There is a place where the sidewalk ends and before the street begins, and there the grass grows soft and white, and there the sun burns crimson bright, and there the moon-bird rests from his flight to cool in the peppermint wind. Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black, and the dark street winds and bends. Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow, we shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow, and watch where the chalk-white arrows go to the place where the sidewalk ends. Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow, and we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go, for the people, they mark, and the people, they know the place where the sidewalk ends. Adapted from “Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein
Design Challenge: How might we 1) Radically listen, engage, encourage, and empower older persons groups and other key stakeholders to co-design program and policy strategies to improve their health and the health of their families and communities? 2) How might we make data in many forms more accessible, relevant and useful to decision makers at all levels? 3) How might we strengthen collaboration and improve our learning as a network organization? In response to this design challenge, HelpAge International supported teams in India, Tanzania, and Uganda to prototype a data-informed human centered design process called Co-Designing Health. The processes has led to effective community based interventions that are being piloted in India, Tanzania and Uganda. Co-Designing Health works to address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #3 objectives to promote prevention and treatment of noncommunicable diseases and improve access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines. It is also aligned with WHO Global Strategy and Action Plan on Ageing and Health strategies to maximize functional ability and establish evidence and partnerships to support healthy ageing through supporting countries to commit to action on healthy ageing, align health systems to the needs of older populations, and improve measurement, monitoring and research on healthy ageing, throughout the life course.
In the Kibaha District, Tanzania people of all ages are coming together to improve the health of all members of the community. They are taking a life course approach to health in view of the role that intergenerational relationships, families, and communities have in promoting health across all ages. The project led by HelpAge Tanzania and funded by Pfizer, Inc. seeks to strengthen intergenerational partnerships to support healthy living practices. Focused activities have been developed and are being implemented in partnership with youth and older persons through a process called Community Life Competence to harness further intergenerational collaboration and health promotion. For more information, visit helpageusa.org.
Families Thrive of Contra Costa County
Every 15 minutes another child in your community may see or hear domestic violence. The strong connection between childhood exposure to domestic violence and many of the costly societal issues that our communities faces every day means we all must address this issue. Community Strengths has been a partner to Zero Tolerance for Domestic Violence of Contra Costa County in the development of the Families Thrive initiative focusing on childhood exposure to domestic violence. The research is clear – exposure to domestic violence greatly impacts children’s healthy development including their emotional, mental and physical health. Left unaddressed this impact carries into adulthood. Families Thrive brings together organizations in the community to marshal resources and support partnerships to address the needs of children, youth and families impacted by domestic violence. Through an ongoing community collaborative process, Families Thrive is working to reduce the harm and prevent childhood exposure to domestic violence. For more information visit familiesthrive.org.
Choppin’ it Up
In Antioch, CA, partners came together to strengthen youth voice and participation in the co-construction of environments in their homes, school, and community to support resilience and pathways to health and well-being. When adults listened to youth voices, they heard that young people wanted the support of adults to make changes in their community and that they needed adults to see them differently in order to develop more effective partnerships. Youth played an important role in making sense of their lived experiences, understanding how interpersonal violence impacts them, and sharing what they need from each other, the adults in their lives, and their broader community as they envisioned possibilities that might lead to more positive and generative relationships. While keeping these youth voices central, adults and youth worked together to explore and challenge norms that lead to violence in relationships, homes, schools, and communities. As a result of the project, youth and adults began building intergenerational partnerships to weave new narratives and to explore the possibilities that can result from youth-led positive community change. Through this project we discovered the transformative potential of youth as powerful social agents of positive change in their communities. Click here to download a resource toolkit.
Creating Aging-Friendly Communities
The “Creating Aging-Friendly Communities”online conference and community of practice was was an innovative approach developed with UC Berkeley School of Social Welfare to assist communities to prepare more effectively for the aging of the U.S. population. It was developed to support the efforts of the many different individuals and groups who are interested in learning what they can do to make their communities more “aging-friendly.” The conference had the following primary goals: (1) capture emerging knowledge regarding the characteristics of aging-friendly communities; (2) identify proven strategies for making communities more aging-friendly; (3) promote the vital involvement of older adults as community assets; and (4) foster a “learning community” that supports innovation and creative problem-solving in response to the changing needs of the aging population.