The Engagement Platform consists of broad overlapping areas of work including Community Engagement, Media and Public Engagement, Schools and University Engagement, and Policy Engagement. Our overarching aim is to strengthen ethical conduct of research, nurture mutually respectful and responsive relationships with communities, stakeholders and policy makers and support co-learning between publics and scientists. We do this through diverse context and issue relevant engagement approaches, with our reach being deep, wide, focussed and accessible, and adaptable.
Our engagement strategy includes broad areas of:
- Community Engagement with a range of stakeholders including communities hosting research, their leaders and representatives, stakeholders at local, county, and national levels, engagement with our own staff and other research and health care staff. Some of the engagement approaches include open days at the research centre, outreach programmes in the communities, stakeholder consultative fora, training of our staff, and activities that promote interactions between researchers and community members/stakeholders/participants in studies.
- Public and Media Engagement which includes conducting journalist/researcher workshops, running radio programmes together with MOH staff, Media tours);
- Schools & University Engagement which includes engagement with Primary and Secondary students in Kilifi, online engagement of secondary students beyond Kilifi, and engaging university students in Kilifi and Nairobi); and,
- Policy Engagement (working with policy makers at national and county level for research priority setting, planning, implementation, and uptake of findings to policy).
Our engagement work is grounded on action research, an iterative process of planning, implementing, learning and the lessons feeding into subsequent engagement approaches and activities. Findings are shared widely through different local and (inter)national forums. A Theory of Change and monitoring and evaluation protocol guide our action research activities. We anticipate the following outcomes:
- That our engagement work strengthens the ethical conduct of research activities, and the Research Programmes work
- Sustained respectful relations and mutual understanding between communities/publics and researchers/research institutions.
- Enabling values, policies, and practices for CPE at KWTRP to support responsive mutually beneficial and ethical research
- Increased translation of research findings into health policy
- Strengthened local, regional, and global CPE policy and practice through collaborative initiative
Engagement activities are conducted in all the sites where KWTRP’s research is conducted in Kenya and inform consideration for engagement outside Kenya. Our engagement work covers research undertaken in all the hubs of the Programme at Kilifi, Nairobi and Mbale. An experienced team of community liaison, media experts, communication, and policy staff, plan and implement engagement activities and are led by the Head of Engagement. The platform is situated within the Health Systems and Research Ethics Department and is deliberately linked to social scientists for reflection and support in action research/evaluation activities.