We support a network of community representatives covering the Kilifi surveillance area, where the majority of our contact with a community occurs. The representatives are elected by the community and serve a term of 3 years. In addition we have a community liaison group who work with PIs on their individual projects to advise on and support communication and information giving. A consent committee works to ensure a universal standard and format of consenting materials and practice across the programme.
Our broader community engagement activity includes a schools engagement programme, a radio programme and community consultation on data and sample sharing. The schools engagement programme is currently based in Kilifi and expanding to include schools in Nairobi. It includes workshops, school visits and an online platform “I’m a scientist, get me out of here” which allows virtual one-to-one communication with scientists and voting on the standard of explanations given.
The schools programme has proven highly successful in Kilifi with an increasing number of schools wishing to enrol. In addition we conduct evaluations of attitudes and knowledge before and after the schools engagement. Our internship programme (funded under DELTAs) provides an avenue to channel the enthusiasm of some of the graduates of our schools programme.