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J Immigr Minor Health. 2012 Feb;14(1):166-74. doi: 10.1007/s10903-010-9423-8.

Barriers and facilitators to civic engagement among elderly African immigrants in Oslo.

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Research Group for Inclusive Social Welfare Policies, The Department of Social Science, Oslo University College, Oslo, Norway.


The numbers of elderly immigrants are increasing in Norway and their participation in civic activities is recognized to be crucial to their health and wellbeing. A qualitative study of 24 African immigrants aged 50 years and over was carried out in Oslo. Semi-structured interviews were used to explore barriers and facilitators to civic engagement among elderly African immigrants. The study discovered a number of barriers to participation of elderly immigrants in civic organizations. These barriers include poor health conditions, lack of information about relevant organizations, language difficulties and mistrust towards organizations. The elderly immigrants also pointed to the effectiveness of organizations in addressing community issues as a factor motivating their civic engagement. We argue that the barriers identified by this study pose challenges to achieving Norwegian policy goals of integration and Norwegian policy for active ageing. Hence, there is a need for service providers and policy makers to ensure voluntary organizations address those barriers effectively.

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