Emma Klatman, our Global Advocacy and Policy Manager, shares her reflections on the Changemaker Projects and how Life for a Child is working to meet advocates, both present and emerging, where they are at.
I would like to share just a little teaser of the recently launched Life for a Child Changemaker Projects — a novel advocacy initiative that will fund and support individuals impacted by type 1 diabetes with a high-impact community advocacy initiative of their choosing.
Applications will be accepted until September 30th from individuals living in African and Latin American nations supported by Life for a Child.
I was diagnosed with diabetes when I was just a little girl — and having recently marked living with diabetes for 25 years, all kinds of emotions fill me when I think about the path that has led Life for a Child to announcing the Changemaker Projects. And to me, that path has been consistently paved by integrity. Life for a Child’s advocacy ethos has always been underpinned by one central theme — meeting advocates, both present and emerging, where they are at — honoring their culture and language, respecting that advocacy is tough work — often unrecognized and even more often an unpaid commitment supplementary to a day-job.
Life for a Child has always recognized that advocacy can look really different in the countries we work in and that there is no pecking order in terms of the value of advocacy initiatives, and that what matters is empowering communities through bottom-up approaches where possible. Our work in co-designing, co-implementing, and co-marketing the African and Latin American diabetes human rights workshops was done in close consultation with the community. We meaningfully engaged participants by sharing lessons, challenges, and demystifying how to use human rights approaches for access to diabetes care, in multiple languages.
Now, the Changemaker Projects are all about strengthening the diabetes advocacy infrastructure in the countries that Life for a Child support in Africa and Latin America by taking a human-centred approach. We believe that change starts with people — and people affected by diabetes are often the best agents for change given their expertise, experience, resilience, and natural skills in problem solving.
We expect to support community-based projects including, for example, access to care fact-finding projects, parental support groups, filmmaking to increase population awareness of type 1 diabetes and more…
I think it is worth noting that the Changemaker Projects are much more to Life for a Child than altruism for altruism’s sake. The Changemaker Projects are not a window-dressing initiative — they are about meaningfully engaging individuals who are capable of leading their communities towards more equitable access to care and a more de-stigamtized landscape for those living with type 1 diabetes. This is exactly why each Changemaker will be matched with a senior-level, and regionally-relevant advocacy professional to both increase the professional advocacy skills and guide project implementation to contribute to successful project implementation and community impact.
Meaningful engagement here will also see Life for a Child facilitate connections between selected Changemakers and national health care professionals within country to increase their legitimacy and recognition as an expert. Our final prong of meaningful engagement will foster sustainability by working with Life for a Child’s well-connected global diabetes network to provide additional platforms for their advocacy.
We will announce the selected projects on November 14th — World Diabetes Day 2023. We can’t wait to welcome our Changemakers and work together to strengthen type 1 diabetes advocacy systems in six Life for a Child supported countries in Africa and Latin America.
You can find out more about the Changemaker Projects, mentors and how to apply here.