly people.

Initially, PKSF started implementing the Uplifting Lives of the Elderly People Programme in 20 Unions of 18 districts in January 2016 through 19 POs. In FY 2017-2018, 58 new Unions were included, taking the total number of Unions under the programmes’s purview to 78. The number of POs implementing the programme currently stands at 52.  

As part of the plan of action, a survey has been conducted in selected areas to assess the existing socio-economic status of the targeted elderly people. A total of 1.05 lac elderly people has been selected under the programme. Multi-tier committees have been formed at village, ward and Union levels for operating the programme. So far, 2,100 committees — 60 Union committees, 1,360 village committees and 680 ward committees — have been formed. The elderly people have been provided with leadership and communication training to increase their negotiation skills. The programme operations are entirely managed by the local elderly people in collaboration with the POs concerned.

The programme has a provision for establishing an Elderly Social Centre in each Union to create a common platform for the elderly people. These multi-purpose Centres are used for recreational activities like indoor games, television, newspapers, carom, Ludo etc, as well as social activities of the elderly. Locals donate the land for constructing the Social Centres that serve as a means of social cohesion and empowerment of the elderly. The construction of ‘Social Centres for the Elderly People’ has already been completed in most Unions under the programme coverage while the rest are underway.

To help the elderly defray the expenses for their basic needs, Old Age Allowances are given to the underprivileged elderly people. With this allowance, many are now being able to buy necessary medicines and avail treatment for their old-age complications. PKSF provided TK 1.40 crore (Tk 500 per person per month) as Old Age Allowances to 3,600 people, as of August 2017. In July 2017, the allowance was increased to Tk 600 from Tk 500 and the number of recipients to 100 from 75 in each Union.

This programme provides different assistive equipment to the elderly. Up to August 2017, different POs have distributed 418 umbrellas, 457 walking sticks, 349 commodes, 549 blankets and 264 pieces of warm clothes among elderly people.

PKSF are making every effort to address the life-cycle needs of people. Sometimes, people are unable to bear the funeral costs of the deceased. PKSF ensures proper funeral of every deceased in the areas under this programme. As of August 2017, Tk 4.98 lac (Tk 1,500 per funeral) has been provided to defray the expenses of 335 funerals.   

Recognising the contribution of the elderly people towards the society is a key component of the Elderly programme. To encourage others to do the same, special awards given to youths for their support to the elderly. A total of 220 elderly persons and 78 young people have been awarded for their noble work so far.

This programme also works to ensure senior citizens’ access to employment, income generating activities (IGAs), microcredit and assets. Till August 2017, a total of 1,094 elderly people were provided with training on different IGAs.

PKSF has provided training to one male and one female on physiotherapy in each Union and deployed them at the Elderly Social Centres for delivering health and care services to the ailing elderly people. As of August 2017, a total of 18,447 elderly people have received health services.

The Elderly programme takes care of the recreational needs of the senior citizens and 16 Elderly Fair were organised in different working areas to this end. The elderly people showcased fish nets, vermi-compost, hats and other crafts produced by themselves.

PKSF, in association with Bangladesh Physical Therapy Association provided training on Physiotherapy and Geriatric Care to 40 selected candidates (20 female and 20 male) from different Partner Organizations from October 07-20, 2017.

A national conference on Uplifting the Quality of the Lives of the Elderly People was held on March 2, 2017 at PKSF Auditorium. Finance Minister Mr. AMA Muhith was present in the conference as the Chief Guest. Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman of PKSF, presided over the event. An exhibition of services provided by PKSF for the elderly people were on display. Mr Md Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director (Programme) of PKSF, presented on the Programme for Uplifting the Quality of the Lives of the Elderly People.      

A workshop titled ‘Field-level Implementation Strategies of Uplifting the Lives of Elderly People Programme’ was held on July 23, 2017 at PKSF Bhaban. A total of 120 Focal Persons and Programme Organisers from 52 POs took part in the daylong workshop. PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Managing Director Mr Md Abdul Karim, and Deputy Managing Director (Programme) Mr Md Fazlul Kader were present at the inaugural session of the workshop. Mr Abul Hasan Md Abdul Qaiyum, Deputy General Manager (Programme) of PKSF, gave a presentation and discussed strategies for the Programme implementation at the field level.

To implement the field-level activities, Uplifting Lives of the Elderly People Programme has published a ‘Field-level Implementation Guidline’ to support focal persons and programme organisers in implementing the Programme activities. Besides a 36-pages Photo Album and 21-minutes video documentary titled “ Rangiye Diye jao” on the activites of elderly prople has also been published from the Eldelry programme unit.  

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