Video message from Dr John Beard, Director for Life Course and Ageing Department, World Health Organization, at the ComSA Forum 2017 on Friday, 18 August. Watch here.
SWING is a community development strategy and a process that facilitates older people’s participation in their own community. Once organised, SWING focuses on bringing older people and other local residents together and helps them take action that will promote wellness, address their needs and the needs of those around them. This action is decided in the SWING group through discussions in meetings.
Actions are taken by the SWING group members in the local community, by organising events or activities at the local level. Over time, this process can help develop the individual and the local community to proactively engage each of its residents—cultivating civic mindedness as a whole.
How do we do it?
The basis of SWING is the local group. It is here that members are helped to become aware of their surroundings, to reflect on their level of wellness, and to plan actions for change. Groups are normally established from among those who have completed the SCOPE Programme.
Initially, they meet weekly for eight weeks to learn about their role in the community, understand how they can work together despite their diversity and develop their action plan, using a set of enquiries. The learning and formation of SWING follows an interactive and highly participatory process. At the end of the 8-week formation, the elders will decide on the issues they can work on relating to the promotion of wellness, community change, on behalf of older people. It is first and foremost a movement of, and for, older adults.