Our new strategic plan 2015 – 2018

We have just published a new Strategic Plan which sets out our plans and priorities for the next three years. Developed with our expanded Board of Trustees, and the generous help of Elisabeth Davies, we feel this marks a key stage in our development.

Like many things in life we didn’t think about the problem of cancer in Uganda until it affected someone we cared about. In the case of Uganda Cancer Trust UK, we started the charity because of the experience of our friend Lydia, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. Initially we sought to raise money for her treatment, but it soon became apparent that Lydia’s experiences were not unique and that the treatment and care of people with cancer in Uganda was very different to UK, where cancer treatment is free and there are many organisations set up to support those with cancer. Lydia was lucky she was able to get support and funding for her treatment. Many in Uganda are not so lucky.

While we recognised that cancer is a huge issue in Uganda, as a small charity we wanted to focus our efforts and money where we can make the biggest difference. We are very aware that good intentions do not always lead to effective and sustainable aid. Which is why the first thing we did was to get an expert (Professor Annie Young) to go to Uganda and look at cancer care in Uganda and help us work out the most effective way we could make a difference. You can read Annie’s report here.

It soon became clear that while funding for treatment in Uganda was slowly improving there was a clear gap in the information provided to patients and that many people felt disempowered and unclear on what was happening to them, the treatment they needed and where they could go for support. This very much echoed Lydia’s experience of being diagnosed and treated in Uganda. Therefore, we decided to focus our efforts on helping support the patient through their treatment.

However, being based in the UK, we were aware that for any support to work it needed to be locally owned and delivered in order to make it relevant and sustainable. To help ensure this we sent a volunteer to Uganda for six months to help us find a suitable local partner to work with. That is how we were able to enter a partnership with the Makerere Palliative Care Association, through which we are funding an information nurse and volunteers who work to support patients.

Through being targeted in what we are trying to do, researching thoroughly the best way to spend our money and ensuring that we partner with an accountable and effective local organisation we have made a big difference with a relatively small amount of money. We are so proud of what we’ve achieved to date. However, there is much more we could and would like to be doing.

We know what we can do well but we want to do more, building on what we’ve done to date. In order to do this we need to have clear goals for the future that we can measure ourselves against and clear plan for how we achieve them. This is what this plan starts to set out.

When we look to the future we feel ambitious. We have to because there is so much more that we need to achieve. But we are also very clear about what we don’t want to lose – we need to combine the best of being small, volunteer­-led and value­-driven with an ability to bring in more resources and deliver larger scale change. We’ve achieved to so much in such a small space of time and with limited resources; time is right to build on this and creating a lasting legacy.

Read our plans in full in the Strategic Plan.

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