17. Dec 2021

Global Diabetes Walk 2021 unites individuals in taking steps

Global Diabetes Walk 2021 unites individuals in taking steps

Zuzanna Dzialowska
Diabetes awareness took the streets of the world one by one in November, as small groups of Walkers marched on.
Argentinian seniors marked World Diabetes Day in La Plata. The Walk was organised by Viviana Arrechea.

Perhaps 2021 is the year that the Global Diabetes Walk changed from what it used to be – thousands of people walking side by side – to something new. 

When restrictions on large gatherings forced us to rethink how we mark World Diabetes Day, WDF turned to individuals and communities, asking them to create their own Walks based on local conditions. It might have been the best decision in the Walk history yet – and led to many new connections between WDF and passionate individuals worldwide.

Organisers arranged more than 700 Walks in 89 countries attracting more than 80,000 participants. Each took steps to prevent diabetes, spread World Diabetes Day messages and maintained the tradition and spirit of the 17-year-old Global Diabetes Walk campaign.

2021 Walks ranged from 1 to 10,000 people in size, but the true measure of success was the enthusiasm and creativity of those who participated. One Walk turned into a fitness class, another involved planting trees … and another entailed taking Mum on a stroll in Salto, Brazil. Marianela from Mar de la Plata in Argentina streamed her Walk live on Instagram. Daria, a Russian student from Nizhny Novgorod, walked for 2.5 km on a frosty day with classmates. 

“We walked … to take care of ourselves and spread awareness of diabetes prevention and care,” says Daria, the sole Walk organiser in Russia. “In spite of the cold weather, we’ve completed our goal. For me, it was an incredibly fulfilling experience.”

In addition to these individual Walk organisers, many new to WDF’s annual campaign, we must not forget about the steady support of the Foundation’s partners. More than 31 long-term WDF collaborators organised Walks in 2021, motivating over 30,000 people to participate. 

Daria walked with her classmates in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia - proving that not all Global Diabetes Walks are in sunny and warm places.

Walks in Africa
152 Walks were held with 29,161 participants in 33 countries (Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Kinshasa), Djibouti, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Reunion, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and Zimbabwe). The biggest Walk with 10,000 participants took place in Malawi and was organised by Francis Chipukunya.

Walks in Europe
31 Walks were held with 9,894 participants in 15 countries (Armenia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, Georgia, Ireland, Kosovo, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom 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
30 Walks were held with 6,656 participants in 9 countries (Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestinian Territory, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and United Arab Emirates). The biggest Walk event with 3,000 participants took place in Pakistan and was organised by Dr Samreen Riaz.

Walks in North America and Caribbean
56 Walks were held with 826 participants in 6 countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Canada, Greenland, Haiti, Mexico, Panama, and United States). The biggest Walks with 250 participants took place in Greenland at PISUTTA 2021

Walks in South America 
343 Walks were held with 20,220 participants in 14 countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela). The biggest Walk with 10,000 participants took place in Colombia, where Fundación Vida Nueva organised a Walk event in Barranquilla. 

Walks in South East Asia
69 Walks were held with 11,512 participants in 4 countries (Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Maldives). The biggest Walk with 3,000 participants took place in India, and was hosted by the Astha Foundation.

Walks in Western Pacific
37 Walks were held with 1,923 participants in 7 countries (Australia, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines and ROC). The biggest Walk with 600 participants was organised by Orbis Mongolia.