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Govt urged to adopt older persons' inclusive approach in implementing NDS1

by Stephen Jakes
30 Nov 2021 at 16:02hrs | Views
The Government of Zimbabwe has been challenged to adopt older persons' inclusive approach policy in implementing the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) as part of the Vision 2030.

The call was made by Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights as the organisation joined the world in celebrating the 2021 United Nations International Day of Older Persons (UNIDOP).

The day is commemorated under the theme "Digital Equity for All Ages" predicating the need for access and meaningful participation in the digital world by older persons.

"As MIHR we take this opportunity to call on the government to adopt an older persons inclusive approach in the implementation of the NDS1 as part of the Vision 2030. Specifically, an older person inclusive approach which addresses digital equity for all ages," said MIHR Coordinator Khumbulani Maphosa in a statement.

He said this will ensure that the adoption and promotion of the digital economy is inclusive of measures to empower older persons on new technologies, mobile banking and cyber security concerns.

"As the Government targets to increase internet penetration rate from 59.1% in 2020 to 75.4% by 2025 - measures must be put to address barriers for older people's access to internet services such as low literacy and skills knowledge levels, exorbitant internet costs, cyber security and cultural inertia for digital technology adoption by the elderly," he said.

"All reports by government agencies and quasi-government institutions at every level must have specific data on the rate of participation/inclusion of older persons. Government must sign and ratify the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Older Persons."

Maphosa said the Covid19 pandemic has disrupted normal human interface and shifted human interactions to the digital space.

"Yet the 2020 report by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) indicates that women and older persons experience digital inequity to a greater extent than other groups in society; they either lack access to technologies or are often not benefitting fully from the opportunities provided by technological progress," Maphosa said.

"The Report further shows that in Less Developed Countries, 17% of the rural population has no mobile coverage at all, and 19% of the rural population is only covered by a 2G network. It also shows that in Africa, internet access at home is 6% in rural areas compared to 28% in urban areas."

Maphosa noted that in the 2021 message, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres reiterated that "Older persons have often been left more isolated during the pandemic.

He said old people are at greater risk of suffering from the rising threat of cybercrime.

"While taking all possible measures to hold to account those unscrupulous criminals preying on older persons, we must also work to strengthen the digital skills of the elderly as an important defence and means to improve their wellbeing," he said.

Source - Byo24News