Join us via Zoom on Tuesday 4 October 2022, as we examine the role of older people within the context of the theme of, “Our health, our planet, our future.”

The session will challenge Commonwealth countries to recognise the need for a more inclusive, multigenerational approach. We will draw on the CommonAge research paper “Ageing in the Commonwealth” which demonstrates the demographic challenges facing Commonwealth countries.

Despite diversity in population dynamics across the Commonwealth, all member nations share one important common trend: the older population is set to grow more quickly than the total population. In the majority of Commonwealth countries, the absolute size of the older population will increase by at least 100% over the next 25 years. These are mostly low- and middle-income countries. Older citizens are an under-recognised resource.

The session will be led by CommonAge Board members: Femada Shamam from South Africa and Andrew Kavala from Malawi, and will take the form of four short opening presentations, followed by a moderated discussion.


  • Femada Shamam (South Africa) – Chief executive officer of The Association for the Aged. Skilled in nonprofit organisations, conference presentations, fundraising, strategic planning and HR management. Femada is a business development professional with a B.Com focused in Management from UNISA.
  • Elie Mugabowishema (Rwanda)  – Founder and president of Nsindagiza, an organisation that started after the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 to support elderly. Elie is also a steering committee member of the Stakeholder Group on Ageing in Africa (SGA). With a master’s degree in projects planning and management, he has 22 years’ experience in project management.
  • Andrew Kavala (Malawi) – CEO of the Malawi Network of Older Persons’ Organisation (MANEPO). He also sits on the steering committee for Stakeholder Group on Ageing in Africa (SGA). Andrew has been a trailblazing advocate for older Malawians, and Africans, for many years.
  • Rev Francis Njuakom (Cameroon) – Founder of CDVTA in Cameroon; a registered development NGO that works for a society where all generations work together in mutual support. Francis holds a degree in social work, a higher national diploma in community development and certificates in social gerontology, advocacy and leadership.

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