Namara Arthur Araali
For the last 15 year as an HIV/AIDS Counsellor, I learned that older persons are living with HIV and also that many older women are very much affected by the HIV epidemic as caregivers of their own sick children and often guardians of their grandchildren. But their issues and concerns are not yet adequately addressed and mainstreamed in resource-limited settings, such as Uganda. My interest surged when I contributed to the development of the questionnaires that looked at the health status of older people. After that I led a team of youth volunteers to test a standardized tool (EasyCare tool) for the assessment of the physical, mental and social functioning of older persons. After pilot testing of the tool, I again led a team of youth volunteers to gather information from 334 older persons in Entebbe Sub-district about their wellbeing. This was to help us advocate better for the strategic approaches to the challenges encountered by the older persons within the area.
I am currently promoting an innovative process called Community Life Competence to stimulate effective local response towards issues/concerns/challenges of older persons in their respective communities in Uganda. The approach aims at promoting community self-reliance by stimulating older persons to appreciate their strengths/capacities and actively participate in addressing issues relating to their wellbeing rather than being passive recipients of care.
I have facilitated the creation of the Older Persons’ forum in Entebbe Sub-district with the main purpose of bringing older persons together to discuss issues concerning their wellbeing and to address the loneliness that we have observed in our communities. For the same purpose, I am also developing an idea of creating Lunch Clubs where young people can interact/work together with older persons.
My experience working in varied environments has enabled me to develop a range of practical skills. I am a very experienced Counsellor with ability to manage challenging behaviour effectively, conduct activities safely and communicate with people from diverse backgrounds. Further, I am very creative and I enjoy sourcing materials for better understanding. We are involved in collecting stories from older persons about their life experience. This is done by the young people as one of the intergenerational activity aimed at enhancing unity between the older and the young. My ability to work well with others, motivate and inspire is a very significant contribution in this undertaking.
We would like more skills in story telling and collection, to bring out those good moments that can inspire others to live a dignified life.