Aging in Times of Pandemic


Key Points
● The COVID 19 Pandemic has adversely affected access to basic needs
● This October 1st 2020, marks the 30th Anniversary of the International Day of Older Persons.
● In 2020, for the first time in history, people aged 60 years or over will outnumber children under 5 years
● Dewdrop Foundation is committed to the vision of the UN “Decade of Ageing.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is causing untold fear and suffering for older people across the world. Beyond its immediate health impact, the pandemic is putting older people at greater risk of poverty, discrimination and isolation. It is likely to have a particularly devastating impact on older people in developing countries” – UN Secretary-General António Guterres

In Nigeria, primary healthcare providers in hospitals are challenged with teeming clinic attendance and usually unable to provide adequate healthcare, education and support services to older persons.
The elderly are typically parents or grandparents, living in multiple generational family households, due to limited institutionalized care. Most often, in-home care is provided for the elderly by family members, and sometimes a non-family Caregiver is hired to support the client’s family. Spouses, family members and friends carry out many important responsibilities such as personal care, transportation, management of finances and housekeeping.

This October 1st 2020, marks the 30th Anniversary of the International Day of Older Persons. This year has also been recognized as the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife”. The International Day of Older Persons 2020 will highlight the role of the health care workforce in contributing to the health of older persons, with special recognition of the nursing profession, and a primary focus on the role of women in eldercare. Women are usually taken for granted as Caregivers therefore they are relatively undervalued and, in most cases inadequately compensated, if any.

Dewdrop Foundation (DDF) is a non-profit organization that is working with over 800 elderly persons in 11 project communities in Enugu State. An outcome of our study in this project is the lack of, and critical need for trained and knowledgeable Caregivers in order to promote quality homecare for the elderly population in Nigeria. The difference between a good home Caregiver and a great one often comes down to training. Well-trained Caregivers are better able to handle all the different situations that might arise on the job. They should be proactive and able to anticipate the needs of the older person/client, especially in preventing accidents such as falls and other injuries, thus avoid associated hospitalization costs. They also provide much needed company for their clients in the “lonely old-age”, manage medications and take vital signs, recognize red-flags and act quickly if the patient is having a medical emergency. A good caregiver should also effectively communicate with the family of their client, and the rest of the healthcare team in order to ensure no critical information is missed. Clients and their families can feel secure in the knowledge that a well-trained caregiver is competent and trustworthy.

This October as we celebrate the International Day for Older Persons, we also celebrate our trained Caregivers in rural communities who are committed to caring for the elderly, despite the challenges of living far from quality medical and other social amenities.

Our Dewdrop Foundation team gives a shout out of appreciation to one of our 95 Oxfam-Voice sponsored training beneficiaries, Mr. James Ozoemena Nwaobodo, from Nkerefi community in Enugu State. James is proudly and diligently volunteering his professional caregiving skills for the elderly population in his community.

James was selected as one of the 4 youths who are also primary Caregivers of our project beneficiaries, the “Seenagers” in their community. The “Seenagers” are older persons aged 60 years and above, who are fondly called Senior Teenagers.
James and his colleagues arrived late on the first day of class due to transportation challenges from their remote village in Enugu State. James was dressed roughly and this gave the facilitators a lot of concern about his preparedness and ability. However, his passion for elderly people and eagerness to learn despite his limited education was delightful to the Facilitators, and was infectious on other members of his cohort at the Training Center. Our DDF team members were therefore happy to organize a special class for him and a few others who needed help with basic English communication skills. This enabled him to participate in the training and complete the blended training (in English and the local language, Igbo). He loves taking care of elderly people and they have shown their appreciation by showering him with prayers and blessings. James is one of our key advocates on our #StopElderAbuse campaign.

Dewdrop Foundation’s work with elderly and vulnerable populations will align with the Decade of Healthy Ageing (2020-2030) which is proposed as a global collaboration led by WHO and will bring together governments, international organizations, professionals, academia, the media, the private sector and civil society to improve the lives of older people, their families and our communities.

By Maryanne Kooda
Dewdrop Foundation

2nd Prize Winner of #StopElderAbuse Campaign 2020

Intro by DDF:

Charles Nwodo  qualified for the 2nd prize in the senior category. Below is his winning entry of the Voice sponsored Art Competition, he was selected for impressing the judges with his interest in the subject matter of #StopElderAbuse. He met the criteria of interviewing a Seenager and succinctly capturing the ‘nuggets of wisdom’ that he learnt during the process.  His accompanying artwork also serve as an indication of his willingness to follow competition rules as well as his artistic talent. 

Please read and share to promote the message #StopElderAbuse

2nd Place Winner of 2020, Art Competition

Charles Nwodo



“Turning and turning in the widening gear the falcon can no longer hear the falconer, the center can no longer hold,mere  anarchy is loosed upon the world,  things fall apart -W. B Yeast. 

From the quote above, it is obvious that things have fallen apart in the very sense that the prestige of the society and life in general is no longer respected and revered. By this we mean that respect and value for elders which lead to all sorts of different inhumanity to human in the name of abuse especially towards the elders are taken for granted.Without noticing or realizing the fact that there are lots of nuggets of wisdom that can be achieved from these seenagers. 

With this in mind, we discover that we get some variatable nuggets of wisdom from seenagers which can be highlighted in the life of my seenager in view with the following itemized Nuggets gotten from her because “What an elder sees sitting down, even when a child climbs an iroko tree cannot see it(an Igbo proverb to which promotes the nuggets of wisdom of the Elders). 

So in this write up, I will enumerate and explain equally some of the Nuggets of Wisdom I adopted as a teenager from this my revered seenager,Late Madam Theresa Akubilo Nwodo -Onovo, who was seventy eight(78) years and happens to be my grand mother.  But before I commence it’s good to know what Nuggets of Wisdom is all about and who are actually seenagers. 

-Nuggets Of Wisdom -Nuggets of Wisdom (from adopted seenager) are words of advice culled or gotten from good judgment of life’s stories of this elderly person. 

-Seenager -Seenager can be seen as an elderly person that is from 60 years and above. In other words can be called senior teenager. 


Some Nuggets Of Wisdom From My Seenager Includes ÷

-Prayerfulness-She made me to understand the need for prayers. As Christians we believe that prayers is the means by which we communicate with our God. She expressed our total dependency in God together with our readiness to work physically. She equally lived a life as a devout Christian. 

-Hardworking -I was able to learn from her how to be hardworking, knowing that there is no food for a Lazy man. She was hardworking, still producing palm oil even at her very old age till the point of her ill -health. 

-Sustainability-She worked to sustain herself even when she was alone in the village, the little she had was enough for her. And to me, it was a good thing, and I  was able to learn the spirit of contentment. 

-Love-Love is the key to perseverance. She was so loving and caring. I learnt from her to always love and always pray for my enemies. She always said that “true happiness does not consist in just receiving love. Rather it is a balance of the receiving and the giving of love. 

-Forgiveness -She lived a life of forgiveness. It is one of the good things I learnt, to always forgive my offenders. This I noticed and praised her, that when she was about to give up, she called everybody available both Children and grand Children and apologized, if she had wronged any of us and equally pleads with us to forgive her if in any way she has wronged us, it was for me a good lesson. 

-Humility -The bible made it clear that “whoever humbles himself shall be exalted and who exalts himself shall be humbled “. I learnt from her to always be humble because it is only when you are humble that good things will come to you,  but that does not mean you be a corward.  She lived a humble life through close devotion to our blessed Virgin Mary as a Catholic. Even in her ageing, she always joins other women in sweeping the market place at specified days,  and equally joins the legionaries in their christian task of the home to home visit and the care of the sick and aged in the community. With this now, I learnt the virtue of selflessness and communitarian spirit. 

-Obedience -She always  quote the biblical passage to us from the book of 1 Sam 15 vs 22.The bible teaches us that “Obedience is better than sacrifice “. So in view of that, as Christians and responsible individuals we have to be obedient to instructions from our superiors. 

-Truthfulness /Sincererity -A sincere person is a trustworthy person, she often advices and admonishes me to always say the truth at each time, “because he who says the truth, clears his conscience “. She always frowns at insincerity. I remembered the time she scolded my elder brother so furiously about lies and trying to play pranks with the notion that it does more  harm than good. 

-Cheerfulness-She taught me to be cheerful and happy even in the midst of tribulations. That’s why in times of trials you see her always smiling even at difficult times of her sickness. 

-Good Character and morality -Good character and morality is something every responsible human being should have, and she was a woman of honor and  good character which is shown in her tittle in the church as “Ezinne”that is “the good mother in 2012.

However, there  are other nuggets of Wisdom I can remember Which came as a result of my close interaction with her as her grand child.  And some of them are on the following issues÷

I can remember my sister asking her in one of our discussions with her when we visited her, she asked, “Mama why are marriages  noticed this days to be failing and the cause?.” And she gave us a wonderful advice which is;

*Family and Marriage -Marriage partners should be tolerant, kind and respectful towards each other. They should be sympathetic to each other, listen to the other’s problem and concerns and try to take an interest in their partner. She also said “genital contact is not the most important aspect of marriage. It is only one aspect of what should be a deep, well developed caring relationship. 

*On family -She said, the loving and lively family nest is the basin of future mental and moral health within society. 


On War and Peace :

Then I asked equally about the situation of Nigeria and our going to war again to regain our freedom, she sighed and told me, “my son instead of to advocate for a war, better we go into dialogue remembering with great deal of dispair what they went through during the Nigerian -Biafran war of 1967 which killed an estimate of 3.5 million people including his brother and her little niece who died as a cause of disease and illness during the war. 


With all this, I discovered that abuse of an elder is not only a taboo to the present generation who through one way or another inflict pain to the elderly person but equally bring curse on themselves because “Ageing is a blessing “and if we cannot secure this blessing now, how can we move on in this present and future generation?. This is because the book of Proverb 17 vs 6 tells us that “The Crown of the aged is their children’s children, the children’s glory in their parents “. Also the words of Wisdom from people like Picasso who said “we don’t get older, we get riper “. We see that the Nuggets of Wisdom are not only important and beneficial to us the teenagers it is a gift from God to humanity. 


Therefore, I will conclude by remembering the words of Samuel Tarloy Coleridge, who said “I have often thought what a Melancholy world this would be without Children ;and what an inhuman world without the aged”.  

I vehemently honour all the Seenagers of the world in different levels of old age, as well as tenderly apologize in my little capacity through this medium to all those seenagers who have been abused either, physically, psychologically, sexually, financially, spiritually and otherwise. Then I equally wish in a most profound way to salute and honour the United Nation (UN) who deemed it neccessary and worthwhile to map out these days in every year (June 15th and October 1st)  for the elders all over the world. In thesame vein,  I joyfully dough my cap for all the promoters of stop Elder Abuse, especially Dewdrop foundation who through them this awareness is brought to limelight. 



                          Nwodo Charles  C. 

                          On My Eighteenth Birthday 26/May /2020

                          St. Vincent De Paul Seminary, 

                           Agbogugu, Agwu Local Government. 

        Thanks to you All….Stay Safe… God bless 



At inception, NAPTIP faced the onerous tasks of first introducing itself to the Nigerian public, and then to explain why human trafficking was a crime, in view of the fact that most of the practices constituting the crime stemmed from traditional and accepted social norms such as fostering, travelling abroad for greener pastures, and the free choice of some women to earn a living from prostitution.

Public Enlightenment
In the first eight years of the Agency, it adopted a strategy of massive public enlightenment, and engagement with vulnerable groups in order to provide them with information on the antics of traffickers.
This was combined with strong advocacy to opinion and political leaders at community, local government, state and federal levels, to ensure cultural change and secure political support.

Law enforcement
In the area of law enforcement, the Agency embarked on confidence-building measures with existing Law Enforcement Agencies like the Nigeria Police, Nigeria Immigration Service and the Directorate of State Services, in order to enroll their support and cooperation in enabling the Agency realise its mandate.
In addition, NAPTIP undertook the training of officers of these Organisations on the rudiments of human trafficking, and facilitated the effectiveness of their Anti-Human Trafficking Units.

National Plan of Action (2009 – 2012)
In 2009, the Agency, along with its partners, developed a National Plan of Action structured on the four thematic areas of Prevention, Protection, Prosecution and Partnership. The Plan, which was subsequently approved by the Federal Executive Council, set out to achieve the following:
• Mass (public) participation and ownership of the Plan of Action;
• A multi-dimensional and multi sectoral approach to its implementation;
• Inter-agency collaboration and participation with emphasis on public, private, partnership;
• An integrated gender sensitive component in all key implementation approaches especially in view of the growing feminization of the TIP/FL phenomenon;
• Capacity building awareness raising and direct assistant as key components of the multi-dimensional approach;
• Strengthening international and regional cooperation;
• The effective management of the TIP/FL and related data and information through the indigenization and domestication of the evaluation and monitoring (Quality Control) mechanisms and personnel of programme implementation, especially as they relate to national security and development;
• The marketing of good practices for replication and adoption nationwide, and in endemic states and communities.

Most of the objectives of the National Plan of Action were achieved in the life-span of the Plan, but coordination and collaboration among law enforcement agencies and service providers remained a major challenge.

NAPTIP Strategic Plan (2012 – 2017)
At the expiration of the National Plan of Action, the Agency developed a comprehensive strategic plan in line with the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons.
The Plan aims to tackle human trafficking in 5 broad areas:
• Strengthening law enforcement and prosecutorial response to issues of TIP, including effective assets tracing and forfeiture;
• Reinforcing public enlightenment, using various mediums, including movies, drama and documentaries to create greater awareness on the real impact of trafficking;
• Expanding platforms for victim protection and assistance and addressing factors which increase vulnerability;
• Strengthening partnerships at national, regional and international levels; and
• Improving organizational development to enhance effective and efficient work culture in order to fulfil our national mandate.

The Agency has worked assiduously to establish partnerships for enforcing mutual legal agreements against trafficking in persons, with countries in West and Central Africa, and signed bilateral cooperation agreements with various countries, including the United Kingdom, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Norway, Switzerland, Finland, Benin and Sweden.
Other efforts made by NAPTIP in the last two years include:
• Broadening of the Agency’s public enlightenment drive by developing and airing a television drama series on major networks in Nigeria, on the issue of Human Trafficking;
• Establishment of the “Victims of Trafficking Trust Fund” wherein monies realized from the sale of confiscated and forfeited assets of a convicted trafficker are paid for the benefit of survivors;
• Development of Standard Operational Manuals for key stakeholders;
• Development of an effective National Referral Mechanism (NRM) for better service delivery to victims;
• Evolution of a positive corporate culture for the Agency
• Continuous review of operational guidelines in line with experiences elicited from actual operations;
• Evidence-based research to aid in planning and programming;
• Advocacy and Public Enlightenment Initiatives (community mobilization, awareness raising and intervention projects;
• Re-enactment of the Agency’s enabling Act to enhance law enforcement and to remove ambiguities in judicial proceedings.

The modest achievements of NAPTIP over the last 10 years reinforce the importance of a strong coordination mechanism in the form of specific institutional and legal frameworks in the efforts to stem Trafficking in Persons. An Institutional National Rapporteur focuses national efforts, enhances accountability and responsibility, creates a core of professionals with capacity to effectively fight Trafficking in Persons, and to adapt to the evolving antics of traffickers. A specific Agency and legislation also enhances international cooperation on Trafficking in Persons, as it provides a unified and timely national response.


Dewdrop Foundation Observes UN day for Rural Women

International Day of Rural Women
15 October

According to the United Nations, Women and girls are disadvantaged in this pandemic, a problem aggravated in rural areas. Rural women, with a crucial role in agriculture, food security and nutrition, already face struggles in their daily lives. Now, since COVID-19 and their unique health needs in remote areas, they are less likely to have access to quality health services, essential medicines, and vaccines. Restrictive social norms and gender stereotypes can also limit rural women’s ability to access health services. Furthermore, a lot of rural women suffer from isolation, as well as the spread of misinformation, and a lack of access to critical technologies to improve their work and personal life.

Dewdrop Foundation building rural women’s resilience in the wake of COVID-19

The theme for this International Day of Rural Women is “Building rural women’s resilience in the wake of COVID-19,” to create awareness of these women’s struggles, their needs, and their critical and key role in our society.

Dewdrop Foundation in partnership with Center for Gender Economics (CGE) Africa organised a leadership workshop for the executives of the Seenagers Association from the 11 Oxfam-Voice sponsored project communities in South East Nigeria. The aim of the workshop is to equip the executives with the relevant leadership skills necessary for carrying on the smooth running of the Seenagers Association affairs at the close out of our project as part of the sustainability plans for the Association.

The executives of the Seenagers (“Senior Teenagers”) Association were trained on leadership, inclusive governance, nutrition, eldercare and healthcare.
In attendance at the workshop were executives from Ojiagu Agbani, Ishienu – Nkerefi, Akpuoga – Nike, Ndiagu – Owo, Amechi – Idodo, Umuode and Akwuke Communities.
The Dewdrop Foundation team trained the Seenagers executives on leadership & inclusive governance, nutrition & environmental cleanliness, eldercare and healthcare. On Leadership they were taught the necessary skills a good leader should possess which includes being just, integrity, the ability to delegate, empathy, self-awareness, ability to effectively communicate and so on. They were also enlightened on the different styles of effective Leadership. This will equip them to effectively run the affairs of the Association with little inputs from the community leaders and stakeholders.

On Nutrition and Environmental Cleanliness for the elderly, the importance of healthy nutrition in older adults were explained to the Seenagers and the different kinds of food that provide the elderly with more nutrients and less calories such as food rich in protein, calcium, carbohydrate, fruits and vegetables. The interventions on difficulty in healthy eating and healthy food choices was briefly discussed. On environmental cleanliness, the Seenagers were trained on the importance of ensuring that their environment is always kept neat especially their safe space where they hold the monthly meetings. They were advised to assign a few youths to see to the constant cleaning of their safe space for the monthly meetings and also their homes.

On basic healthcare, they were taught the importance of daily exercise as a component of healthy lifestyle, the proper routine medications that would help boost the immune system and make them stronger and healthier. Common health challenges of the elderly and basic interventions of same and emergency management were also taught.
On Eldercare, they were trained about the basic needs of the elderly which includes, mobility & transfer, feeding, grooming, toileting, medication, social life, safety and security.

Sr. Judith Nwodo of Dewdrop Foundation gave a summary of all that was taught while engaging the Seenagers in a question and answer session. She further explained to the Seenagers in areas where they had confusions. She emphasized more on leadership stating that the executives at the end of our Voice sponsored project would carry the on with the Association with inputs from the community leaders as they would own the association as theirs. A standard meeting agenda and meeting toolkit was distributed to the executives from each community.

“It has been so much of a delight learning so much at this workshop, indeed we are grateful to the Foundation for ensuring elderly people are not forgotten. Today we have been impacted with the relevant knowledge to carry on the affairs of our Seenagers Association and we pledge not to let it down.” said Mr. Moses Ani the chairman of Ojiagu Agbani Seenagers Association.


Read More:


Little Morawo definitely learnt a lot in the process of entering this competition.  During her interview she showed exceptional passion for the importance of caring  for the elderly. She said the main message for the youth is “it is important to respect the elderly so they will be happy in their old age”. Morawo told us about her “adopted Seenager” her  grandmother Mrs. Nusiratu Ikolaba. Morawo’s art entry provided a very useful criteria for picking her as the 3rd runner up of the Art competition in the primary level. She won a cash prize of N25,000

Please read and share to promote the message #StopElderAbuse



Being old is a blessing and not a curse, because we will all someday grow old except if death come knocking early. The word “Seenager” is coined from the word “Teenager” which is used to describe an elderly person that is older than sixty years old, they are referred to as older Teenager. In this article, I will be examining the life of a particular Seenager.

The Seenager I am adopting is my grandmother Mrs. Nusiratu Ikolaba, she’s an 81 years old widow, a native of Oyo state and a devoted Christian; a go-to woman who is often regarded to as mother of all. She had a vibrant youthful life as a businesswoman having five children to cater for. Presently, she has retired from active service due to old age, as a result, she relies on her children to cater for her needs. She once told me that back in the days, she made all possible efforts to train her children in the right way so that when she is old, they would be capable of taking care of her needs and that of their immediate family members.

It’s always a period of immense joy when we have topics to talk about; as such, the issue of elder abuse came up. With a big sigh, she said it is indeed a broad topic because it defers from place to place, person to person and time to time. In other words, elder abuse is peculiar to various individuals, but the overall knowledge is when an elderly person is exploited emotionally, physical, sexually, or financially. Anything that causes undue hardship or neglect of the welfare of an elderly person is termed “elder abuse”. According to my grandmother, she feels an elder is been abused when their rights are infringed and when they are not allowed to go where they desire to. My grandmother said every good or bad behavior begins in a home so, parents should endeavor to train their children in the right way to avoid negative consequences in the young and nearest future.


Furthermore, she also pointed that elder abuse can be prevented in the family and community by taking care of the welfare of the aged in our individual families and society at large. Younger family members should pay regular visit to their old parents with their children to make it a memory time for the seenagers. She also said that social welfare programs and insurance packages should be encouraged and utilized by other family members whereby, funds are saved for future use of the seenager in question. They should also benefit from the government health plans which is to cater for their health need due to old age. The aged should be celebrated on social occasion such as, wedding anniversaries, birthdays to mention a few this is to keep them happy and prevent them from suffering from terminal diseases such as hypertension and neglect induced sicknesses.

The thought of COVID-19 has become a “new normal” to the old and young of this world; believe me we had a worthwhile period as she had a lot to say. The emergence of Civid-19 was a shock beyond man’s comprehension. A global pandemic that has rendered all global activities to a halt. She said it is indeed alarming compared to some other previous epidemics she has heard of since her existence and how it is really eating deep to the fiber and economy of countries and communities. For every cause,  there are always effects I have learnt and so, she made mention of how this pandemic has affected her and these are not limited to;  restriction of her movement as she is unable to visit some of her friends and they too could not come visiting due to restriction of movement. Physical church activities are not allowed to hold as well because a ban has been placed on religious gathering due to the number of people that congregate as against the minimum number of people that are allowed to gather to curb the spread of the virus. There is no easy access to medical facilities as people are advised not to pay unnecessary visit to hospitals been an environment that is prone to have high risk of contact. Her love for fresh fruits and vegetables cannot be over emphasized, however, shortage of these commodities made her miss her daily edibles.

Inconclusion, for every effect or events, she said we had means of managing such occurrence, she suggested ways of how to prevent any adverse impact of Covid-19 on an aged person which are not limited to, practice self-hygiene always, avoid rowdy environment and gathering, people should take more natural supplements such as ginger, garlic, turmeric and other supplements to boost their immune system; she also suggested putting Christmas melon popularly called ‘’Tangiri’’ in Yoruba at strategic corners of our homes to get rid of viral diseases. To cap it, she advised that we all cooperate with the government and relevant authorities in order to get rid of the Virus soon.







The first of October every year is the International Day of older persons. To mark this day, Dewdrop Foundation team was at the New Kuchingoro Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on the 2nd of October 2020, to bring smiles on the faces of the elderly persons in the camp who have seen little or no interventions to cater for their welfare. We celebrated with them the International Day of Older Persons as well as the Global Decade of Health Ageing (2020-2030). We inaugurated the first older persons’ association in the camp – a meeting platform for persons aged 60 years and above. This is called the Seenagers Association.

“Because the elderly generally face social, political, economic, and gender exclusion in communities, Dewdrop Foundation establishes Seenagers Associations (safe platforms for elderly persons to meet and discuss issues of concern to them) with the aim of finding solutions to their most pressing problems – be they related to health, economic or social issues”, said Ms. Nneka Egbuna, the Assistant Programme Coordinator of Dewdrop Foundation, in her address.

These platforms have been very beneficial in promoting their rights and dignifying their voices as has been evident in over 11 communities in South East Nigeria, where Dewdrop Foundation, in partnership with Centre for Gender Economics (CGE) Africa have been working to criminalize elder abuse through a project funded by Oxfam/Voice. There has been a noticeable shift in the attitude of the community members towards the elderly in accepting them as individuals with valuable contributions to the society.

“On behalf of the old people in the camp, I thank Dewdrop Foundation for caring for our elderly, may God bless you”, said Hannatu, the female camp coordinator.

Ageing exposes men and women to prejudice, isolation, abandonment, and disabilities such as mental health disorders like Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. In Nigeria, one in over ten people aged 65 years and above, and over 50% of those over 85 years old, have Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is not well known in local communities therefore the elderly persons who suffer from it are often labelled “mad” and in some extreme case are called “witches” due to their “mental disability” caused by the disease. This has led to elderly people being tortured and suffering untold abuse from their family members and caregivers in the local communities without recourse because they have “no voice”.

Elderly people (especially widows) in many local communities suffer a lot of abuse or physical torture in secret. Sadly, there is very limited recourse for elderly persons. Findings from a baseline survey conducted by Dewdrop Foundation and CGE Africa in 2019, established that older persons experience physical, emotional, neglect, sexual and financial abuse. Nearly 3 in 10 older persons across ten communities reported experiencing some form of abuse and/or neglect. Emotional abuse was the most common type of abuse observed, followed by neglect, then financial abuse, sexual abuse and physical abuse. Of those who were physically abused, many of them had broken bones.

Nigeria’s elderly population is increasing rapidly. According to the National Council on Ageing (2016) persons in Nigeria aged 65 years and above, made up 3.1% or 5.9 million of the total population of 191 million. The World Health Organization (WHO) observes that most older people live in developing countries. In 2020, for the first time in history, people aged 60 years or over will outnumber children under 5 years. By the end of the Decade of Healthy Ageing (2020–2030), the number of people aged 60 years and older will be 34% higher, increasing from 1 billion in 2019 to 1.4 billion. There is no comprehensive law on the care and welfare of older persons in Nigeria. This calls for concern.

To promote healthy ageing in Nigeria, there is the need for the protection of elderly persons’ rights to employment and retirement choices; increased attention to the nutrition of older people to reduce malnutrition that leads to dependency; as most health systems are not designed to cater for the chronic ailments of older persons, adequate health and social care needs of the ever-increasing numbers of older people is essential; and continuous learning and personal growth should not stop because a person is old. Additionally, we call for the implementation of sensitization campaigns and the training of caregivers on dementia, which is one of the causes of elder abuse.

Nneka Acholonu Egbuna
Assistant Programme Coordinator, Dewdrop Foundation

Causes of Human Trafficking in South East Nigeria


Human trafficking also known as “Trafficking in Persons” means the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve consent of a person, for the purpose of exploitation. Men, women, and children are trafficked for many purposes – sexual exploitation, begging, underpaid and exploited forced labor in the agricultural, manufacturing and construction industries, domestic service and organ harvesting.
Looking into the cause of trafficking in persons in the south eastern region of Nigeria, the people who are at most risk of being trafficked being the vulnerable most often than not, women and girls. This vulnerability is caused by a long range of factors. Some of which are:


1. Lack of education/Vocational Training and Skills:

Lack of education especially for people in the rural parts of eastern Nigeria can lead to decreased opportunities for work at a living wage, and it can also lead to a decreased knowledge in rights. Both outcomes can cause people to be at a greater vulnerability for human trafficking. In prevention of trafficking, education and training in vocational skills can also empower children to make changes in their community as they grow older that will prevent situations and vulnerabilities of which traffickers take advantage

2. Demand for cheap labour/demand for sex:

Basic economics tell us that for a market to form, supply and demand need to exist. The demands for cheap labor and for commercialized sex lead to opportunities for traffickers to exploit people. This though is not unique to the south eastern part of Nigeria. Traffickers can make a large profit by producing goods and services through cheap or free labor and selling the products or services at a higher price. Commercialized sex is a lucrative market that allows traffickers and pimps to become the only profiteer from their victims through an endless cycle of buyers and high prices.

3. Widespread Gender Inequality/Patriarchy:

In south eastern Nigeria, the Igbos to be precise, importance has always been attached to a male child more than a female or indeed any full grown woman. The obsession for a male child in every Igbo family, and in Africa generally stood a restriction to the efforts and further contributions of women. This cultural preference for the male child and restrictions against the female had hindered the development of women and denied them self-actualization. Widespread gender discrimination that denies women their rights, as well as attitudes that tolerate violence against women and consider women and girls inferior result in objectification and support the existence of trafficking that delivers women and girls into appalling living and working conditions. Destitute families are vulnerable to persuasion to hire out or sell their children because they lack adequate resources to provide for their family. Girls are most vulnerable to this form of commercial exploitation as the boys are set to be raised by the families and sometimes from returns received from the girl child trafficked.

4. Communal Conflicts (Siting the Ezza/Ezza-Ezillo, Ebonyi State Communal Conflicts and the Oruku/Umuode, Enugu State Communal Conflicts):

Communal clashed like these increase the vulnerability of women and children, promote dramatic survival strategies such as prostitution and often involve the abduction of women and children into armed groups/factions. Increased poverty of survivors particularly widows and female headed-households, is an endemic feature of armed conflicts. Migration as a response to armed conflict and insecurity results in exposing the most vulnerable to an array of dangers including discrimination, sexual violence, intimidation, recruitment into armed forces and trafficking. A significant portion of females in the eastern part of Nigeria could be seen as culturally submissive. Despite recent urbanization, many traditional social norms remain intact, and even well-educated women can still have marginal status. Women cannot inherit property, even if they are the only remaining heir. thus, women are trapped within a rigid hierarchy where the will of men is to be respected, this makes them extremely vulnerable to the manipulation and influence of traffickers.

5. The Greed of Traffickers:
Above many other factors that cause human trafficking are the traffickers themselves. Beyond cultural practices, the profit, vulnerabilities of certain people groups, lack of human rights, economic instability, and more, traffickers are the ones who choose to exploit people for their own gain. While many of these factors may play into the reasons why traffickers get into the business, they still make a willful decision to enslave people against their will—either because of the profit or because of a belief that certain people are worth less or because of a system of abuse and crime that they were raised in. Trafficking ultimately exists because people are willing to exploit others into trafficking situations.


Education and training to sensitize the population:
Education is necessary to enlighten the population and to sensitize persons to the consequences of child trafficking. Education supportive of, and combined with social mobilization is urgently needed. In order to succeed, this proposal must recognize the sensitive subject matter of child trafficking. The material must be designed in such a way that it allows educators to present questions and issues, which might otherwise be rejected by illiterate populations. One way of doing this might involve the publication of books with animations or pictures to allow educators to touch these delicate issues. This results in a pattern of Information – Education – Communication.

The capitalization of experiences:

Trafficked victims constitute a significant source of information and their experiences should be used in the design of rehabilitation programmes and strategies of prevention. Strengthening structures on the ground: structure providing initiatives aimed at prevention are many and varied. Among these are public and private sector structures at the local, regional, national or international level. It is essential and urgent to undertake an evaluation of competences and needs for these structures in order to, on one hand, identify those which provide true interventions, and on the other hand, to strengthen their capacities by providing them with the means to strengthen their skills and to become more professional. In order to accomplish this, it would be advisable to identify the types of assistance necessary for the existing structures in order to assist them in the specialization in socio-educational matters aimed at creating true professionals in the area of child protection.

Information, sensitization, training:

In the field of awareness raising and sensitization, actions must be aimed at the general population. Particular attention must be given to people living in areas of the country where children are at high risk of and are vulnerable to human trafficking (recruitment zones) and the transit and destination zones where child labour is occurring and children are being exploited. In a 103 number of these localities, local committees have been set up to take actions aimed at prevention of the phenomenon. The following targets should be addressed:
• The children (those at risk, trafficked victims, children in school, etc.)
• Individuals and their families (those families providing children as well as those who use trafficked children)
• Socio-professional, religious groups and the civil society (community leaders, traditional chiefs, organizations addressing the needs of children or (young) women, etc.)
• Public / Government services (police and security officers, lawyers, prosecutors, judges, safety, health care personnel, etc.)
• Media Actions must be multi-sectoral: actions must be aimed to increase economic resources, to establish and develop places for meeting and training, to provide basic structural actions or to work on direct changes of behaviours. These actions can be divided into a number of basic categories to include education, awareness raising at the village level and strengthening other areas to include economic assistance and registration of births.

Actions include:

1. Education / vocational training:
• Mandatory school attendance and school obligation reinforcement (sanction for parents whose child drops out of school) and establishment of alternative educational systems for children from 10 to 14 years
• Support and improvement of school infrastructures (quality and capacity)
• Introduction of school canteens to encourage school attendance of children who live far from the school • Improvement of the system of community teachers in order to mitigate the lack of teachers and prevent school drop outs
• Assistance for literacy programmes particularly in vulnerable zones and to women
• Introduction into the school programmes of specific modules relating to the rights of the child, especially in the primary education
• Dissemination of the experience of the UNICEF initiative “girls for girls” in the primary schools
• Address the issue of sexual abuse of pupils by their teachers; this initiative and similar projects would address the issue of school drop outs and the refusal of the parents to send their children to school

2. Creation of vocational training and the sensitizing of the population about the conditions to access apprenticeships and other training possibilities Awareness raising:
• Elaboration and distribution of sensitization and awareness raising materials (posters, comic strips, tee-shirts, audio and audio-visual material)
• Institutionalization of a two-week holiday programme for children, which would take place on an annual basis. Demonstrations on child rights and human trafficking would be part of the programme and involve participation of the children
• Compilation of texts of existing laws on human trafficking and their oral dissemination within the communities
• Creation of awareness through radio campaigns in the local communities aimed at the general population and in particular, at the children
• Public awareness campaign on the importance of education for children and the necessity to complete their education, particularly aimed at the female child
• Production and dissemination of radio and television spots Income generation:
• Promotion of opportunities for economic assistance to reduce the factors which place vulnerable families at risk

3. Introduction of income generating activities integrated with education for women to lift the standard of living of the families Activities at the village / community level:
• Support for the creation of socio-educational and leisure time spaces in the villages
• Creation of clubs for children in the communities and establishment of a meeting point for a dialogue between parents and children
• Old local committees must be involved in the fight against child labour and child trafficking; new local committees must be established which will be used to interact and stimulate all associations and actors in a given geographical territory; the involvement of members of the local committees must be strengthened to allow for a more efficient organization of their training, for prevention activities, assistance and follow-up to the reintegrated children, and to increase their capacity of intervention for the establishment and execution of a community-based alert system
• Setting up socio-community structures to counsel and provide orientation to out-of-school children
• At the community level or aimed at a specific target group, it is necessary to support the elaboration of a plan of action aimed at seeking solutions to identified problems. The execution of this plan of action should be established and monitored by a representative internal committee. The committee should prioritize the problems and define the strategies and means of mobilization to gradually solve the difficulties

Other initiatives:
• Compulsory registration of births and awareness raising campaign for the systematic registration of births; dissemination of information on the procedures for registration; support must be given to community leaders and health workers, they must be provided with materials and training to register births;
• Creation of a framework for periodic consultation of actors and agencies working in the field of child protection (local level and central level)
• Elaboration of a book of specifications for the fight against child trafficking
• Promotion of the community systems of health (e.g. family planning, psychological and medical programmes)
• Development of a research action plan • Assistance with establishing professional training for a ‘domestic helper’ branch

1 Female Husbands in Igbo Land: Southeast Nigeria by Kenneth Chukwuemeka Nwoko, Ph.D.

2 Trafficking of women in Nigeria: causes, consequences and the way forward by Linus Akor1

3 Communal conflicts in Nigeria: an examination of Ezillo and ezza-ezillo conflict of Ebonyi state, (1982-2012) by Dr. R.O. Oji, Department of Political Science, Enugu State University, Enugu. Eme, Okechukwu Innocent, Nwoba, Hyacinth A. Department of Public Administration and Local Government Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

4 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Measures to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings in Benin, Nigeria and Togo September 2006

5 National Rapporteurs on trafficking in persons and equivalent mechanisms in addressing trafficking in persons (NREMs) Institutional Framework – Nigerian perspective by Godwin E. Emorka; Assistant Director, Research and Programme Development
National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons (NAPTIP), Nigeria.

Contact Info


Abuja Office: 5A River Benue Street, Maitama – Abuja Nigeria

Enugu Office: 24 Bishop Onyeabor Street, Enugu Nigeria

Phone:(+234) 908 016 1319 (+234) 903 311 6601


Subscribe to receive inspiration, ideas, and news in your inbox.

Copyright © 2020. DAMADIMEDIA All Rights Reserved