(Note from the Editor: Reposted with permission from the World Diabetes Foundation. For the original article, click here.)
About 800 Walkers were expected to participate in the first Global Diabetes Walk in Davao City, Philippines, in 2014. Instead, 1,500 Walkers ended up taking steps to prevent diabetes. How did this happen? Organiser Richard Erick Caballero, Project Manager for Handicap International, explains.
As project partner to WDF13-843, Richard and his team decided to hold a Global Diabetes Walk in 2014. And they wanted it to be big. So they contacted the city of Davao, and persuaded the city to incorporate a Walk in their official World Diabetes Day programme.
Then, they took full advantage of the opportunity, organising a 2 kilometre Walk, a Zumba marathon, and diabetes management services on the big day. “We advertised via word of mouth, flyers, and huge billboards through at least one regional agency (Department of Health) and one city-level agency (City Health Office),” he says, adding that the many stakeholders in WDF13-843 were a big help when it came to both planning and awareness raising.
As Walk organiser, and especially a first time Walk organiser, planning can sometimes be overwhelming, he says. “We needed city resources to augment manpower to ensure safety, traffic management, emergency health workers and primary care services which we offered on the day of the event. We needed regional-level resources to augment food requirements. We needed a lean team of thinkers to plan the first step up to the last step of the entire Walk event.”
Richard recommends a participatory approach. “A participatory approach works best. Ask people or organisations to choose a specific task which they believe they can do. Proper delegation and tasking can make things work easier.”
As the son of two diabetics, the choice to join the fight against diabetes came naturally, Richard says. “It gives me immense joy to see people across all age groups and sectors come together and share our message about diabetes and how we can manage it, of how having it can be bearable and through increasing access to care we can control the rise of diabetes in our society.”
Given its success last year, plans are already being made for an even bigger event. But this year – in line with the project’s general focus on sustainability and lasting impact – Richard’s partners are in charge of planning. “We want (the Walk) to be institutionalised in the local health development plans …and linked to their regular advocacy events,” he explains.
Richard’s 5 tips to a successful Walk
1. Plan ahead – find local collaborators to help you organise.
2. Compliment with other activities – arrange other activities to help increase the interest for joining the Walk.
3. Create and print Walk materials – use the Walk Toolbox to find free downloadable Walk designs and to get inspired.
4. Use your network – both your personal network and the one that social media platforms offer.
5. Enjoy the Walk – reap the benefits of your hard work, and remember to enjoy the Walk.