Survivor Empowerment Initiative

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Survivor Empowerment Initiative

South Africa
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

It’s a campaign to highlight the issues affecting cancer survivors in South Africa and to develope advocates that are empowered to speak out around these issues in order to create positive change.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

1. Lack of reliable, up to date data Due to the lack of focus on cancer in South Africa the cancer registry collapsed. The last data we have is from 1999. To develop a strategy to deal with cancer the starting point is this vital information. 2. Lack of access to treatment and information There is information available but not easily accessible to patients and people that need it and this means that they are not empowered to make informed decisions. There are no standard protocols for Cancer treatment and the prices and availability of necessary treatments are an enormous problem. 3. Lack of informed, responsible cancer advocates In order to address the before mentioned issues, we need to develop powerful cancer advocates. The issues faced by cancer patients need to be continually brought to the fore and kept top of mind to the public, policy makers and stakeholders

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Cancer is not a healthcare priority in South Africa and there is not enough focus on the potential impact of the disease. Cancer patients are disempowered and do not have access to the information or treatment they need to help them during their cancer journey. This project heightens awareness around cancer and the issues that face cancer patients in South Africa thereby creating dialogues between people affected by cancer and stakeholders which will ultimately result furthering patient advocacy in our country. This is essential if we are to mobilize the public and create a movement to address this looming health crisis. Patient advocacy is still in its infancy in South Africa and as proven globally, patient advocates give a face and voice to patients who is crucial in effecting improvements in policy and treatment. We do not have a developed culture of sharing stories around experiences with cancer in South Africa. Opening up and speaking out allows cancer patients the chance to relate to others in the same situation and not feel so alone. Patients and loved ones have the opportunity to learn from these accounts and receive guidance which removes associated fear and stigma. Additionally the project has a knock on effect as it helps develop much needed patient advocates. The project ends with a National Call to Action which will bring about policy change affecting all cancer patients in South Africa.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Campaigning for Cancer organized and hosted the first collaborative NGO cancer advocacy workshop for the Survivor Empowerment Initiative in Johannesburg in May 2010. This workshop brought together 80 individuals from 20 cancer NGOs for the first time. The purpose of the workshop was to encourage the NGOs to work together to advocate for the empowerment of cancer patients in South Africa. Up to this point the NGOs in South Africa were very fragmented and as we needed them to work together we had to ensure that they were able to see the benefits of collaboration. At the workshop the NGOs agreed that the SEI was vital to raising awareness around cancer in South Africa and that it could facilitate a National Call to Action. This meeting was the starting point to create dialogues between people affected by cancer and stakeholders which will ultimately result in ultimately empowering cancer patients.
About You
Campaigning for Cancer
Section 1: You
First Name


Last Name



Campaigning for Cancer


, GT

Section 2: Your Organization
Organization Name

Campaigning for Cancer

Organization Phone


Organization Address

Balblair Building, Kildrummy Office Park

Organization Country
Your idea
Country and state your work focuses on

, GT

Do you have a patent for this idea?


These are some of the elements incorporated into the project:
Wall of remembrance: Incorporates the following elements: public interaction, public awareness, all survivor stories, Impactful, relevant to South Africa’s current tone. Shoppers asked to fill in “sticky” with name and issue impacted them during cancer journey. Use of different colour ribbons symbolizing different cancers. The wall banners will be displayed at well attended public events such as rugby or cricket and we can leverage of the television coverage. The wall banners will circle the field and at half time are pulled from goal post to goal post to display the number of cancer survivors.
This is followed by a national television appeal which leads the National Call to Action.
A ‘big’ debate on television bringing together industry experts to discuss topical issues surrounding cancer to raise awareness of the issues.


The creation of powerful informed cancer advocates who can help create and facilitate a National Call to action around cancer in South Africa which will address: (a) lobbying for a national cancer registry (b) lobbying for a National Cancer Control Plan (NCCP)

What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.

The project will roll out over two years. Firstly the funding needs to be secured in order to decide on exactly how the execution of each associated event will take place. The information necessary to create a National Call to Action needs to be carefully reviewed based on the data that we collect form the Rememberance Walls.

What would prevent your project from being a success?

Without buy in from stakeholders and particularly the NGO community the project would be severely compromised. The project is additionally entirely dependent on the funding raised as a large portion of the project is focused around communication and media.

How many people will your project serve annually?

More than 10,000

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

$1000 - 4000

Does your project seek to have an impact on public policy?


What stage is your project in?

Idea phase

In what country?

, GT

Is your initiative connected to an established organization?


If yes, provide organization name.

Campaigning for Cancer

How long has this organization been operating?

1‐5 years

Does your organization have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with NGOs?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with businesses?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with government?


Please tell us more about how these partnerships are critical to the success of your innovation.

Stakeholder relationships are crucial to any advocacy project and in order to ensure that our project is embraced by the South African public and most importantly the cancer community we need to have the people that work ‘at the coal face’ actively participating in the activities we execute. Communicating the message around the project can happen with the assistance of these partnerships and they can offer guidance on where and how we can best focus our programmes. Medical professionals, funders and providers and pharmaceutical companies all contribute to the road that the cancer patient travels and as such need to have input in this process.

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization?

Collaboration: Planning with participation of the NGOS going forward as we have been. Involvement of other stakeholders to ensure success
Sound strategy development for each event
Monitoring and evaluation processes setup and maintained to ensure the project is successful

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

I (Samantha Galliet) was diagnosed with an extremely aggressive form of breast cancer at the age of 29 in 2005. My only chance of survival was an expensive new treatment which my medical funder denied me access to despite me being on an extremely expensive benefit plan. I took them to court and won my case setting a precedent in South Africa. This enabled countless other women to access this life saving treatment. The turning point came when a woman came to me in the chemo room, took my hand and with tears in her eyes said “you saved my mother’s life.” My life changed in that instant and I knew that I had to do something for others in the same predicament. While I was fighting for my life I dumbfounded at how little information existed around cancer advocacy in South Africa. I had no-one to turn to and felt lost and alone. There were no organizations empowering cancer patients with knowledge and tools and I had to become a medical and legal expert overnight with not background in either discipline. I managed to learn quickly but there are many people less fortunate than I am (South Africa has a very low literacy rate and many people are not well educated). I founded the first breast cancer advocacy NGO (PinkLink) which, due to an unexpected demand, soon encouraged me to found Campaigning for Cancer, an advocacy organisation giving a voice to cancer patients and those affected by cancer.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

400 words or fewerAfter founding Campaigning for Cancer the process of understanding healthcare and the systems governing it began for Samantha. For the last three years, she has made it her mission to speak to patients from all races and walks of life in order to establish what the real issues they face are.
Samantha has lectured extensively on patient advocacy including talks to universities, corporate companies, banks, medical schemes, IT companies and pharmaceuticals. Samantha has also sat on advisory panels at various medical symposiums and events. She has attended a number of international conferences and is considered an expert in South Africa on cancer advocacy.
A recent highlight was Samantha was appointed to represent consumers on the Prescribed Minimum Benefits Task Team (PMB) in May 2010. Representatives from the South African Government, Medical Aid Schemes and Medical Professionals are part of this vital committee which will have a huge impact on the treatment that patients and healthcare consumers receive in South Africa. This is the first time that an NGO has been invited to participate in the debate and policy development around these issues.
Samantha was invited to deliver the cancer Advocacy Plenary at the ESMO Lung Cancer Conference in Switzerland in April 2010 and has been invited to participate in the UICC (United International Cancer Control) Global Conference in Beijing China in August 2010.
Additionally Samantha has recently been appointed to the American Cancer Society Global External Review Committee comprised of subject experts from the public and non-profit sectors to provide a formative evaluation of the Society’s proposed strategy for the Global Health Program.
Samantha is considered an advocacy expert in South Africa and has continually appeared in numerous media (television, print, radio). She continues to promote advocacy and educate patients and the public on speaking out and fighting for patients rights.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Through another organization or company

If through another, please provide the name of the organization or company

Prime Consulting South Africa