Making A Difference
During the Easter holiday 2019, the network will be taking a group of young people with type 1 diabetes and a team of diabetes health care professionals to Gabarone in Botswana to undertake a partnership project with Botswana diabetes aimed at improving diabetes outcomes for the young people from both countries.
Our delegation team will be working in Partnership with Botswana Diabetes to inspire a greater insight of managing Type 1 Diabetes for healthcare professionals, children, their families and ourselves. In building on existing skills, and developing on new ones our aspiration is that this experience will lead to brighter outcomes for all involved.
During the Easter holiday 2019, a team from the East of England Children and Young People’s Diabetes Network will travel to Botswana to participate in a partnership project working with children and young people with type 1 diabetes and their health care professionals to improve diabetes outcomes for young people from both countries.
One half of our team will be made up of 10-15 young people aged 15-19 who will attend an education camp with children and young people from Botswana. Together the young people will address what it means to be a young person living with type 1 in their respective countries and how they manage and overcome the challenges that this poses for them on a daily basis.
It is hoped that through this mutual sharing of experience can come about a culture of mutual learning that will enable young people from both countries to improve their glycaemic control, to forge friendships that will support them in their daily dealings with diabetes and will encourage them to lead a life where they can achieve their dreams and become all that they desire.
The young people from both countries will also work together as a team to decorate a local diabetes clinic to help improve the facilities for families attending that clinic.
The second half of the team will be made up of diabetes health care professionals from across the East of England Children and Young People’s Diabetes Network. These PDSN’s, doctors’, psychologists and dieticians will attend the camp to support the young people in their learning and to facilitate their discussions.
They will work with the team from Botswana Diabetes Youth to ensure that all learning and education is delivered in a manner that is sensitive and respectful of the needs and traditions of both cultures.
These health care professionals will also work with local paediatric doctors and the team from Botswana Diabetes Youth to convene a 5 day education symposium for diabetes health care professionals from across Botswana. The aim of this symposium will be to create a forum for the delivery of education on all aspects of supporting and managing children and young people with type 1 diabetes.
All sessions will be delivered in a manner which is sensitive to and in line with available resources and cultural practises in Botswana.
In the months leading up to the visit the team from the UK will liaise with their colleagues in Botswana to define the content of the education programme and to start work on a written teaching resource which can be used for all future diabetes education in Botswana after the project has ended.
Other members of the team will also work with Botswana Diabetes Youth to support them in establishing a parent’s support forum, and will share our experience of setting up a patient facing website to help improve communication within the diabetes community in Botswana.
This project is very much a reciprocal learning experience for all who participate – both young people and health care professionals alike. Our healthcare professionals and volunteers will impart knowledge and experiences of living and managing T1 in line with available resources, practices and cultures in Botswana. As part of this, we would like to take some of our own T1 teenagers from the region to engage and help deliver this program with T1 children in Botswana. In addressing local needs we hope to begin to make a difference that could potentially be sustainable and lead to extended partnerships and collaborations.
It is hoped that all who participate will benefit greatly from the experience.
If you are excited and empathetic to the idea of being able to make a difference then YES! Characteristically you will need to be compassionate, open minded and resilient in nature. Botswana is a rich culture with different values and beliefs that will need to be respected at all times on the trip. You will also need to appreciate that the way of living will be different from what you may be used to…in terms of food, society, and other home comforts you have come to expect as standard. If you are altruistic in nature and motivated to share and learn then yes, this could be for you!
We hope that this will be an entirely positive experience fostering lifelong skills for our volunteers. Volunteering is a rewarding way of sharing and gaining knowledge while building your own confidence, communication and leadership abilities. You will be discovering about social responsibilities and have a greater understanding about global health issues surrounding a medical condition that you share with your overseas peers, that may well influence your own outlook upon your return. We would expect volunteers to respect and appreciate the differences that enrich us, while experiencing this rewarding unique opportunity.
The cost of participating in the project is £2500 per person. This figure includes all flights, accommodation, food and activities during the duration of the project. This sum also includes funds to support the diabetes camp in Botswana that will be participating in during our time in the country and to take over some well needed supplies and resources. This sum does not include travel insurance.
In the past the diabetes camp in Botswana have hosted around 60 young people aged between 7-20, but only occur if funds can be found. Some families in parts of the country have no fridges, and have to travel to clinic twice a day to receive their insulin. One of our fundraising aims is to fund for Frio bags which are lightweight cooling bags specifically designed to keep insulin cool in the heat. This would enable families to keep their insulin safe during the day, both at home and at school.
In order to secure your child’s place we would ask for an initial deposit of £500. This will need to paid within 6 weeks of receiving your place and will form part of the £2500 total.
As part of the challenge of participating in this exciting project we would like to set the young people the goal of fundraising to meet this cost. This fundraising can take many forms – from running races, to baking cakes to writing to local companies we will endeavour to support you in any way we can to achieve this target.
We will be setting up a just giving page and will ask you to channel all monies raised through this so that we can keep track of our fundraising target.
We are working closely with the team at Addenbrookes Charitable Trust and will be inviting them to run a fundraising workshop for all those selected to participate in the project.
The amount you need to raise may sound daunting at first – but you will have 12 months to achieve this. It will help to set your fundraising goals into sections for different events so it becomes more manageable. Every one of you can do this, and you will all have different ideas and strengths. We know you will flourish in the challenge, and with every donation due to your efforts you’ll feel immensely proud. Furthermore, you are not alone! We are all a team working to the same goal.
“Dumelang”….Hello in Setswana. In Setswana culture, the concept of good etiquette, being courteous and greeting each other is a national principle. People are expected to have a “Botho” which is derived from “Motho” (a human being). Botho refers to the possession of good attributes associated with a good human being. That code of behaviour includes good manners, helpfulness, politeness, humility and consideration for others, and respect for older people. So important is the concept of Botho to Botswana that it is upheld within the Botswana’s five National Principles, the others being Democracy, Development, Self-reliance and Unity.
Botswana is about the same size as France, sharing boarders with South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Zambia. While English is the official language, Setswana is the national language. It is good practice to learn a key few phrases in Setswana before travel. The climate in Easter time is between 20-30 degrees Celsius. Traditional local dishes use sorghum or maize as their basis, prepared as a porridge. Beef stews along with Lamb, mutton, chicken and another meat dishes are also plentiful, as are many kinds of vegetables and beans.
Botswana is safe and hospitable country. Gaborone is the capital city, which is fairly modern and industrialised compared to rural villages outside. Whereas almost all people in villages belong to the same tribe, the city it is very mixed. Most people there own a cell phone, and while there is internet in most places, it is not as fast as typical speeds in the West. In Gaborone most people travel by car. Public transportation is only through “combis,” which are small vans that stop along prescribed routes and pick up passengers. Pula,” the Setswana word for rain, is featured on the coat of arms, and is also the term for the national currency.
‘I have been working as the Manager for the East of England Children and Diabetes Network for the last 8 years. I feel very fortunate in that I absolutely love my job! During the time I have been in post we have been able to bring about significant improvements to the care that children and young people with type 1 diabetes receive in the East of England. All units in our region now work to a standardised set of clinical guidelines meaning that a child should get the same standard of excellent care in any of the 17 units in our region. We now have out of hours care for children and young people with type 1 in place in all units in the region, all centres in the network are now able to offer an insulin pump service and we are working with commissioners to secure funded CGM for those in our region who need it most. In the most recent round of peer review, I am delighted to report that all units received glowing feedback for the excellent, kind and patient centric care that they deliver.
The work of which I have been most proud, has been the work directly with the patients and their families. We work hard to deliver an education programme for patients and families which is interesting, stimulating and keeps them up to date with all the latest developments in diabetes management.
We aim to arrange events to bring patients and their families together with other families with type 1. In 2012 we held the inaugural East of England Diabetes Games. This event allowed children with type 1 to come together to show off their sporting prowess and to compete against other type 1 athletes to earn points for their hospital team. The event was such a huge success that we are have run it 3 times since.
In 2013 set up a regional programme of activity camps for children and young people with diabetes. The first camps in 2013 were so well received that we have since run 13 diabetes camps for children and young people from across the region. These are always very well received as they give children the opportunity to learn how to become more independent in their diabetes management in a safe a secure environment where they can try new and exciting activities as well as make friends with other children and young people with type 1.
Through the Botswana partnership project we are hoping that we can use all the skills and knowledge that we have learnt from our regional camps to help create an environments where we can improve diabetes outcomes and foster friendship and independence for all those who participate in the project.’
A unique opportunity for young people with type 1 diabetes