Sciences sociales et humaines
General and specifie objectives of an education
in view of caring for the elderly in
Université de Cocody, Abidjan (Côte d'Ivoire).
As African people, we are supposed to be without
ageing problems. But in reality, change has occurred.
For a long time Africa remained outside the Mutations were brought in by our contact with other
problems of old age. The number of the elderly
civilizations, and we now do meet with difficulties and
was relatively reduced, very rare specimens of
problems created by old age.
people lived long enough to be real old persons with
ln order to suggest a few proposais for an education
that equips us to care for the elderly in our countries,
New realities have generated new conditions of life
1will first of ail state the content of the recent research
and, more and more people are now attainirïq a
work undertaken on the ageing process and situation
greater age. Thus, within the coming decades, a
in Africa. In a second part, 1 will present my metho-
serious attention should be paid to the process of
dological approach in relation to my research activities
ageing as much as to the sociological changes that
or old age and the aims of the present article. A third
would inevitably be brought about with the increasing
part will show the change occurring both in the attitude
number of years of life ahead of an aged person.
of people and in the evo\\ution of the situation of the
Instead of waiting for the situation to be created before
elderly. A fourth part will be devoted to the conditions
seeking solutions, as a research worker, 1have started
for a decision making that will ensure success. The
collecting information for a number of years now.
fifth one will suggest aims for an education of adults,
Usually, African people tend to make provisions for
youth, children in Atricato help care for the elderly, a
death only, seldom for Iife or for old age; but
situation that most people still take for granted. A sixth
nowadays, our new environment requires a thorouqh
and last part will draw attention to some environmental
reflection based on scientific research to propose
conditions required in our everyday lives for an
approaches to seek. solutions in order to face the
education to prepare the people to care for the elderly
difficulties that come with old age.
in Africa to take place.
Literature survey
librarian, but only a few articles in the encyclopaedia
gave sorne information under entries such as 'gériartrie',
My literature survey will be twofold. First of aIl, 1 will
'gérontologie', 'vieillesse', and 'vieillissement'.
report my reading about old age, and next, 1 will
The first important book 1 came across in a books hop
mention sorne of what scientists produced when it
is Histoire de la vieillesse', The book presents a survey
cornes to defining educational objectives.
from Antiquity to the XXIh century, but its concem is
On old age
In his introduction, the author states : 'The Third
When, in the early 90s, 1 started reflecting on the
World countries, those in the tropical and equatorial
subject of old age provision in Côte d'Ivoire, the books
area, that possess elderly people, do not face the old
discussing such a problem were rather scarce. 1
age problem experienced, in the rich countries, those
searched the university Jibrary, met with the head
in the tempera te zones of the northem hemisphere".
DUBOIS J. P., Histoire de la vieil/esse, Paris, PUP, 1994.
2 DUBOIS 1.P., Op. Cit., p. 4« Les pays du Tiers Monde, ceux de l'espace tropical et équatorial, qui ont des vieillards, n'ont pas le problème de la vieillesse
posé dans les pays riches, ceux de l'espace tempéré de l'hémisphère Nord ».
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Sciences sociales et humaines
The book shows the evolution of ideas about old age
The abundant work of Margret Baltes on ageing, in
throughout the centuries. Exarnples mention important
'Gerontology', 'The Psychology of the oldest : the
aged persons who in their days were showered with
fourth age', 'Gender in very old age', 'Ageing and
honour such as Victor Hugo (1802 - 1885) in France,
Mental health', to quote but a few titles, enables her to
Guillaume le< (1797 - 1888) in Germany, Guiseppe
present in her two-page articles a large amount of
Verdi (1813 - 1901) in Italy. The last chapter presents
information. She suggests a readjustment of aims and
the situation in the 20th century when more people
means in order to minimise the losses in function and
seem to live longer. One part of the chapter is entitled
maximise the objectives. While growing old, a person
'dependent old age'. It shows how the society takes
should limit his or her objectives in order to do what
over a role formerly assigned to the families. A fact is
he or she really enjoys and thus acquire new types of
underlined : for most dependent aged people, the first
competence or accepting to do without sorne. Thanks
evil is loneliness, and as solution: social help at home
to the strategies of selection, optimization and
or in an institution... Social help at home
compensation, sorne people are able to contribute to
the success of their own ageing.
The conclusion of the book underlines the fact that
ln the special issue of the WHO magazine, only two
'Our societies do not lack money, but they choose to
articles concern Africa. 'The wise' by APT Nana,
spend their money in a sense that keeps their own
'Ageing weil in Africa' by AMOS UN Seyi Ladele
balance ... When funding old age appears more urgent
and Reddy PRISCILLA . The main idea is that old
than other choices, a simple shifting will suffice".
people should be allowed to participate in the
The second document that gave me more insight into
communities and their nations. The services in the
the subject is a special issue of Santé du monde, the
communities should benefit from the experience of the
magazine of the World Health Organization. It
elderly who will satisfy their own needs through being
contains twenty articles written by authors from ail
useful. The authors are from Ghana and South Africa.
over the world. The names and addresses appear at the
end of each
Two other documents were thoroughly read. One is
entitled 'Ageing in Africa' by APT Nana (1997) the
The editorial announces : 'In 2020 more than one
second written by OKIJIE (1988) presents 'Ageing in
billion people in the world will he aged over sixty, and
Sub Saharan Africa'. The first underlines the need for
more than two thirds among them will be living in a
an intergenerational approach to social welfare in
developing country'. 5
Africa. The second throws light on the trends in
The coming century should be concerned with life
population dynamics. Both include suggestions for
quality, which includes health as an important element.
research, the improvement of the quality of the care to
1999 is the International Year for the Elderly, the
be provided for the elderly.
theme being Ageing and Health.
The last book to be mentioned in this part is 'Vieillir
Among the articles, the one by Pro Margret Baltes
en Afrique 1994' published under the supervision of
attracted my attention. Sheasserts that there is no
Claudine Attias-Donfut& Leopold Rosenmayr.
golden mIe to define what can be considered as
Fifteen authors gave their contribution, part of the
successful ageing, for criteria vary from one person to
results of years of research in Africa, over twenty or
more years for sorne of them. They are the precious
the other. Good ageing does not mean just avoiding
witnesses of what we were and what we have become ;
problems, the change and the loss of functions that
their ward is of high value to us.
happen with age. On the contrary, ageing means
fighting, in spite of failures, in order to maximise the
After reading the book, one gets a clear insight into the
gains and to minimise the losses.
problem of old age in Africa. Sorne important
) DUBOIS J.P. ,Op. Cil. p.IIS.
, Ibidem, p. 123.
, Santé du Monde: Magazine de l'OMS, n° 3, 1997. p. 3.
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Sciences sociales et humaines
questions, such as, why were old people more
instruction, the kind of courses to be organized, the
respected in the past than they are today, have been
duration of the courses. The second level is more
answered. Ali the situations experienced by the elderly
concrete, directed towards observable behaviours. It
are thoroughly assessed through the different articles,
helps in analysing the general objectives to fonnulate
but sorne of the questions were not answered, for
more specifie ones. These are useful because they
instance one of Rosenmayr's pieces is when he
constitute teaching modules. The aims of a course are
wonders : 'would African societies be able to produce
thus stated in terms of behaviours to be attained. The
a historical world-wide example avoiding the cruel and
third level offers the possibility of creating materials
drastic devaluation experienced by the elderly in
describing the kind of performance that is expected to
western civilizations ? ln spite of the poverty, will it be
be attained in order to declare that the objectives have
possible to find alternative fonns of caring, taking
been achieved."
charge of the fragilized elderly in Africa ? These are
ln the limits of the present article, more need not be
the questions that studies such as this one should
discussed about the topie of the definition of the
teaching objectives, a process often practised in our
. Sylvie Renaut repeats the same question in a different
profession. Yet one can mention Mager's practical
article 'In the present context will the elderly be able
suggestions in the definition of the operational
to keep their status and their place in the society?"
objectives. For instance, he heavily insists on the
necessity of stating with precision who is the persan
As an African woman interested in research on old age
that is supposed to adopt the expected behaviour.
provision in Côte d'Ivoire, 1 felt called upon to share
sorne of my own reflections on the topic, under the
Reading the books and the documents have brought
fonn of proposais for the definition of objectives for an
much more insight into the subject. The next step will
education aiming at better or more care for the elderly.
to the presentation of my methodological
Defining educational objectives
This part of my literature survey reports a former
Methodological approach and
research work undertaken for my Doctorat d'État
under the supervision of Pr J. Dulck". A forty-two-
. page chapter was devoted to the definition of the
My research on old age provision started on the
objectives. For the present work, 1 revisited sorne of
occasion of visits 1 paid to elderly nuns and priests,
the books.
former missionaries who were our teachers in primary
or secondary schools from the early 50s to the late 60s
Educating people always implies an objective, whether
in Côte d'Ivoire. They had been living in special
clearly stated or not. Authors such as Viviane &
hou ses for the care of the elderly in France for the last
Gilbert De Landsheere, D. Krathwohl, B.S. Bloom
few years.
have thoroughly discussed the process of defining the
objectives, the theoretieal analysis that helps build
As young adults, they spent ail their lives in our
such a scientific approach to practical facts to be dealt
different countries in Africa, now that they have
with in order to maximise the learning process among
becorne too old, they have come back to a country,
the people to be taught.
their own, but a 'strange' country because they were
away for such a long time.
Most of them agree on the necessity of distinguishing
three levels in the definition of objectives. The first is
1 started wondering why, we, African people, who
rather abstract, the definitions are general and are often
have benefitted from their work over ail these decades,
of programmes
were not able to keep them with us when they bec orne
'ROSENMAYR L., Plus que la sagesse: vieillir à Sonongo in Vieillir en Afrique s/d AllIAS DONCUT & ROSENMA YR, Paris PUF, 1994, p. 253 - Les sociétés
africaines seront-elles capables de produire un exemple historique mondial en s'épargnant la cruelle et drastique dévaluation qu'ont connue les vieux dans
les civilisations occidentales? Sera-t-il possible en dépit de la pauvreté- de trouver des formes alternatives de soins et de prise en charge pour les personnes
âgées fragilisées en Afrique? C'est à ces questions que des études comme celles-ci doivent répondre.
7 RENAUT S., L'Afrique au Sud du Sahara: quelques éléments de démographie, in Vieillir en Afrique, p. 325.
'ODI ASSAMOI: L'Enseignement de l'anglais en Côte d'Ivoire de /946 à 1977, Paris, Sorbonne Nouvelle, 1983,2 L, 742 p., Thèse pour le Doctorat
'DE LANDSHEERE Viviane & Gilbert, Définir les objectifs de l'éducation, Liège, Ed. George Tbone, 1976, p. 24-25.
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Sciences sociales et humaines
too old to work. What was their own opinion about
There is a saying among the Akye people that, 'When
that ? What would they have decided if they had a
a person is intending to eat the head of an animal he or
choice ?
she needn't be afraid of the eyes'. To face the problem
is the beginning of the solution. Changes have
Back home in February 1990, 1 began 'chasing' after
occurred. What are the y ?
documents on
the subject. Only articles in the
Encyclopaedia were available. The University library
in Abidjan was poor on the topic. 1 also searched
Evolution of the situation -
attitude and behaviours
Santé du Monde's special issue in 1997 constituted the
key element in my research. After reading it, 1 wrote a
The elderly
letter to aIl the authors of the articles of Actif à tout
For Côte d'Ivoire the results of the 1999 general
âge. The first answer came from Pro Margret Baltes of
are not available yet to be used, but the
the University of Berlin. She sent a large amount of her
scientists have already mentioned the increase in the
articles and contributions published in scientific
total number of the old people in Africa in general in
the coming years. Sylvie Renaut states that the relative
The second came from Age Concern, England. It
part of the elderly will remain unchanged though that
permitted the purehase of books dealing with the
should not hide the importance of the progression of
the number of the aged 65 and more, which will
increase three times by 2025. From 7 million in 1960,
From Bellville, South Africa Dr. Amosum sent
theyare 15 million nowadays, and by 2025 the number
important articles full of precious informations.
will reach 50 million10.
A fourth letter from Malta gave the reference of
The situation of the elderly is thoroughly assessed
Vieillir en Afrique.
throughout the book Vieillir en Afrique. The main
Out of twenty-four letters sent aIl over the world, five
problem the authors raise, stems from the economie
answers came. They were qualitatively important and
environment, a poverty that has become the normal
useful. The informations they gave me were essential
state of everyone in Africa nowadays. The political
for my research orientation.
unrest, the wars and AlOS have built a hot burning fire
While collecting information from books and articles 1
around each African individual.
prepared various elements for the different projects of
A proverb states that 'When the whole head is burning
surveys. The contact with the people helped in the
down, one cannot care for the eyes. Our general
formulation of the topic.
situation being very difficult, the elderly are likely to
For the present study, my aim is to provide elements of
experience the same status, but in a worse version.
answers to sorne of the questions formulated by the
Journet & Julliard report the words of an old woman
team that wrote Vieillir en Afrique. If sorne of the
complaining : '1 am here, 1 am waiting for God. It is
questions have been answered such as why were old
not good to be as old as 1 am, for what about hunger ?
people more respected in the past than they are to day
ln the morning 1 am hungry ! At noon 1 am hungry. In
in Africa, sorne others have not received any answer
the evening 1 am hungry ! And 1 have no strength left
for the time being. Therefore 1 want my study to lay
to cook. Everyday 1 wait for God".'
sorne basis for the formulation of sorne kind of
response to the terrible questions that our friends, the
Food constitutes the real problem. How to feed the
Europeans scientists have put to us : 'Would African
elderly in a convenient way ? They do need nutriment,
societies be able to produce a historical worldwide
but when the young ones have not got enough to eat,
example avoiding the cruel and drastic devaluation
can the housewife give a sufficient meal to the older
experienced by the elderly in western civilizations ?'
ones ? The needs of the elderly are less important
10 RENAUT S. L'Afrique au Sud du Sahara: quelques éléments démographiques, in Vieillir en Afrique. p. 32-322.
Il JOURNET & JULLIARD. Le van des Grands-mères. in Vieillir en Afrique. p. 202-203.
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Sciences sociales et humaines
because there is no growing process going on, no
belongs to the whole extended family. He or she is an
important physical activity to be undertaken, but yet,
investment. If the dividends take time to be drawn, the
the minimum should be available to keep them in good
family gets restless and starts planning mischief.
health condition. That is also a dut y for the adults.
Unfortunately for the individual, school learning
The difficulties in our lives have created new attitudes
process transforms a person in such a deep way that
and behaviours.
needs have to be satisfied urgently before he or she can
think of any extended family.
New attitudes and behaviours
provokes a deep mutation in the individual that makes
The new attitudes and behaviours stem from the
one compares the educated African to a bat. In the sky
difficulties of communication in a world that has
a flying bat looks like any bird, but on the ground, a
changed while part of it has remained unchanged. Two
bird can hop, when a bat cannot move. The educated
examples will explain the puzzle: language and sorcery.
African can react as any European or American
educated person would in any given situation and
One important difficulty in the life of an elderly person
solve any problem in the western way, but at the same
lies in language. Grand-parents and grand-children do
time, deep down he or she remains an African with
not possess the 'same' mother tongue any longer. The
reactions he or she does not always mas ter. Things
children born in towns in Côte d'Ivoire for instance
sometimes happen as if we have been endowed with a
tend to use French even when the parents belong to the
double personality which generates complicated
same ethnie group. The absence of common language
cripples communication between the elderly and the
This constitutes a situation we have to take into
account. We have to face it, to analyse it thoroughly
The second difficulty arises from our African beliefs
with the new methods we have acquired through our
about the elderly. They possess spiritual power that
contact with western civilisation. But at the same time
can be positive or negative as Manga Bekombo puts it:
we also need to remember our African-ness and to
'He or she is a witch or an anti-witch, he or she is a
reca11 this proverb of ours that states: 'Before flying,
seer, a medicine man or medicine woman, the guardian
a bird always questions its nest' , meaning that you have
of oracles", This creates fear in the relationship with
to know your own conditions and be conscious of them.
the elderly. People suspect their ability to curse
youngsters in case of mi sbehaviour.'
In effect, another proverb affirms that 'a one-armed
person always starts dressing earlier than the others'.
The people living in towns prefer to go back to their
He or she knows his or her limitations. Compared to
villages on their own, without their children because
ail the other people in the world, we Africans are one-
they are afraid of their own parents and relatives.
armed, or one-handed or, even and one-Iegged
Suspicion becomes the common rule.
persons. Therefore it is urgent for us to become
If a11 the relatives in the village are supposed to be ill-
conscious of our own situation and realise that, as the
minded against one's own family living in town, how
proverb puts it, 'Even if you are very ugly, you do not
can one think of helping the aged members ? For in
borrow your handsome friend's face to go and woo a
traditional mind one has to avoid feeding a sorcerer
girl, you do manage with your own ugly one', just as
because the more good you do to your family witch,
another proverb says: 'A short tailed cow chases the
the more harmful he becomes against you. But,
flies with its own tail, not with the long one that does
nobody knows for sure who are the witches in a family.
not belong to it'.
Witchcraft is first of a1l a family affair.
Ail these proverbs quoted here mean that nobody at a11
However, sorcery possesses its own rules and antidote.
will have to think, reflect and find ready-made solutions
One way to avoid it is justice. For African people, to
to our problems. We have to take our responsibility
refuse to share what you possess or what people believe
facing the problem of the elderly in Africa. There are
you have acquired, constitutes an opened door to
conditions to be gathered in order to take the right
witchcraft. For us, a child that has been sent to school
decision that will ensure the agreement of a11 concemed,
u MANGA & JULLIARD, Vieillissement, culture et société en Afrique, in Vieillir ell Afrique, p. 202-203.
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Sciences sociales et humaines
sine qua non conditions for success. Discussing that
Past procedures.
constitutes the folIowing part of our article.
To get involvement of the people in a decision, it is of
utmost importance to follow the procedure used in the
Conditions for a good declslon
region. It always takes time, but it is important to
'waste' sorne time in the first place before starting, to
make sure that everyone has The majority does not
In order to draw the outlines of the decision making
mean anything to us, consensus does. The procedure is
process that can ensure success in our present situation
slow and time-consuming, but once every one has
in Africa, I will cast a brief look at the decision making
agreed, the project becomes everyone's own personal
processesthat have been used so far, then 1 will recall
affair. No failure can happen.
how important questions were settled in the past, that
Formerly when an important question was to be
way, I hope to suggest an approach that takes into
settled, the head of the village called the council of
account African peculiarities.
eiders. They retlected then the heads of the clans and
Recent procedures
wards met. They informed the heads of the different
extended families, which in their tum informed all
Very often, for our development programmes in
their members, male and female.
Africa, local and foreign experts meet in their offices
in the capital town of the country. They plan action
Afterwards a general meeting was called to give the
very carefully; they obtain the money from outside and
information officially. A few leading people expressed
elaborate the project.
their point of view and a decision was taken, that was
the total will of the whole village.
The administrative authorities are required to tell the
concemed populations that a project has been studied
Unless these preliminary steps have been respected, no
project, however logical or good, can dream of any
and set up for them in order to improve their living
success in rural areas in Africa.
conditions. The chiefs are summoned to the capital of
the district and duly informed. They go back to tell the
What about today ?
vilIagers that a project is ready for them to get a better
life in their village.
Nowadays life in towns in Africa tries to copy what is
supposed to happen in our former masters' countries.
It could be a community health project, an agricultural
In the case under consideration here, i-e, old age
one or an educational one; the procedure will be the
provision, I think the media should play the leading
same. The villagers will happily dance on the arrivaI of
role to inform the people and draw their attention.
the specialists in charge of the project. The expert will
Newspapers should start publishing informations on
start the work according to the precise protocol set up
the subject, beautiful photographs of old people from
by the scientists who designed the whole project. On
ail over the world. Over the radio and on television,
paper, everything appears to be so logical and efficient
programmes should discuss the point.
that the results are a must.
The different religious denominations in the country
Unfortunately, very often, a few years after, those who
would tell their members the problem. Trade unions,
initiated the project have to face the reality and
schools, social groups would participate in the
acknowledge their failure. Our countries in Africa are
information. Thus the whole population will be ready
overcrowded with
such important projects, the
to listen to the proposaIs to be made to them.
machines of which are rotting under the bush. Sorne of
the tools have bec orne the property of the cunning
Once the preliminary information have reached ils
people that managed to be involved in such projects.
target, the futures decisions will be announced to calI
Large parts of the money are sojouming in the bank
for the reaction of the people.
accounts of a few heads of concemed department,
In Côte d'Ivoire, on crucial occasions, there were
preferably outside the country. The generous people
assemblies known as Conseil National, when different
who, in Europe or America, worked to raise the sums
groups were asked to report on ail the problems
of money that was graciously offered to help the
encountered over the last few years. The different
hungry Africans, will ne ver hear of the result of their
components of the society read their reports. It went on
for days, and then decisions were taken",
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Sciences sociales et humaines
But, before we come to decision rnaking, a preliminary
In this new world of ours, if we want the elderly ta be
preparation resides in the education of the people
taken care of. we have ta tell everyone about if : adults,
concemed. Now that the world has changed so much,
young people, children, men, wornen, educated
how are we going to take care of our elderly ? The
people, illiterate people living in towns orin the
answer lies in the definition of the general and specifie
objectives of an education to care for the elderly.
The first information will include a few ideas such as
Education to care for the eldlerly
these : 'People are living longer nowadays. Sorne of
our relatives are getting older and older, but they have
A necessity ?
not got enough rnoney to save for their very old age.
In traditional Africa there is a saying that no one is
Poverty has bec orne a normal situation for most of the
supposed to teach God to children. Yet every African
inhabitants of our country. The problem of old age
grows up to know that a supreme God does exist. The
cannot be tackled individually therefore it is urgent to
teaching approaches in the past were rather miserly in
take a decision as soon as possible. You are ail invited
words but rich in silent observations.
to think about solutions to propose them later on'.
Such a message repeated on the radio in ail the
The former Africans were astonished when Europeans
languages spoken in the country, on the television, in
used scientific questioning to understand what they
the newspapers and magazines will draw the attention
observe round them.
of people.
You could ask someone to teach you something but
General aims
while he or she is teaching you, you have to keep silent
and observe, then perform what you have assimilated.
An education to care for the elderly concems ail the
people living in the country. Each group of persons
But our former world collided with the European's and
will perform different actions : the adults, the youth,
it resulted in different mutations in the outside world
the children. What behaviour can be expected from the
as much as in the inside one. Nowadays everything has
adults to make sure that they are ready to book after
to be put into words, repeated several times before the
the elderly ?
youngsters hear a word.
Among traditional Africans the behaviour that was
most appreciated consists in a good action initiated by
Adults are expected to think of the life conditions of
a person without being demanded to do so. That is the
the elderly members of the extended family. They will
sign of a good education. Once you have been told,
have to club together in order to raise surns of money
your action loses part of its value, because for
to be kept in their village bank for the care of the
traditional Africans only a corpse has to be told
elderly : health, food, leisure problems. In the same
something before acting", To be asked to do
way they proceed for the funerals when huge sums of
money are raised in a few days.
something before reacting reduces the value, the
beauty and the elegance of a behaviour or an action.
They have to show their interest, love and concem for
You are supposed to look for advice at home before
the elderly through visits and listening to them, sitting
coming into the open 'Before flying a bird questions
near them for a moment. The elderly need physical
its nest' .
contact with the adults.
Unfortunately, our children do
not any longer
They have to respect them. A proverb says that
understand anything. Without a longish explanation
everyone knows the name of the old woman though
they do not care to listen to.
she is called grandmother.
" The last Conseil National look place in 1989 but no decision was taken. We are still experiencing the consequences .
.. When after death, people want to know why theperson has died, the questions or orders are forrnulated in the following manner : ' If your death is natural
do not rnove forward ; if it has been provoked, come forward. then look for that person.'
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Sciences sociales et humaines
The youth
Little by little, interest in the elderly will be created at
every level, among children, youth and adults at the
Young people should be involved in the care of the
same time.
elderly. In rural areas, the few young men still present
in the village, wiIl be required to bring back from the
A practical example
bush, part of what they have got during the day : game,
honey, sweet palmwine, fruits.
In the general aims, I suggested that adults club
together to raise sums of money to be kept in a bank
The girls will bring something from the market on
for the care of the old members of the extended
market days, such as delicacies, sugar, and cakes. Ali
of them should feel concemed by the old ones, greet
them in the moming, seat near them and listen to them
As an example I take the case of an extended family
for a while, before leaving for work or in the evening
known as ASKA in Kongoué Kouadiokro in the
on retum.
Baoulé Region Côte d'Ivoire.
In towns, young people are students or pupils. At
Raising the money
school they should study, in civics, the necessity of
.The ASKA extended farnily will be lirnited to the
respecting and loving the elderly, caring for them. üld
descents of the ASKA original 'couple', a polygamous
people in rural areas, old people in towns, these should
farnily of two wives, half brothers and sisters are
be themes, sequences of their leaming programmes in
included. The children of the ASKA farnily are about
classroom, airning at a change of behaviour in the
a dozen, ail of them are adults with children and
closest future.
grandchildren for sorne of them, the youngest are not
In thar part of civics and moral education programme,
married yet. Clubbing together will concem those
stories staging old people in African tales should be
adults and their grown up children who are parents.
told, so that the teachers may discuss the moral
With an average number of five children per adult the
teaching behind them and
leamers draw
number of grandchildren will be about sixty,
conclusions leading to action in real life.
For the time being, only one member of the ASKA
In philosophy classes, the teachers should organise
extended farnily can be considered as an elderly to be
debates on the philosophy of old age in traditional
looked after as the father and one of the wives have
Africa and analyse our belief about it.
died. Sorne elements in the ASKA original couple's
farnily could be looked after.
At school, children should leam about old age and the
At a year meeting responsible members will be
necessity of caring for the elderly. Pupils will he asked
chosen. Each individual will belongs to two extended
to report the names of their villages and the names of
farnilies as an active member.
their grandparents after getting the information from
Organization at the village level : the kpoman nin
their own parents at home.
taha taha centre"
In kindergarten, stories staging the old people in
In a village such as Kongoué Kouadiokro where there
African traditional story telling will be read to the
are about 300 inhabitants, only a dozen or less people
children. Teachers will draw their attention to the
can be considered as eIder/y, too old to go to the
present time.
At home, they should think of their grandparents when
At the village level, three compounds or two can be
they receive gift from their own parents at Christmas.
chosen as a place where the eIder/y will be taken to for
In the rural areas, the teachers can take the class to pay
the day. That compound will be known as the Kpoman
a visit to a few selected old people in the village. The
nin Taha Taha centre, meaning the walking stick and
pupils will question them about their own, childhood,
the first stepscentre where children and elderly will be
what has changed.
looked after by adults on duty".
"Cf. ALLA SENI cp. ODI. - Nationalism and old age provision paper at a conference on Nation/Nationalisrn : a cornmon entreprise University of Cape
Coast 1999.
" Cf. ALLA SENI cp. ODI, Op. Cit, 1999.
Hev, CAMES - Série B, vol. 02, 2000

Sciences sociales et humaines
The aims are simple: to make sure that the old ones
Environmental conditions for an
get exercise everyday, eat sufficient food three time a
education to care for the elderly
day, enjoy the company of the young ones under the
supervision of an adult. The contact between them will
ln modem Africa, the rural areas are not overcrowded,
improve the language ability and performance of the
and an old person can walk at her or his own rhythm
without being run into by any one in a hurry. There are
no cars or bicycles or motorcycles to run them over.
An important aspect of the Kpoman nin Taha Taha
centre concems the obligation of bringing back to the
ln African towns, Abidjan constitutes the best
centre part of what one has found at one 's plantation
illustration, there are no pavements for the pedestrians.
for one's family: yam, fire wood, vegetables game",
One has to fight with the cars, the lorries, the bicycles
Men, women, young people, children coming back
and the motorcycles to walk from one place to another.
from somewhere, plantation, travel, errands should be
ln the wards of the town where individual hou ses are
encouraged to stop at the centre to greet the elderly,
built, not only the owners will construct high walls to
talk to them, exchange news, just as an easy way to
protect their villas, but they will also occupy the
show interest in them, a simple daily duty.
portion of the soil that belongs to the community, the
The workers from the village, living in towns should
public property, the place reserved for the pavement.
also think of bringing to the centre eggs, medicine,
ln front of their high walls, the owners plant lawns and
soja f1our, sugar, cocoa, milk powder when they visit
they put barbed wire round them so that the
their parents or relatives. That way, the problem of
pedestrians are forced to walk on the carriageway.
hunger, which is the first important one for an elderly,
Sorne owners will even create artificial hillocks on
will be solved. OId people do not eat large quantities
which they grow thorn y plants in order to prevent
of food, but they do need to eat often, four little meals
people from walking near their enclosing high walls.
a day, just like children.
Ali the streets in Abidjan present the same image.
Moreover, the available pavements are transformed
Each extended family club will hand in sorne money,
into markets. There is no way for pedestrians. Where
when they have a member joining the centre.
will our elderly go for a walk, when there is no
A difficulty to be aware of
ln the African mind, old people are fairly often thought
ln this 1999, the International Year for Elderly, an
to be witches. How can one put oldpeople and young
action could be taken officially : to c1ear the footways
children together for a whole day, everyday -without
in towns. If year 2000 could rise and see pavements on
initiating those who are so malleable at this stage? This
each side of the carriageways in some towns of Africa,
fear is real, but in Africa, there are plants that
we could declare that Africa is also about to enter the
discourage witches in their deeds. For instance there
third millenary.
will always he a provision of lemon at the centre.
The healers and the seers will he approached in order
to put traditional arms in the Kpoman in Taha Taha
At the end of my reflection on the possible aims of an
centre to avoid problems.
education in view of caring for the elderly, 1 conclude
This is also when the members of the different
that it is an action that can be envisaged, but the
religions in the villages will have to care for the souls
absence of political will can be the first obstacle; the
of their aged believers, asking them for prayers and
second will he constituted by the idea that the African
blessings while they are fed and taken care of. They
elderly do not face any difficulty in their lives, for they
will feel important anew because formerly the elderly
are respected and loved by every one around them,
kept a traditional religious role in the community.
they are happy.
" It is a kind of traditional sacrifice for the happiness of aIl.
Rev. CAMES - Série 8, vol. 02, 2000

Sciences sociales et humaines
If we, African educated people become conscious of
OKOjIE F. A. Ageing in Sub Saharan Africa ; Towards a redefi-
the real difficulties summarised by the generaJ poverty
nition of needs research and policy directions, Journal of cross-
cultural Gerontology 3, 1988, p. 3-9.
of everyone nowadays, if we decide to face our
situation, we will question our net, and it will tell us
SANTE DU MONDE. Le magazine de l'Organisation mondiale
de Ja santé, n04, juillet-août 1997.
the truth so as to answer professor Rosenrnayr's
question: 'Would African societies be able to produce
a historical worldwide example, avoiding the crual and
ATTIAS - DONFUT C. ROSENMAYR L. Vieillir en Afrique,
drastic devaluation
Paris, PUF, 353 p. Les Chanps de la Santé.
in western civilisations in spite of poverty ... T Yes,
BLOOM B.S, & coll. Taxonomie des objectifs pédagogiques> T.I
we can ! We just need to make up our minds ...
domaine cognitif, Trad de l'Américain par Marcel LAVALLEE,
On time. 0
Montréal, Ed. Nouvelles, 1969,232 p.
BOIS j. P. Histoire de la vieillesse, Paris, PUF, 1994,126 p. Que
Références bibliographiques
DE LANDSHEERE V. & GILBERT. Définir les objectifs de
l'éducation, Ed. Georges Thone, Liège, 2' éd., 1976, 293 p.
APT N. A., Ageing in Africa, DOC. WHO 1997. Division of
DUBOIS - DUME j. P. Vieillir sans devenir vieux, Paris, Desclée
Health Promotion, Education and Communication. Ageing and
de Brouwer, 1991, 124p.L'aventurespirituelie.
Health Programme. 17 p. + appendices.
KRA THWOHL D. R., BLOOM B. S., MASIA B. B. Taxonomie
BALTES Margret & HORGAS Ann L. Ageing and Mental
Health, Encyclopedia of Mental Health, vol.1, 1998, p. 27-37.
des objectifs pédagogiques, T. 2 Domaine affectif, Trad. Par M.
. LAVALEE, Québec, Les presses de J'Université du Québec, 1976,
BALTES M. and PAUL N. Savoir vivre in old age: How to mas-
231 p.
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MAGER R.F. Comment définir des objectifs pédagogiques, Paris,
Bordas, 2' éd., 1977, 131 p.
Le courrier ACP-UE, Bruxelles, LOWE P. n° 176, juillet-août
1999. Dossier Le troisième âge: vieillir dans le monde en déve-
ROBITAILLIE H. Clin d'œil sur nos rides Paris, Mediaspaul,
loppement, p. 38-67.
1988,170 p.
- Formostpeople,includingAfricans,oldageproblemsdonotexistinAfrica.Howeverrecentresearchhas
proved that the situation has changed to such an extent that scientists such as Pr Leopold Rosenmayr
-en wonder:'WouldAfricansocietiesbeabletoproduceahistoricalworldwideexampleavoidingthecrueland
drastic devaluation experienced by the elderly in western civilizations ? ln spite of the poverty, will it be
« possible to find alternative forms of caring, taking charge of the fragilized elderly in Africa ? These are the
questions that studies such as this one should answer'.
Keywords: elderly, old age, educational objectives, proverbs, procedures, Kpoman nin Tana Taha centre, environment.
Rev. CAMES - Série B, vol. 02, 2000