Partnerships represent one of the core values that help guide the work and focus of the volunteers and employees within the Canadian Diabetes Association.

The recent relationship that has been fostered with the Health Association of African Canadians (HAAC) in Nova Scotia is a wonderful example of how collaboration can lead to great outcomes.

Created to reach out to African Nova Scotia youth, “Taking Hold of Our Health” is a special video project in partnership with HAAC, the CDA, Southeastern Community Health & Wellness and the Black Cultural Centre, and is funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

With rap songs and hip hop not often linked to a serious disease like diabetes, the unique and interactive video program involved youth groups in a way that helped them learn about diabetes prevention and the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.

According to HAAC’s co-chair Donna Smith, “getting young people involved will help spread the word about the importance of making healthier choices and being physically active.” She also states that “doing so in a way that is culturally relevant makes such a difference within the community.”

For the Association, working with Donna and all of the members of HAAC has been an important way of capturing the attention of our youth. “It’s been an exciting project for the Association to observe our youth expressing valuable diabetes prevention messages in their own words,” says Kelly MacNeil, Regional Director, Canadian Diabetes Association.

With feedback from the community, the organizations plan to move into phase two of the diabetes education project by focusing information on the senior population. “When you partner you have more power behind you in delivering the message. For HAAC and the Association, it’s a lovely blend.”

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