While gender has become a central factor in development, age and older people are seldom considered, and many organisations assume a top-down, non-participatory model of care – even when these organisations are otherwise engaged in sustainable and participatory development. This paper looks at how older people have been involved in sustainable community-based care efforts in Southeast Asia, and argues that the key factor for project success is the building of ‘social capacity’ – the ability of a social group or community to function and care for its older members – which depends on the strategic approach to participation taken by the project.
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