Friday, November 7, 2014

Meet Elizabeth Rowley, an advocate focused on changing the world of diabetics

Elizabeth Rowley, Global Diabetes Advocate, Founder t1international 
Recently, Travel Army connected with Elizabeth Rowley in the UK. She is the founder of T1international, an organization raising awareness on Diabetes and providing Insulin Access across the world.

She is a devoted Volunteer worker who is also the Regional Fundraiser for JDRF UK. She has also had roles with the Diabetes UK as a Legal Executive, The Challenge Network as School coordinator, Patrick Ryan & Associates,LLC as a Staff Writer and Special Projects Research Specialist, Save the Children UK as a Speaking Out Coordinator.                      

Here are excerpts from the interview:

Travel Army: Can we meet you?
Guest: I am Elizabeth Rowley. I have lived with Type 1 diabetes for over 20 years. Early on, I found my passions of education and humanitarian work, which led me to London, where I received a Master’s Degree in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies at the London School of Economics and Political Science. In 2013 I started and I work at JDRF UK in London. Through my job, my blog, and other outlets, I am determined to share the voices of the many people with diabetes who struggle due to lack of supplies, care, treatment, and education.​ I am hopeful that we can change the system to make life with diabetes better for everyone worldwide.

Travel Army: Tell us about your organisation?
Elizabeth Rowley: ​T1International's aim is ​to raise awareness about the challenges of life with Type 1 diabetes in resource-poor settings around the globe. We advocate for adequate access to insulin, diabetes supplies, medical care and education for all people living with Type 1 diabetes, no matter where they live. Life with diabetes is complicated. Access to vital insulin, diabetes supplies and medical care should not be.​ On the website we have a lot of information and resources about life with diabetes worldwide and we aim to raise awareness of the issues while inspiring people to take action and find solutions.​

Travel Army: What prompted the establishment?
Elizabeth Rowley: While completing my International Development degree I started to look for information and resources about access to insulin and how people with diabetes cope during humanitarian emergencies, conflict and crises. I could not find very much information on these topics so I decided to start my own web site where I could compile everything I found while also doing more research and sharing more stories.

Travel Army: How can the world benefit from your organisation?
Elizabeth Rowley: I hope that people with diabetes worldwide will benefit from T1International’s awareness-raising and solutions-focused work. There are no clear answers as to how to ensure that everyone can access their medicine and care, but there is an obvious need to collaborate and create systemic change in governments and health systems so that everyone with diabetes can have a chance at a healthy life. I hope that T1International’s work can be part of that movement towards change.

Travel Army: What is your relationship with other NGO's. Are there any particular ones you work with?
Elizabeth Rowley: I am currently working with with The Pendsey Trust on the #insulin4all World Diabetes Day initiative that I will describe below. The Pendsey Trust supports children with Type 1 diabetes in India by putting them through vocational and educational programs so that they can sustainably support themselves and their diabetes costs.

There is also the 100 Campaign, pushing for 100% access to insulin by 2022, 100 years after insulin was first made available for use in humans. Organisations like Sucre Blue,Marjorie’s FundCLANAYUDANigeria Diabetes Online CommunityInsulin for LifeDiabetes Youth Care are all doing great things for people with diabetes and other conditions worldwide. We try to support each other and collaborate whenever possible.

Travel Army: What are your major challenges on the field?
Elizabeth Rowley: There are several challenges but because diabetes is a complex condition, it is tricky to get people to understand the condition first and the need for vital medicine and supplies. We try to simplify things where possible but do not want to create misunderstandings or misconceptions. There are also many different interests at play when it comes to fighting for access to supplies and education for people with diabetes. Politics and holes in health systems in certain countries can make life of diabetics very difficult.

Travel Army: What can the readers of this article do to contribute to #Insuline4all? 
Elizabeth Rowley: You can do something right now by visiting and submitting a photo in support of our “Put the WORLD back in World Diabetes Day - #insulin4all” initiative. We aren’t asking for money – we just need support to raise awareness about these issues and get the conversation going.
World Diabetes Day is celebrated every year on 14thNovember, but oftentimes people in many parts of the world are left out of this day because they are still struggling to access the basics like insulin, test strips, and diabetes education. That’s why we want to put the world back in World Diabetes Day. We already have over 50 submissions and we want to get as many as possible so that the world will make these issues a priority and fight for access to medicine for people everywhere.

We look forward to your submission.

Travel Army: Thank you for your time and the enlightenment
Elizabeth: My pleasure
So that was it from Elizabeth. Show your support for people living with diabetics today, submit your photo at and encourage your friends to do too. I just submitted mine.

1 comment:

  1. I just want to say thank you for sharing this post, it was really awesome and very informative. Thank you.

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