By Ebunoluwa Sessou
Corporate Organizations have been called to promote wellness and fitness of the elderly through Sports and other Recreational activities that would enhance their mental health in the country.
This call was made by the Centre for Gender Economics, CGE, Africa during its 2nd Annual Football Match to commemorate International Day for the Older Persons 2021.
With the theme, ‘My Football, My Therapy’, the CEO, CGE, Uchenna Idoko disclosed that, promoting the initiative would aid the mental and physical health of the aged people to make them feel the sense of belonging in the society.
This is the second football tournament for the Senior Women Association Football League, SEWA FL and the competition started last year.
In Nigeria, October 1 was celebrated as Independent Day but globally, it is the United Nations International Day for Older Persons.
“It was the time to celebrate older people for their contributions to the world and the situation they have found themselves in.
Some of them are in IDP Camps, some have passed through abuse of all sorts and therefore the light is beamed on the Older Persons globally for both the good and the bad times they are going through.
“Some of them are depressed due to abandonment, neglect among other human rights abuses.
“It is painful that Nigerians do not respect their aged people. Some of the aged people die due to rejection by relatives. Some of them have been abandoned by their loved ones.
“This is a strategy for social inclusion. We are looking forward to 2022 for another edition. And fFor us, it was a time for them to have fun and also ensure that their health is enhanced.
We urge organisations to support this tournament for the elderly. We intend to make it a bi-annual or quarterly project for more women to be involved.
“These aged women in the past were consumer of different products of different organizations and this is the time to give back to them.
“We also wish the initiative could be extended to other communities in Lagos state and other areas in Nigeria. This is our own FIFA for the elderly”.
On sustainability, she said, “We have received a grant through Global Affairs, Canada through its project called Women’s Voice and Leadership Project.
“We hope to attract more funding beyond next year and we call on all organizations to see the initiative as the Nation’s Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR to promote their brands.
Also speaking, the Community Mobilizer, Mosunmola Oki, disclosed that the tournament was held between the Itedo and Maiyegun Communities in Lagos.
According to her, it has been fun relating with aged women in the community. To see to their well being. They were happy on the pitch as they were playing football. This is something very rare to see in the country.
They were so happy to partake in the football competition. Some of them have been abandoned by their relatives. Some of these women have been indoor for so long. We have no one to play with.
Although some of them have not seen such an opportunity before, with this gesture, I believe, they will know that the society still cares for them.
I want the government to replicate this programme in all local governments across the country.
The Captain, of Itedo Community Aged Women Football, Temisan Alison, 92 years, said, “I am so happy with the program. It was fun and our hopes have been rekindled.
Also, Adenike Yilu, Captain, Maiyegun Community, 75 years old, expressed her satisfaction. “I thank God for everything although we did not win but there is hope for us. We hope to see more of this programme”.