Africa Elevate 2022: Scaling peer-to-peer support and leadership development in Africa
In partnership with Kenyan cancer advocates, A Fresh Chapter (AFC) is building a scalable, sustainable, evidence-informed psychosocial support model focused on healing the emotional scars of cancer and empowering African survivors and caregivers to mobilize as leaders.
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Cancer and its treatment leave many patients and their caregivers grappling with
psychosocial challenges that often dramatically affect their quality of life. They face struggles such as fears of recurrence or death, feelings of loss or isolation, and a societal pressure to “stay positive,” which can undermine the truth of their experience. These challenges are often more dramatic in low and middle-income African countries where cancer has over time been associated with no cure (NIH). In addition to anxiety and fear of death, many cancer patients in Africa deal with stigma (Journal of Clinical Oncology) and strained family relationships.
An Innovative Program Model
AFC’s programming stands apart from the traditional support group or patient education model. Offering a pathway that ventures beyond ‘getting through’ a challenging experience, AFC empowers participants to build resilience, develop leadership skills and redefine their lives — whether living with or beyond cancer.
AFC is building an evidence-informed model for psychosocial support in Kenya that can be scaled to other low and middle-income countries. The model includes:
- The Ignite Experience: A facilitated, 10-week educational and personal growth program that offers tools, resources, and interpersonal building blocks to help people impacted by cancer thrive, even in the midst of adversity.
- Local Workshops: One- to two-hour interactive, standalone educational workshops designed to offer people impacted by cancer the tools, resources, and support to help balance both cancer and life.
- Facilitator Training: Leadership development opportunities and dedicated facilitator training to develop local facilitators and workshop leaders.
- Community Support: Ongoing programming for alumni to gain skills and access support.
Most cancer support programs are designed as interventions at the point of diagnosis. AFC’s programs instead address the psychosocial challenges that often dramatically affect a survivor or caregiver’s quality of life as time goes on. AFC’s facilitated programs are offered to people (or their caregivers) six months or more after diagnosis. All programs are available to people impacted by all types of cancer at all stages of the disease. By bringing together cohorts of people with diverse lived experiences, AFC empowers participants with the skills and tools they need to redefine and rebuild their lives as they move forward in the wake of their cancer diagnosis.
- Non-communicable Diseases
SGDs the partnership contributes to
- 3.4: NCDs (including mental health)
- 3.8: Achieve universal health coverage
A Fresh Chapter