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Volunteers to spread healthy eating cancer message

Ten 'Volunteer Cancer Champions' (V.C.C.s) will be trained to spread the message across Samoa about the benefits of keeping a healthy diet when battling cancer. 

The initiative led by the Samoa Cancer Society (S.C.S) was pitched to the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (C.F.L.I) for funding support when earlier this year after an advertisement was placed for non-Government organisation support in Canada this year. 

“The S.C.S through this project will address one of the major challenges faced by cancer patients and their loved ones who are expected to take up the palliative care responsibilities at home with little preparation and lack of understanding of what palliative care entails within the home and community setting," a spokesperson for the organisation said in a statement. 


“Palliative care improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing a life-limiting illness through the prevention and relief of suffering, making it possible for people to die with dignity.

“Palliative care, while not curative, has nevertheless been proven to prolong life as well as restoring quality of life.”

Due to restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the organisation said there was a need for new platforms for delivering programmes dedicated to awareness and outreach. That meant strengthening the Society and its volunteers' abilities to use virtual platforms. 

The 10 Volunteer Cancer Champions include four men and six women from Upolu and Savaii.

They were selected from a group of 58 participants in a workshop that was part of the Society's Vave II Cancer National Campaign. That initiative for awareness and capacity building campaign was implemented in Samoa from July 2018 to August 2019.

"The digital capacity building training will further empower the [volunteers] with skills and knowledge to be able to confidently utilise Digital Video Streaming Platforms such as Google chat, Zoom or Skype, to receive training and cancer resources," the Society's statement said. 

“In addition, the [volunteers using digital platforms] will be well versed on the delivery and demonstration of [... the Society's] Palliative Care Resources [...] and importantly an understanding of Palliative Care for their village community.”

Palliative care is a type of medicine that focuses on providing treatment to people at the end-stage of life.

Volunteers will be given an opportunity to prepare and deliver what they have learned in a virtual or online presentation back to the broader Samoa Cancer Society at the project's conclusion. 


The S.C.S has 12 months from July 2020 to implement what is a pilot project.

Nicolas Sabourin, the Acting High Commissioner for Canada to Samoa, congratulated the Samoa Cancer Society's broader team and Chief Executive Officer, Su’a John Ryan, stating that they were looking towards collaborating in coming months to support the delivery of this project.

The Canada Fund is contributing a total of CAD$33,000 (WST$65,423).

According to the S.C.S: “The C.F.L.I had considered S.C.S’s proposal as a particularly attractive one especially in the current COVID-19 circumstances where it does respond indirectly to one of the impacts of lockdown measures (limited capacity to serve palliative care patients). “

The C.F.L.I says it considers the S.C.S as an organisation with a proven record of successful projects yet to benefit from resources from the Canada Fund. 

Canada’s work in Samoa is very focused on Non-Communicable Disease prevention.

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