This project brings together researchers from the Centre for Research on Ageing and also the ESRC Centre for Population Change at the University of Southampton, as well as experts from the African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC) in Nairobi.
The project uses a mixed methods approach is to improve our understanding of how social capital, economic, and individual factors interact to enhance the wellbeing of older people living in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya. It combines in-depth qualitative research with quantitative analysis of unique panel data of 2,000 older people aged 50 and over living in two Nairobi slums who have been followed over time.
The study seeks to better understand resilience among older people in coping with stresses and shocks, and how some people are able to adapt and to emerge with better health and socio-economic outcomes and overall wellbeing relative to other older people in these communities. It is envisaged that the findings from this study will inform policies and programmes seeking to alleviate poverty and improve the lives of poor people by enhancing their capabilities and resourcefulness in drawing upon existing capital.
The non-academic audiences who will benefit from this research are international, bilateral and intergovernmental agencies and civil society groups that seek to improve the wellbeing of poor people. The research will also be directly beneficial to government ministries and departments providing social and health services. The findings from this research will inform third sector organizations that are primarily involved with vulnerable and marginalised populations such as slum dwellers and older people by providing evidence-based recommendation to inform their policies and interventions. One such key stakeholder particularly relevant to this study is HelpAge International, whose primary mandate is advocating for the rights of older people nationally and internationally as well as service delivery to improve the wellbeing of older people. HelpAge works directly with older people through targeted initiatives seeking to help older people overcome poverty and improve their wellbeing. It is envisaged that the findings from this study will inform their programs that seek to empower and improve the capacities of older people. This research will raise the profile of older people living in urban areas as a group in need of attention. At the national level, one of the government agencies targeted as a beneficiary for this research is the National Coordinating Agency for Population and Development of Kenya (NCAPD) whose mandate is to 'provide leadership in formulating, coordinating and implementing appropriate population policies and programmes for sustainable development'. This agency has facilitated a number of social and health programs aimed at targeting the poor and the most vulnerable in society. Therefore, findings from the proposed study would be particularly relevant to NCAPD as it would provide the agency with strategic methodology for classification of the vulnerable people in society and highlight areas to be targeted for interventions in order to strengthen the capacity of individuals to utilize available opportunities and increase their abilities. Another initiative that will benefit directly from findings from this research is the newly introduced cash transfer scheme. The government of Kenya through the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development has allocated funds in the fiscal budget to be dispersed to destitute older people. Findings from the study will therefore be beneficial to the government of Kenya in the identification of older people who are potentially vulnerable and in highlighting this segment of older people living in urban areas given that the current focus for the cash transfer scheme are older people living in rural areas. The non-academic beneficiaries mentioned above will be involved throughout the phase of the project and concerted efforts will be put in place to engage with them through various forums. The research findings will be disseminated through a number of channels including consultative meetings with the stakeholders at key stages of the projects. In order to improve on the likelihood of the findings of this research being absorbed by the intended beneficiaries, the stakeholders' communication channels will be utilised. This includes using the existing newsletters and other Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials which have an already established circulation to disseminate the research findings. Electronic publications of the research findings in the investigators and partners' websites will facilitate easy retrieval by the wider public through popular search engines.