Engaging communities on health research
Community and public engagement not only allows researchers to give information and receive feedback, it can be embedded in a research project from the beginning, from protocol development to consent documents. Relationship and trust building is a continuous process, a skill that researchers need to improve as it will eventually benefit the community where they reside.
Head of Community Engagement
I Head the Community Engagement Platform at the KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP). Community engagement aims at strengthening relations and building mutual understanding between researchers and communities in all KWTRP research sites. I work with an experienced team of 8 community liaison staff, who directly implement engagement activities.
My background is in Health and Strategic Behaviour Change Communication, Social Marketing and more recently Science Communication. My primary role involves developing best practice strategies for the involvement of communities and publics in research work across the different KWTRP sites, through innovative engagement initiatives. I am also responsible for mentoring and building capacity of community liaison and research staff in community and public engagement. Additionally, I play a role in the monitoring and evaluation of our engagement activities, including sharing lessons learnt across the globe. I provide guidance in the development of public engagement grant proposals and support implementation of funded initiatives.
My involvement in health, science and communities stems from over 10 years of experience in HIV, Malaria and Child Health across Kenya. I am currently driven by an interest in how to develop meaningful interactions between Researchers and Communities in LMICs: not only ensuring that community views and perspectives influence the conduct of research, but also that communities can be inspired by researchers from the region, and scientists by the lessons of quality science communication.
TRUE-1: Trial of Repurposed Unithiol for snakebite Envenoming phase 1 (safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics in healthy Kenyan adults).
Abouyannis M. et al, (2022), Wellcome Open Res, 7
Effective engagement and involvement with community stakeholders in the co-production of global health research.
Tembo D. et al, (2021), BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 372
Always leave the audience wanting more: An entertaining approach to stimulate engagement with health research among publics in coastal Kenya through 'Magnet Theatre'.
Sanga G. et al, (2021), Wellcome open research, 6
Proceedings of an expert workshop on community agreement for gene drive research in Africa - Co-organised by KEMRI, PAMCA and Target Malaria.
Thizy D. et al, (2021), Gates open research, 5
Evolution of a programme to engage school students with health research and science in Kenya.
Davies A. et al, (2019), Wellcome open research, 4