Using a participatory action research approach and drawing from his background in health research and 13 years as a secondary school science teacher in the UK and Kenya, Alun Davies has established the KWTRP Schools Engagement Programme. Funding from three Wellcome Trust International Engagement Awards and a strong working relationship with education partners, has enabled the Schools Engagement Programme to conduct engagement activities with students and teachers from over 40 schools across Kenya. These activities are aimed at promoting mutual-understanding between researchers and the community; positive attitudes towards school science and science in general; and positive educational aspirations among school students. School engagement activities include an annual 3-month attachment scheme for very talented Kilifi secondary school-leavers, and visits to the KWTRP laboratories by up to 1000 local school students per year, for interactive activities with researchers and a lab tour. Alun has an MA (distinction) in Education, International Development and Health promotion from the Institute of Education at London University and a Ph.D. which explored the influence and impact of engagement between researchers and school students in Kenya. He is a mixed-method researcher, combining qualitative and quantitative methods with participatory video. The latter, as well as providing a means of evaluating engagement, offers an exciting means of communication between communities, researchers and broader audiences.
Alun is currently working on several research and engagement projects with colleagues in Kilifi and Nairobi: A comparison between sexual and reproductive health education programmes with implementation experiences and needs of students, teachers and school stakeholders with Nancy Mwangome; The up-scaling of on-line engagement between researchers and schools in Nairobi and Kilifi with Steve Adala and Grace Mwango; Initiating Young Persons Advisory Groups in Kilifi with Nancy Mwangome; Evaluating on-line engagement; and using a participatory action research approach to develop and implement a primary school engagement programme with Shadrack Baraka.