My week: Henry Matthews, campaigns coordinator, HelpAge

The campaigns coordinator at HelpAge International keeps in touch with central Asia.

Matthews: plagued by failing technology
Matthews: plagued by failing technology

MONDAY: I meet our new French Canadian protection officer for Darfur, who's here to discuss how his work with older refugees in the camps for displaced people can link to our broader campaign messages. It's amazing to talk to someone who works on the front line, a world away from the comfort of head office. He inspires and questions in equal measure. Gesturing towards the desks, he says: "I see people tapping away at their computers in silence. I don't understand it, but there must be some wisdom in that?" I nod, doubtfully. He's right, we can all become detached from the reason we're here, if we're not careful.

TUESDAY: Technological challenges plague our morning teleconference with partners in eastern Europe and central Asia. We discuss our global campaign, Age Demands Action, and the activities each organisation is planning for the campaign launch on 1 October. With 36 countries taking part, it's hard to keep up with them all.

WEDNESDAY: I spend the morning trying to secure some last-minute endorsements for the big day. We need the great and the good to say just how great and good our campaign is. There's been real progress so far, with Desmond Tutu sending a statement of support. Topping that, though, and a highlight of the week, is finding out that our Nepalese partners have got the oldest man to climb Everest involved in their activities. I Google him to check out his story and email over our global petition for him to sign.

THURSDAY: I talk to our partner organisation in South Africa. They're arranging for a 71-year-old woman who cares for six children orphaned by Aids to come to the UK to lobby for greater support for older carers. At their end, we're setting up training for their older activists to write blogs about their lives. They're as keen as mustard and will no doubt be giving the big-name bloggers something to think about - watch out Clive James.

FRIDAY: I wash up the empty mugs that have accumulated on my desk and start work firming up the web presence for the campaign. I finish the day having typed much more than I've talked. On the way home, I go over our campaign message for the 1,000th time in my head - does it make sense to real people? At dinner with my wife and mother-in-law, a volunteer for Age Concern, I test it out. To my relief, she buys it.

- HelpAge International is a global network promoting the rights of older people.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus