Who we are

Established in 2011, the Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People was born out of the need to strengthen the rights and voice of older people globally.

Today, GAROP is a network of over 400 members worldwide, united in our work to strengthen and promote the rights of older persons. Our mission is to support and enhance civil society engagement with Member States and National Human Rights Institutions at national, regional and international levels around a convention on the rights of older persons.

An interim Steering Group of organisations initially provided the strategic direction for GAROP’s work since December 2016. The Terms of Reference for the elected GAROP Steering Group came into effect in October 2018 and are reviewed each year. The current Steering Group members and observers are listed below. The Steering Group is supported by a staffed Secretariat, see below for details of current staff members.

GAROP Steering Group

Chair: Margaret Young, The Pass It on Network, global – 65 countries (re-elected in 2022 for a two year term)
Margaret’s career evolved from being an award-winning corporate professional to an agent of change for the welfare and human rights of older people. A key area of her current exploration is the connection between older people and social activism – whereby the older person is an actor of participation, contribution, and change in our quest for social justice and good.

She is the founder of Age Knowble, a Canadian social good enterprise. Age Knowble, through intersectoral collaboration, empowers older persons and strengthens the ecosystems they live in. Along with her Age Knowble work, Margaret amplifies impact by volunteering with like-minded organizations such as the Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People, the Pass it On Network, the ASEM Global Ageing Centre, and other older persons serving non-profits. Her dedication to the cause is not only valuable, it is inspiring.
Deputy Chair: Ina Voelcker, BAGSO - German National Association of Senior Citizens‘ Organisations (re-elected in 2023 for a two year term)
Ina Voelcker is the Head of the Secretariat for International Policy on Ageing at BAGSO, the German National Association of Senior Citizens’ Organisations. She coordinates BAGSO’s international work which involves representing older persons’ interests in international policy debates and fostering the exchange of senior citizens’ organisations from various countries.
Previously, Ina was technical director with the International Longevity Centre Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, where she coordinated among others the implementation of the age-friendly cities project. During this time, she was part of the international affairs committee of the Global Alliance of ILCs.
Before she worked with HelpAge International in London on the global review of MIPAA undertaken together with UNFPA. She holds academic degrees in Gerontology (BA) from the University of Vechta, Germany and Public Policy and Ageing (MA) from the University of London, UK.
Andrew Kavala, CommonAge (elected in 2022 for a two year term)
Andrew, who sits in the Boards for CommonAge and Global Ageing Network (GAN), is the CEO for MANEPO-a consortium of over Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) whose aim is to help older men and women claim their rights, challenge discrimination, and overcome poverty, so that they can lead dignified, secure, active, and healthy lives in Malawi.
Andrew has made several breakthroughs by being the first Civil Society Leader to lead a successful advocacy towards an old age pension scheme in Malawi, realizing that social protection floors are increasingly recognised as a necessary and effective approach to ensure the benefits of development are shared fairly.
Andrew born in Malawi, obtained both Bachelor of Arts Humanities and Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Malawi. Andrew is currently pursuing a PhD in Social Sciences with Ageing and Development at North-West University (NWU) in South Africa.
Isolina Dabove, Centro de Investigacionesen Derecho de la Vejez, Facultad de Derecho, Universidad Nacional de
Rosario, Argentina (elected in 2022 for a two year term)
Lawyer graduated from the National University of Rosario, Argentina (1988). PhD in Human Rights from the Carlos III University, Spain. (1998).
Fill a top position as Principal Researcher at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council in the Law School of Buenos Aires University, Argentina. Professor of and Lecturer in Philosophy of Law and Elder Law in Argentina and other Latin American countries, in Australia and in Europe.

Member of the OAS Argentina official delegation that worked in the development of the Inter- American Convention on the Rights of Older People until its approval in 06/15/2015.
Participant in the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWGA) as representative of the INPEA Argentine delegation, which have been working on the development of the International Convention on the Rights of Older Persons since 2010.
Naraidoo Gava Naraidoo, DIS-MOI, Mauritius (re-elected in 2022 for a two year term)
Naraidoo Gava Naraidoo (aka Vijay Naraidoo) is a founding member of DIS-MOI (Droits Humains Ocean Indien) and is a trainer in Human Rights with a focus on the Rights of Older People. He is the Director of DIS-MOI and is a member of the Steering Committee of Stakeholder Ageing Africa. Previously, Vijay served as a senior officer of the Ministry of Education in Mauritius, and has previously worked as the Secretary-General of the Mauritius National Commission for UNESCO and the Coordinator of Training of Officers in the Ministry of Education.

Vijay holds a Post-Graduate Diploma in Planning, Management and Evaluation of Rural Development Projects from the Pan-African Institute for Development, Kabwe, Zambia. He writes extensively for the Mauritian press and regularly appears on local radio stations and TV.
Sanju Thapa Magar, Ageing Nepal (re-elected in 2023 for a two year term)
Sanju Thapa Magar has been working for the rights of older people for eight years. She joined Ageing Nepal as a volunteer for partial fulfilment of her college requirement. She was offered a job and promoted to Programme Officer after a year. Now, she is CEO of Ageing Nepal. So, she has different levels of experiences in the ageing issues due to the long journey in the field. Advocacy and campaigning programmes to promote the issues of older people is one her expert areas.

She has done her Bachelor in Social work and Master in Sociology.
Belén Martínez Perianes, HelpAge International España (elected in 2023 for a two year term)
Belén Martínez Perianes Graduated in Law and Political Science and Public Administration, Master in International Solidarity Action and Social Inclusion and Master in Access to the Legal Profession.

In 2022 she joined the HelpAge International Spain team as Head of Agenda2030 and Training.
Rose Gahire, Executive Director of Palliative Care Association of Rwanda (PCAR) (elected in 2023 for a two year term)
Rose Gahire is a public health expert with over 35 years’ experience working to improve access to quality and equity healthcare at national, regional and International levels. She is the founder and Executive Director of Palliative Care Association of Rwanda (PCAR) a member of African Palliative Care Association.

Prior to Palliative Care Association of Rwanda, Rose was Country Program Manager for AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Rwanda and Executive Secretary at Society for Women and AIDS Africa (SWAA).

Rose sits on many local, regional and international boards and committees to name a few; Locally She is the Vice Chairperson of Rwanda Non- Communicable Disease Alliance, Vice Chairperson of Nsindagiza which is an local NGO fighting for the welfare and rights of Older persons, a member Network of HelpAge International.
Rose is a committee member on Purchase and Pricing of Pharmaceuticals of Rwanda Food and Drug Authority (RFDA) as well as a member of Community Based Health Insurance, Health Benefit Committee (CBHI – HBP). At regional level, Rose is a board member of East Africa Non-Communicable disease Alliance (EANCDA).

Rose is a passionate advocate on rights of Older people and People Living with NCDs, gender equality, Universal Health coverage and an inclusive society where all people enjoy all their human right.
Marta Hajek, CEO of Elder Abuse Prevention Ontario (EAPO) (elected in 2023 for a two year term)
Marta Hajek is the CEO of Elder Abuse Prevention Ontario (EAPO), mandated to support the implementation of the provincial Strategy to Combat EA (the 1st of its kind in Canada). The priorities of the strategy include: community coordination, awareness raising education and providing multi-sectoral training to all, who engage with seniors in the course of their daily practice.

She helped facilitate the rollout of 211, now a national information and referral platform, specializing in human services and continues to serve on the Seniors Expert Advisory Committee with the ON Securities Commission, as well as a Board Director with the Canadian Network for the Prevention of EA. Under her stewardship, EAPO continues to expand its circle of strategic partnerships to support vulnerable or at-risk seniors experiencing abuse.

One of the founding member of the Canadian Coalition Against Ageism, Marta addressed the UN’s 13th Open Ended Working Group on Aging. The CCAA is advocating for the protection of human rights of older Canadians and a UN declaration of a convention for the Rights of Older Persons.

Marta is committed to ensuring that we ALL recognize the role we can play in supporting seniors, to be safe, feel respected and have a strong voice.
Ex-Officio Member: NGO Committee on Ageing-Geneva (Ann Lindsay)
Ex-Officio Member: NGO Committee on Ageing-New York (Frances Zainoeddin).
Frances Zainoeddin, who worked at the United Nations from 1970-2001, represents the International Federation on Ageing, Gray Panthers and Soroptimist International at the United Nations, and is the Vice-Chair of the NGO Committee on Ageing in New York. She also represents the Stakeholder Group on Ageing at the United Nations on sustainable development issues, particularly in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, ensuring inclusion of the concerns of older persons. She is actively advocating for an international convention to protect the rights of older persons.
Observer: Tanja Venisnik, Global Rights Policy Advisor, HelpAge International

GAROP Staff Members

Secretariat Coordinator:
Ellen Graham
Email: ellen.graham@rightsofolderpeople.org

Our history

The Global Alliance was founded through the collaborative efforts of the following nine organisations – International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse; International Longevity Centre – Global Alliance; International Federation on Ageing; International Association of Homes and Services for the Ageing; International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics; HelpAge International; AGE Platform Europe; Age UK; AARP.