We want to start by saying a huge thank you to all of our volunteers and supporters around the world for making 2015 our most exciting year yet. A lot has happened in the past year, and we couldn’t be more excited to share the below summary with you. We’ve split it into sections so you can skip to what most interests you, but we recommend reading it all!
Trustees & Global Advocates
In January we began recruiting Trustees to add to Team T1International. We had a competitive pool of applicants and ended up with five outstanding new Trustees who helped us grow substantially in 2015.
Throughout 2015 we also built our team of Global Advocates. These T1International ambassadors are committed to our mission and vision, and they want to ensure that people living with diabetes in their country have access to everything they need to live a full life. Our Advocates spread the word about our work, offer input to our campaigns and projects, and help us understand the challenges of living with diabetes in their own countries and regions.
Donation to Diabetes Youth Care: Diabetes Won’t Stop Us Project
In March, we sent funds to Diabetes Youth Care for young girls living with diabetes to Ghana. Through our project with the group, we supported three girls with type 1 diabetes in Ghana with educational fees and related costs. We hope that their ability to attend school will allow them to one day gain employment and support themselves and their medical costs related to type 1 diabetes. In Ghana, it is difficult to afford the cost of education and insulin and diabetes supplies. Often, children have to forgo school because the costs related to diabetes are too high, or they miss insulin injections and become sick, having to miss periods of school. This pushes them into the cycle of poverty. With support from T1International, the girls were able to continue taking their life-saving medication while attending school. Our small project allowed the cycle of poverty to be broken for the girls.
Aside from offering funding, we work closely with Diabetes Youth Care to share stories and promote their work on social media. We provide support and advice to the team and work to ensure the young people living with diabetes feel empowered. We believe that simple donations are not enough to change things. Working together we can be more successful in creating lasting change by building on successes and learning from each other.
Syrian Conflict and Refugees with Type 1 Diabetes
Starting in April, we did a series of blog posts about those living with type 1 diabetes in Syria or having fled from Syria. This series connected us with groups doing emergency medical work in Syria and we wrote a further feature piece about a doctor whose brother is trying to survive there with type 1 diabetes. One of the non-profit group of doctors we connected with is looking to expand their diabetes support in Syria, which we were thrilled to hear. We’ll be working with them in 2016 to ensure there are better resources, support, and supplies for people with diabetes in refugee camps and clinics.
Diabetes Blog Week
In May we released our diabetes puzzle graphic and a blog post for #DblogWeek on the topic ‘Changes’. We wrote about the National Health System in the UK, stating that access to health services needs to be a reality for everyone worldwide. ‘’Medicine should not be a prize, a purchase, or a pain. It is a human right.’’
Donation to Nigerian Diabetes Online Community (NGDoc): Diabetes Warrior Project
July saw the pilot of a project with the NGDoc called Diabetes Warriors, which supports vocational training for committed young people living with type 1 diabetes in Nigeria. Similar to Ghana, it is often impossible for young people with diabetes to afford both education fees and diabetes supplies. Our trial project saw a girl named Omolade take on stylist training at a salon, which is proven to offer steady income. Omolade’s family income falls below the $2 a day United Nations poverty benchmark and last year she experienced a dangerous case of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) due to lack of ability to afford insulin. She attends a public school with free education by the state government but the family can hardly afford to pay for the state exams.
Omolade plans for her stylist training to enable her to earn money whilst in school so that she can afford to pay for her insulin and hopefully save up to attend university. Working with our partners the NGDoc, we concluded that Omolade is committed and has a good awareness of living with type 1 Diabetes through the educational materials that were provided by the NGDoc several years ago. Omolade is currently balancing her studies and her training, and we will continue to work closely with the NGDoc in 2016 to use this pilot as a test for both T1International and NGDoc activities and priorities.
In early August, the T1International Trustees came together for an all-day planning session. The outcome of the planning day and weeks of additional hard work was our three year strategic plan, and a corresponding theory of change. This new strategy helped us with our goals throughout 2015 and will allow us to stay focused in the coming years.
We are so happy to have supported individuals living with type 1 diabetes in 2015, but our aims for 2016 and beyond involve supporting wider health systems and communities so that we can make a bigger impact to improve the lives of more people living with diabetes worldwide. We will also focus on research and filling gaps in data collection related to access and we will boost our advocacy and campaigning efforts to ensure that sustainable change happens for a larger number of people and communities. We are building our specific operational plan, including our fundraising strategy, and further developing our resources, programmes and partnerships. What a long way we have come in the past year!
Founders Climb Snowdon
Later in August, John and Elizabeth climbed Snowdon to raise funds for T1International. They reached the summit (elevation 1,085 metres or 3,560 feet) and climbed back down in under six hours. They also raised over £300 for T1International from their challenge.
JDRF Walk Stall
September saw the annual Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Walk to Cure Diabetes, where T1International had a stall in exchange for a small donation to JDRF. We shared T1International’s mission and let people with a connection to diabetes know that many with the condition worldwide struggle to survive. With our new banner and leaflets (all kindly donated by various companies) we loved being out in the public and gaining new advocates.
Blog Action Day
In October, T1International took part in Blog Action Day again, with the theme of “Raise Your Voice”. Our trustee Charlotte wrote a piece called Raise Your Voice for #insulin4all.
The Access Alliance
Following the success of the #insulin4all campaign in 2014, T1International has grown the membership of the Access Alliance. This year in October, the Alliance grew to a membership of six organisations within our network of like-minded organisations that are passionate about access for people with diabetes worldwide. We are pleased to have created a brief manifesto and look forward to working together in 2016 to advocate for #insulin4all and access to other diabetes supplies, education and care.
We are the ‘World’ in World Diabetes Day: #insulin4all
November is Diabetes Month which meant another push for #insulin4all. The #insulin4all campaign was launched in the lead up to World Diabetes Day in 2014 to raise awareness about the lack of access to essentials (insulin, test strips, education, healthcare, etc.) that many people with type 1 diabetes face around the globe. We haven’t seen huge improvements in access to insulin and diabetes supplies for people around the world, so with the support of the The Access Alliance, we focused on #insulin4all again in 2015. We showed the world that we are united in our mission and that we are determined to push for better access to everything a person with type 1 diabetes needs to survive until things change.
Our campaign had a wider reach in 2015, with more than double the amount of social media impressions. We had 22 news and blog pieces written about the campaign, which increased from the 14 we saw in 2014. We created another campaign video and were part of the 14 hour World Diabetes Day Tweet Chat, hosting an entire hour to talk about #insulin4all. It was exciting to be a part of an active community that was engaged and passionate about access to insulin and supplies for people with diabetes. Here’s just a few of the awesome responses to one of our questions: ”If you could change one thing about global diabetes – anything – what would you change?”
Rights of the Child Resource
In the lead up to World Diabetes Day 2015, T1International worked closely with an organiastion called CLAN (Caring and Living as Neighbors) to create a child friendly flyer for communities of children and families living with diabetes to help them understand more about their rights and responsibilities as provided for by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC). A range of partners and other diabetes organizations supported this document and signed onto it, including Life For A Child, NCD Child, Atfaal Welfare Society, AYUDA and ONG Santé Diabète.
Thanks to Santé Diabète, during the inauguration of a new clinic for Type 1 diabetes at the national hospital in Mali, a young girl living with diabetes in Mali presented a copy of the flyer to the WHO country director; a representative of the National Assembly of the Republic of Mali; and Cabinet Director and Hon Minister of Health of the Republic of Mali. We were thrilled to hear about this success and the start of some strong advocacy.
World Diabetes Congress, Vancouver
Trustees Elizabeth and James attended the World Diabetes Congress in November/December. Elizabeth was part of the Young Leaders in Diabetes programme, where she reconnected with and met new Young Leaders from more than 60 countries. Elizabeth presented about T1International to the Young Leaders and again to the sponsors of the Young Leaders programme to share about the work we do. She also gathered more statement photos, which will be released throughout 2016, and chatted with lots of people interested in helping us with our map tool.
James was a wonderful ambassador for T1International and helped to facilitate several meetings for us. The whole congress was a great success and we were glad to hear updates about some of the work going on related to access to insulin and diabetes supplies, and supporting people with diabetes in resource poor settings. Several new relationships were built and others were expanded. It was great to finally meet people in person who we have been communicating with virtually! We are very excited to work with new partners in 2016 and will share more as things develop.
Universal Health Coverage Day
The second annual Universal Health Coverage (UCH) Day was on 12 December. T1International joined 715 organizations and 116 countries to stand in solidarity stating that heath for all is right, it’s smart and OVERDUE. Universal Health Coverage means that every person, everywhere, has access to health care without financial hardship. We are pleased to see the #healthforall movement growing because it is vital that people with diabetes worldwide can access healthcare.
Team T1International also marked the day by watching Chanceline, a pregnant woman in the Democratic Republic of Congo, walk 27km for a simple pregnancy checkup. An organisation called Cordaid filmed her entire 5 hour walk (and that was just half of the journey – she had to walk home after!) to the clinic. Can you imagine walking more than 5 hours, through a mix of heat and rain, just to get basic health services like your insulin, for example? Just watching it was exhausting, but Chanceline is one of the lucky ones. Four-hundred million others worldwide (including lots of people with diabetes) do not have access to essential healthcare services. You can watch her walk on Youtube.
In 2015 we raised £2,148.31 from individual donations for T1International, versus the £339.51 we raised for T1International in 2014. Thanks to our #GivingTuesday Donate in December Campaign and other awesome fundraisers and donors, our T1International donations increased more than 500% from last year! While the numbers are still small, we are confident that with the help of our amazing supporters, we can raise £5,000 next year with continued annual increases.
To anyone who donated, put on an event, or bought something from the shop: THANK YOU!! Your money is making a huge difference in the lives of people with diabetes, keeping people alive and healthy and giving others the courage to speak out against the injustice of not having access to their life-saving medicine and supplies.