02. Dec 2020

Global Diabetes Walk 2020 marched on despite the pandemic

Global Diabetes Walk 2020 marched on despite the pandemic

Zuzanna Dzialowska
Safety first and quality over quantity. Thousands of people took steps in November, keeping the Global Diabetes Walk spirit high in a challenging year.
Smiles from the 14 November Walk organised by Ganta United Methodist Hospital in Liberia.

The Global Diabetes Walk 2020 had big shoes to fill. The Walk campaign broke records in 2019, but the arrival of COVID-19 demanded a new approach. After consulting with partners, WDF decided to adapt the 2020 campaign to include smaller Walks, more individuality and the option to walk the whole month of November.

“The results surpassed all our expectations – and confirmed that there is a real appetite for diabetes awareness-raising opportunities, even during a difficult year,” says Gwendolyn Carleton, WDF Communications Manager. 

Organisers arranged more than 190 Walks in 66 countries that attracted more than 67,000 participants. Each took steps to prevent diabetes, supported World Diabetes Day messages and maintained the tradition and spirit of the 16-year-old Global Diabetes Walk campaign.

This year's biggest Walk was organised by the Georgia Red Cross Society (GRCS). On 7 November, 20,000 participants walked in 251 locations across Georgia, and 1,300 staff and volunteers raised diabetes awareness by handing out informational materials. (For more about the WDF-GRCS partnership, see Diabetes Matters, a news-style programme broadcast on World Diabetes Day).

WDF continued its fruitful collaboration with Dr Rajesh Jain, Chairman of Jain Hospital, who this year organised four Walks with 2500 participants and a Zoom conference with 75 district health care professionals and 500 HCPs.

WDF also welcomed new organisers such as Novo Nordisk Taiwan, which even recorded a song to celebrate the dedication of medical workers. 

The commitment of 2020 organisers has been astonishing, but the unsung heroes of this campaign - the single walkers – must not be forgotten. This year, 20 individuals, many of them new to the WDF community, organised small walks alone or with friends and family to spread diabetes awareness.

Energy from the 14 November Walk organised by Dr Rajesh Jain in Juhi Colony Dera Basti, Kanpur, India. 

Walks in Africa
44 Walks were held with more than 11,656 participants in 22 countries (Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Djibouti, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, Somaliland, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and Zimbabwe). The biggest Walk took place in Tanzania, with 3,000 participants and organised by Physical Activity Association of Tanzania - PAAT.

Walks in Europe
22 Walks were held with 22,948 participants in 13 countries (Armenia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Serbia, Spain, and Uzbekistan). The biggest Walks were organised by Georgia Red Cross Society - keeping up the tradition they started in 2014.

Walks in Middle East and North Africa
8 Walks were held with 7,332 participants (Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates). The biggest Walk event took place in Jordan with 5,000 participants organised by Royal Health Awareness Society.

Walks in North America and the Caribbean
49 Walks were held with 1,704 participants in 9 countries (Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, United States). The biggest Walks took place in Louisiana in the United States, where AstraZeneca Diabetes West Area organised a Walk for 500 participants. 

Walks in South America 
26 Walks were held with 4,643 participants in 7 countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela). The biggest Walk took place in Colombia, where Fundación Vida Nueva organised a Walk event in Barranquilla with 2,000 participants. 

Walks in South-East Asia and Western Pacific
43 Walks were held with 19,181 participants in 7 countries (Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Philippines, ROC and Vietnam). The biggest Walk took place in Indonesia, with Humanity & Inclusion hosting a virtual event for 4,000 participants.