1 minute read

Intergenerational Programming

International Intergenerational Programming Efforts

The value of intergenerational programs as a forum for social change is being explored as a global phenomenon. In countries around the world there are local and national intergenerational programming initiatives that are being developed to study and address specific social issues. Global intergenerational programs concern education, literacy, housing, and unemployment of the young and old. They address issues of violence, poverty, the environment, and technology in their societies and, in particular, the impact on communities' elderly and younger members. A special focus of international intergenerational initiatives is the revitalization of communities. This focus, evident in countries as varied as the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Uganda is frequently related to rebuilding the family. In the Netherlands, intergenerational programs are being developed to solve some of the problems related to the integration of immigrant families into the Dutch culture. In these programs where the grandparents have been left behind, the youth (i.e., Moroccan and Croatian) are linked with older Dutch mentors and tutors. In South Africa and Uganda, in communities where HIV has all but decimated a generation of parents the grandparents, and other older adults collaborate in caring for the communities' children. Informal intergenerational programs are providing supplies and education to these caregivers who are trying to rebuild both the family structure and the sense of community.

Intergenerational programs are evident at different stages of development in countries within Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, North and South America (Hatton-Yeo and Ohsako 2000). Fundamental to many of the international intergenerational initiatives are concerns related to the changing families in these countries and the role of children and older adults within the family and within the community at large. Many countries need to share ideas and problems related to the family and seek cross-national solutions.

A growing global interest in intergenerational initiatives has given rise to the creation of the International Consortium for Intergenerational Programmes (ICIP), an organization dedicated to supporting the development of intergenerational programs and practices as agents for social change. ICIP will foster intergenerational approaches to issues of community revitalization, crossgenerational learning, generational cohesiveness, and quality of life for a nation's old and young. This nascent organization hopes to become the vehicle for networking, program development and exchange of information and research to facilitate intergenerational initiatives that meet the social needs of diverse countries across the world.

Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaRelatives & Extended FamilyIntergenerational Programming - Rationale—why Now?, Program Models, Intergenerational Interactions, Impact On Families, International Intergenerational Programming Efforts