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.
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
Evolution of a programme to engage school students with health research and science in Kenya.
Davies A. et al, (2019), Wellcome open research, 4
Engaging religious leaders to support HIV prevention and care for gays, bisexual men, and other men who have sex with men in coastal Kenya
Gichuru E. et al, (2018), Critical Public Health, 28, 294 - 305
Public/community engagement in health research with men who have sex with men in sub-Saharan Africa: challenges and opportunities
Molyneux S. et al, (2016), Health Research Policy and Systems, 14
Enhancing quality and integrity in biomedical research in Africa: an international call for greater focus, investment and standardisation in capacity strengthening for frontline staff
Kombe F., (2015), BMC Medical Ethics, 16