Cofounder of the Michael and Cecilia Foundation (MCF) and former banking executive Cecilia Ibru has assisted Nigerians in a variety of ways, including through business training, education, and food programs. Since elder care is one of multiple social service programs Cecilia Ibru makes available to the community through the MCF, she welcomes initiatives such as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) that underscore for all segments of the population some of the unique challenges that confront the elderly.
On June 15, 2013, thousands of elders rallied in Lagos, Nigeria, as in many other municipalities, to recognize WEAAD. Initiated in 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA), the day marked a global observance of the difficulties that face aging communities everywhere.
Traditionally, Nigerian families care for family elders. However, extreme poverty sometimes translates into abandonment when adult children cannot earn enough to feed both themselves and their parents. Currently, there are not enough private and public programs to service all the nation’s elders adequately. However, organizations such as Nigeria’s Concern for Elders Initiative (CEI) advocate for improved services for the elderly while others like the MCF provide facilities and elder care programs.
Ageism and elder abuse are not uniquely African concerns, of course. By 2050, the number of people aged 60 and over is expected to account for over half the world’s population. Unfortunately, research has found that around 5% of elders experience some form of financial, emotional, or physical abuse. This suggests that quality-of-life issues facing elders will only increase in coming decades all over the world.
Fortunately, organizations like INPEA and CEI serve to raise awareness of the challenges confronting the elderly through high-profile events like WEAAD.
Nigerian businesswoman Cecilia Ibru has initiated several programs to experiment with farming techniques through the Michael and Cecilia Foundation, which she cofounded with her late husband. Through education about food security and agricultural efficiencies, Cecilia Ibru strives to lift rural Nigerian out of poverty by transforming farming in into a remunerative enterprise.
Food security in the United Kingdom recently entered the spotlight via two high-profile newspaper interviews. First, the chief executive officer of grocery giant Tesco, Philip Clarke, predicted that food prices in the UK would rise in the long term, both in absolute terms and as a proportion of income, a sentiment validated by Professor Tim Benton, the head of the Global Food Security Programme at the University of Leeds, who suggested that food prices will double or even triple in coming years as the middle class in Asia swells and competes for food resources. These startling pronouncements come just two years after Oxfam International warned of a likely doubling in worldwide food prices by 2030. What, then, is the driver behind these predictions?
With the world population set to grow to 9.3 billion by 2050, demand for food will continue to increase for the foreseeable future. Food supplies, on the other hand, will likely strain as agricultural resources are diverted along less efficient routes, such as feed for the meat-producing livestock favored by developed nations. Moreover, ecological factors add still more pressure; in the UK, for example, a recent heat wave threatens to diminish the this year’s pea harvest, according to agricultural corporation Birds Eye.
One of the biggest challenges facing the world today is the future of global food security. Soberingly, this issue impacts everyone in the world and must therefore be addressed cooperatively by both developed and developing nations.