29. Sep 2022

Retracing our steps – Global Diabetes Walk 2022

Retracing our steps – Global Diabetes Walk 2022

Zuzanna Dzialowska
The Walk campaign is back to its pre-pandemic approach with a new website, new programme and inspiring organisers.
Global Diabetes Walk 2021 organised by the Diabetes Free India Mission. On the picture a crowd marching with a banner.

Global Diabetes Walk 2021 by the Diabetes Free India Mission.

For the past 2 years the Global Diabetes Walk team, like other event organisers worldwide, tried to adjust to the difficulties and restrictions posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, the Walk team is ready to retrace its steps to a pre-pandemic formula – fewer Walks with more participants.

“The Global Diabetes Walk has been instrumental in our World Diabetes Day - November 14 celebration effort,” says Leif Fenger Jensen, WDF’s Managing Director. “Over the years more than 5 million people have taken part in the Global Diabetes Walk. This is something we are proud of and illustrates very well how many good partners we have worldwide.”

To return to this pre-pandemic energy and turnout, the Walk team asked World Diabetes Foundation partners and experienced Walk organisers to become 2022 Walk Ambassadors.

Fortunately, many said yes.

Meet the Walk Ambassadors

Global Diabetes Walk 2021 in Argentina organised by Secretaria de Extension FACULTAD de Medicina UNNE. On the picture a crowd posing for the picture in a park.
Global Diabetes Walk 2021 in Argentina organised by Secretaria de Extension FACULTAD de Medicina UNNE.

The Ambassadors programme connects experienced Walk organisers with new or less experienced organisers, providing guidance and inspiration. The Ambassadors also are organising their own Walks that local participants – including individuals who organised their own Walks during the past two years – can join.

So far, 24 Walk Ambassadors from 18 countries have signed up, and are now hard at work organising and advising their peers in Colombia, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, Somaliland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Armenia, Georgia, Argentina, Belize, India, Pakistan, Fiji, Nepal and Vietnam.

Their events will start as early as October. In Argentina, the Argentine Diabetes Society will organise a Walk and run on October 1 in connection with their annual congress. They will also host a competition for health teams and community.

In Uganda, Prof Silver Bahendeka will organise a walk to increase awareness of NCD management in the Isingiro, Sheema and Ntungamo districts in Western Uganda. Part of the activities will be a community screening for NCDs.

In Belize, PDF Belize will travel to each of the country’s six districts to host free health and wellness fairs, spreading the message – United we walk with one voice for access to care. PDF Belize is collaborating with other diabetes organisations to carry out a campaign on a national level.

The 2022 Walk campaign is also lucky to have two of its biggest Walk organisers returning – Dr Jain, the record breaking organiser from India, and Georgia Red Cross Society (GRCS).

While their WDF partnership project successfully closed in 2021, GRCS will continue organising Global Diabetes Walks on World Diabetes Day, says Keti Mindeli, GRCS’ Deputy Secretary General and Head of Health and Care Department. This year, GRCS plans to host activities in 256 locations with an expected 15,000 participants, making it the biggest Walk 2022 event registered so far.

“It is a great pleasure and honour for us to be nominated to become a 2022 Global Diabetes Walk Ambassador,” Ms Mindeli says.

All are welcome

While every step counts, the Ambassadors programme is only the first one. Walk registration is open to all healthcare providers, patient organisations, NGOs and other organisations worldwide. Where there are no organisations able to organise, individuals can step in to raise awareness locally.

Individual organisers include Anthea Usher, a South African mother whose story we shared last year, Dr Edita Blakaj from Kosovo and Matissiel da Aguiar.

Ms da Aguiar started her own organisation, Corazones Azules Maracay, in November 2021 in Venezuela. She is a mother of a child with type 1 diabetes whose experience inspired her to bring together other parents of children with diabetes.

Children participating in outdoor activities organised by Corazones Azules Maracay in Venezuela.
Children participating in outdoor activities organised by Corazones Azules Maracay in Venezuela.

“Our main purpose is to educate everyone through activities with specialists. We also do other activities such as mountain hikes, yoga, etc,” says Ms de Aguiar. “In Venezuela, the supplies are expensive and not many parents can afford them, so the group also works to help each other so that no child ever lacks insulin or test strips.”

Corazones Azules Maracay’s Walk will take place on November 13. Together, participants will walk four kilometres from a local university to a park where they will have educational and physical activities, followed by a shared meal.

For more inspiration about organising and joining the 2022 Global Diabetes Walk campaign:

Visit the Global Diabetes Walk website,

or contact WDF Walk Campaign Manager Zuzanna Dzialowska