Exploring Older People’s Perspectives of Community Organizing: A Photovoice Study in the Philippines

By Crystal Kwan and Christine A. Walsh.

Published by The International Journal of Aging and Society

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Community organizing facilitates older people’s perspectives; mainstreams aging issues in the development process; and is a social welfare intervention that places the realities, needs, and capacities of older people at the forefront of development policy and practice. However the involvement of older people in developing countries has been the subject of little investigation. To address this deficit we undertook a qualitative community-based study to understand older people’s perspectives of community organizing in urban poor and underserved communities in the Philippines. The research objectives are: (1) to understand contributing factors to participation of older people in community organizing, (2) to identify processes and objectives of community organizing for older people, and (3) to understand how community organizing can affect change for older people and the larger community. We used Photovoice, to express their issues and challenges as an individual and as a collective. We found three interconnected themes on older adults' perspectives of community organizing: the traditional Filipino value of “bayanihan,” meaningful participation, and self-sustainability. As demonstrated in this study community organizing is a social welfare intervention used by older people to facilitate changes at the individual, community, and structural level. It mainstreams issues of aging and old age into the development context. Future community and international development practice with older people needs to highlight the unique strengths and capacities of older people as active contributors and leaders in development.

Keywords: Community Organizing, Older People, Photovoice

The International Journal of Aging and Society, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp.15-30. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 286.246KB).

Crystal Kwan

Ph. D Student, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

PhD student in Social Work at the University of Calgary. My areas of focus within social work are international and community development; participatory action research; community organizing and advocacy with older adults. My proposed PhD research is focused on the aging farming population, and its intersections with climate change and food security, in the Philippines. I have a keen interest in integrating creative media techniques with social work research, and promote dissemination through social networks (i.e. YouTube, Facebook and Twitter).

Dr. Christine A. Walsh

Associate Professor, Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada