Advocacy is the act of standing up for a cause and getting support for actions that can draw the attention of those in power to issues so they can take steps to improve cancer care in our country.
Through speaking out about problems, cancer advocacy provides an opportunity for patients, their families and supporters to influence decision making processes that affect their lives.
Advocacy uses different strategies to influence decision-making at local, national and international levels, including lobbying, social marketing, information, education and communication, community organizing and other tactics.
What is Photovoice?
Photovoice is an advocacy tool developed by the sociologist Caroline Wang (*Wang & Burris, 1997) and uses the simple method of combining photographs and a story to express a person’s point of view.
Using photovoice as an advocacy tool for this project will allow the voice of cancer patients to be heard very clearly.
*(Wang,C. C., & Burris, M. (1997). Photovoice: Concept, methodology, and use for participatory needs assessment.)
How does Photovoice work?
A person tells the story of the challenges they experienced because of cancer.
This story is then written down either by the person themselves or by a facilitator.
The person then takes (or chooses) a photograph to illustrate their story and submits it to the PLWC database of cancer stories.
Combining a story and a photograph creates a very clear and powerful message about people's personal experiences.
These combined stories and photographs will be used in advocacy initiatives, to make issues related to cancer very clear to government, community and other stakeholders.
These stories will be used in a variety of advocacy activities to highlight problems and to make positive changes in the field of cancer care.
How to participate in the PLWC Photovoice Project?
A) Interviews and Workshops:
Participation can be through an interview with a PLWC facilitator or by attending a PLWC photovoice workshop. For queries, comments and to participate simply contact the PLWC office.
Follow the steps through the On-line participation section on this webpage to submit your story and to upload your photograph.
Before you do this, make sure that you have your photograph handy in digital format (on your computer as a scanned or photo image), and ensure that you have obtained consent from any identifiable people in your photograph.
Please note that the nature of this project dictates that stories cannot be submitted without a photograph.
If you do not have a photograph you can select one from the catalogue of images contributed by photographers for this purpose, just follow the online prompts.
When participating in the Photovoice project it is important to take certain ethical implications into account. Photographs should always be respectful, tasteful and thoughtfully selected.
Before you submit your photo for use in the PLWC photovoice project please ensure that you have secured informed consent from any people who can be identified in your photograph (even if they are family members).
Photographs of crowds or public scenes don’t require any consent and people must be given the informed option not to be part of group photographs that are taken.
What types of photographs can be used?
a photograph that depicts your challenge with cancer
a variety of photographs can be used and can be very realistic or photos that represent symbolic meaning
photographs chosen from the PLWC archive of donated photographs.
Who can participate?
Any cancer patient or their family members.
Any person with a desire to develop more effective, inclusive and patient centred cancer care in South Africa.
This includes, health care professionals and any person who is touched by cancer in any way.
The aim of PLWCs Photovoice project
PLWC’s advocacy initiative uses the photovoice method to gather authentic information about what South Africans have to say about their experience of cancer care. The emphasis of the project is to collect material that highlights problems, challenges and issues that need to be addressed.
The purpose of this project:
To especially focus on the challenges people face during their journey with cancer,
To provide a platform for people to have their stories and experiences documented,
To create a qualitative collection (database) of messages/issues/challenges /stories for practical use in a variety of cancer advocacy activities e.g. exhibitions, lobby activities, protest actions, representations to government, community awareness projects etc.,
To ultimately contribute to providing stakeholders with an understanding of the many challenges that cancer patients have to face during their journey with cancer.
Submit your photograph
Please complete the fields below and upload your photograph or alternatively download the form below:
Photovoice Advocacy Initiative Entry Form
Review the special stories gathered by this research project .
If you would like to discuss the research or if you would like to use the data in any way please contact Dr. Lynn Edwards or Linda Greeff at