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Age-friendly Environments Mentorship Programme (MENTOR-AFE)

©️ WHO / A. Tardy

A training programme to build leaders for the next decade of age-friendly cities and communities

Are you a new or emerging leader of age-friendly cities and communities? Do you want to join a community of age-friendly champions and develop the skills required to create better places to grow, live, work, play, and age?

MENTOR-AFE is a training initiative that aims to build skills that are important for developing age-friendly environments that foster the full participation of older people in community life while at the same time promoting healthy and active ageing.

Currently, MENTOR-AFE takes the form of the Age-friendly Environments ECHO Programme (AFE-ECHO): a multi-session learning cycle guided by the needs of emerging age-friendly leaders and aligned to approaches and guidance from WHO on age-friendly cities and communities.

MENTOR-AFE is a programme of the World Health Organization delivered with support from the International Federation on Ageing.

Current MENTOR-AFE opportunities
The first ever French edition of AFE-ECHO is currently open for registration, with the first session starting on 3 April 2024. Learn more and register here.

The third English edition of AFE-ECHO will run from 9 October 2024 to 4 December 2024.

Keep updated on future rounds (including in other languages) by subscribing to the Age-friendly World newsletter here.

How does AFE-ECHO work?

AFE-ECHO participants are taken through the main components of the WHO age-friendly framework by global experts, towards building competencies to lead, influence, and implement the development of age-friendly environments. Each session will also create a space for participants to apply what they learn through collaborative problem-solving. AFE-ECHO creates a forum where participants learn from one another by refining and testing knowledge through local experiences, with a long-lasting impact far beyond that of a webinar or an e-learning course.

AFE-ECHO comprises of five 1-hour sessions taking place bi-weekly over a 3-month period, and are held in virtual format over Zoom. In accordance with the standards of the ECHO model, participants are expected to attend all sessions, as the experience and knowledge is cumulative. Every AFE-ECHO learning cycle focuses on four key areas:

  1. Engage and Understand
  2. Plan Strategically
  3. Act and Implement
  4. Monitor and Evaluate Progress

Anatomy of an AFE-ECHO session

1. Lecture from subject matter expert Experts on the WHO age-friendly cities and communities approach will open each ECHO session with a 15 minute lecture that forms the foundation on which to build knowledge and understanding on the specific topic.
2. Case-presentation from learner There will be one 5 minute case presentation per session delivered by a learner (e.g city leader), which connects the session topic to practical challenges.
3. Clarifying questions All participants are invited to ask the learner questions about the case to clarify details and provide recommendations.
4. Discussion and case recommendations Participants discuss key lessons and make recommendations on how to proceed or overcome challenges in the context of the case and more broadly in age-friendly environments.
5. Summary of session learnings, discussion and recommendations
6. Post-session sharing of knowledge assets Knowledge assets developed include summary of recommendations, key learnings, and relevant resources.

Curriculum structure and learning objectives

Upon completion of an AFE-ECHO learning cycle, participants will have gained knowledge on how to:

  • Manage a cycle of continual improvement to develop age-friendly environments
  • Conduct a baseline assessment
  • Develop an action plan
  • Implement and manage an age-friendly project or programme of work
  • Conduct monitoring and evaluation
Session 1. The Age-friendly Journey: an introduction Participants will be able to:

  • Improve understanding of the importance of age-friendly environments in the context of a life-course approach to healthy ageing and in response to key megatrends – urbanization and demographic change
  • Understand the history and key features of the WHO Age-friendly Communities Framework and programme cycle
  • Understand what an age-friendly community can achieve
Session 2. Engage and understand Participants will be able to:

  • Describe mechanisms to build a network of stakeholders
  • Describe steps to identify the needs of the older population
  • Understand steps needed to analyze the challenges and opportunities in a community and define priorities for action
  • Describe strategies used to influence and inform the political commitment for age-friendly initiatives
  • Describe what successful engagement looks like and the anticipated outputs
Session 3. Plan strategically Participants will be able to:

  • Describe the purpose, process, and key success factors in delivering an age-friendly strategy and action plan
  • Describe the steps needed to develop a comprehensive strategic plan
  • Understand the importance of defining common objectives, aims, targets and stakeholder responsibilities
  • Identify strategies for securing support and resources
Session 4. Act and implement Participants will be able to:

  • Understand the importance of consulting on the action plan and involving older people at all stages
  • Describe the process for designing a successful action plan
  • Understand the steps needed to implement an action plan; and scale up successful action
  • Understand the importance of learning from successful action in local, national and international networks
Session 5. Monitor and evaluate progress Participants will be able to:

  • Describe the steps needed to monitor processes continually
  • Understand the principles needed to undertake both outcome and impact evaluations
  • Describe strategies for sustaining and improving action informed by evidence