The European Commission has identified active and healthy ageing as a major societal challenge common to all European countries, and an area which presents considerable potential for Europe to lead the world in providing innovative responses to this challenge. The participation of older men in learning and social activities in communities is low, which affects their well-being and health. Research conducted in different countries (Kump & Jelenc Krašovec, 2007; Fragoso, Marques & Lança, 2014, etc.) showed that the share of older people who participate in organised education is rather limited. The willingness of older people to take part in organised education is linked to their level of education, previous occupation, gender, and well-being.

The baseline of the project is the concern that older men have tended to be a forgotten minority in older adult learning and as a consequence, misunderstood and undeserved. The project foundations are based on several facts and findings on older adult learning: in older age we can notice gender discrimination despite the stereotypical view that men are generally privileged; older females comprise more than three-quarters of older learning populations (Formosa, 2014). Existing research studies show that there is a substantial group of educationally and socially marginalised older men, who experience solitariness and exclusion. Men, especially those who are less educated and socially deprived, are often not active in community associations and are also excluded from educational activities.

Research in Australia (Golding, 2011; etc.) and some European countries (Withnall, 2010; Golding, Mark & Foley, 2014) has shown that older men often need and want different options for active social inclusion in their communities. It is also important to mention that voluntary associations do not perceive their role as important actors in community learning of different age and gender groups; this perspective should be enhanced, developed and implemented according to andragogical theory and practice and Community Lead Local Development (see EU Common Strategic Framework, article 28). Based on above it is essential to further explore learning needs and demand of older man, to strengthen the (weak) role of community in learning and to facilitate process in setting up gendered (local) policies of lifelong learning that are sensitive to the social worlds of older men.

  • Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.