Chosen for IDF Young Leaders in Diabetes Programme

DSA Port Elizabeth management board member, Ernest Groenewald, was recently selected as the only South African to be part of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) Young Leaders in Diabetes Programme (YLD) 2022-2024. We chat to him about this.


Ernest Groenewald (27) lives in the Eastern Cape and is currently studying a Bachelor of Education in intermediate phase teaching.

Ernest is a member of the management board of DSA, Port Elizabeth. His portfolio is camp director; he oversees the Type 1 camps in the PE region. He had planned Camp Diabetable which was supposed to take place last year August. But due to COVID, it had to be postponed. When asked how he dealt with the delay, he explains, “It hasn’t been easy. As I have had a lot of personal problems that I had to deal with. Grief of a loved one has never been easy especially someone so close. Also having COVID 19 in the glooming background made matters more severe. Postponing the camp was the only option.” Though he is very eager kick the year off with the long-awaited DSA Camp Diabetable.

Plus, with the fantastic opportunity of being selected as South Africa’s only representative for the IDF YLD programme, he is set to make the most of this year.

Selection process

Ernest explains the selection process, “There was an application process where candidates around the world had to fill in and submit. All criteria needed to be fulfilled and the person applying had to be part of an NPO and be in good standing with them. I was lucky enough to have been approached and nominated by Margot McCumisky, National manager of DSA, as well as Martin and Elizabeth Prinsloo who run the Port Elizabeth branch.

New challenge and opportunities

The 27-year-old was thrilled when he was chosen. “The opportunity entails learning as well as travelling possibilities where I will interact with other people living with diabetes around the world. I also get the opportunity to get more in-depth education on managing diabetes as well as being able to use that knowledge to help others.”

The scholarship will also see Ernest having to raise awareness and be an active activist for diabetes. This excites Ernest and he has great plans ahead. “I want to work towards a better education system for newly diagnosed diabetes patients at government hospitals and clinics and work towards continuous glucose monitor (CGM) to be freely available for people with diabetes.

We wish Ernest all the best and can’t wait to see the success of this excellent opportunity.

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Laurelle Williams is the Editor at Word for Word Media. She graduated from AFDA with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Live Performance. She has a love for storytelling and sharing emotions through the power of words. Her aim is to educate, encourage and most of all show there is always hope. Feel free to email Laurelle on [email protected]