Grants awarded: International Engagement Awards

Project summaries of Wellcome grants awarded under the scheme ‘International Engagement Awards’. International Engagement Awards have been replaced by the Public Engagement Fund.

Previously, our International Engagement Awards provided funding for innovative public or community engagement projects that explored health research in Africa and Asia.


Adebolajo Adeyemo

University of Ibadan, Nigeria

Confluence of the old and the new


This project aims to explore the social and cultural constructions against screening newborn babies for birth defects among the Yoruba ethnic group in South West Nigeria. 

Input from interactions with the community on their perceptions of newborn screening (NBS) will be used to develop plays for performance at town hall meetings and on radio shows. These will be followed by interactive discussions with biomedical experts. 

Expected outcomes are cross-fertilisation of ideas to boost discussion of newborn screening within the Yoruba ethnic communities and insights that will help the medical community present NBS in a way that is acceptable to Yoruba society. 

Bernard Appiah

Centre for Science and Health Communication, Ghana

Children against drug resistant infections: an engagement project in Ghana


By 2050, drug-resistant infections could lead to the deaths of 4.15 million people in Africa every year. 

This pilot project aims to engage Ghanaian children in junior high schools, their science teachers and parents on the use of antibiotics and possible ways to prevent drug-resistant infections. 

The project will use professional cartoonists, story-tellers, teachers, pharmacists and other experts to explore the issues around drug-resistant infections in Ghana.

Jonathan Beale

Standing Voice, Tanzania

Science, Art, Community: Building Interactive Understanding of Albinism in Tanzania


Albinism is a genetic condition poorly understood in many African societies. People with albinism (PWA) face particular persecution in Tanzania, where myths about the condition are rife. 

This project will use art, music, dance and theatre to articulate the science of albinism in interactive, socially accessible ways. The aim is to improve understanding of albinism as a genetically heritable condition, specifically by illuminating the pattern of recessive inheritance, probability and the statistics of transmission. 

Bringing scientists and artists from across Africa to Tanzania, the festival events will facilitate the societal integration of PWA and create a model of community engagement.

Donatien Beguy

African Population and Health Research Centre, Kenya

Uplifting the Voice for Slum Communities for Maximising Research Impact


Korogocho and Viwandani are among the numerous slums settlements scattered throughout Nairobi City that are characterised by high unemployment, poverty, and poor sanitation and health outcomes. 

This 12-month project will use participatory methods, including radio talk shows and photo-voice, to enhance interaction between researchers and the two slum communities. 

The aims are to ensure the communities’ views are considered during research to maximise its impact and benefits, and to increase community trust in the value of research.

Gillian Black

Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation, South Africa

The Heart of the Matter


The Heart of the Matter responds to the growing challenge of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in South Africa. The risk of CVD is heightened when combined social, cultural and economic factors culminate in unhealthy diets. CVD researchers could benefit from gaining a grounded understanding about problematic food choices. 

Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation will bring together township residents and a CVD research team from Stellenbosch University to share perspectives about eating well, talk about the implications of diet on health, and discuss the approach to CVD research. 

This knowledge exchange will be fostered through a series of interactive workshops and the creation of photo diaries, digital stories and a collaborative video.

Cheryl Campbell

tve (Television for the Environment), India

Films for Change: taking hepatitis science to communities through film


Global media charity tve and the World Hepatitis Alliance have teamed up to facilitate collaboration between young Indian filmmakers and scientists specialising in hepatitis. 

The outcome of the project will be four films on hepatitis, and a series of screenings and debates in Lucknow and Mumbai. The project builds on tve's successful Films for Change model, using film production as a learning experience, and screenings as a way of deepening debate and uncovering the social, personal and ethical dimensions of global issues.

Delanjathan Devakumar

University College London

Bangles and Bindhis: engaging communities about child marriage in southern Nepal 


This project plans to address the health effects of child marriage in Nepal, which despite being illegal remains common practice. 

The project will use participatory filmmaking with people who have married young to explore their experiences. The film will be shown within communities where child marriage is common and discussed in small group meetings. 

The aim is to help the public understand the health consequences of child marriage for the bride, groom and their future family, and find relevant solutions. 

Vu Ha

Centre for Creative Initiatives in Health and Population, Vietnam

Visualising autism with siblings and young people


Understanding the experiences of the siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is still overlooked in low- and middle-income countries. 

To explore the experience of having a brother or sister with ASD, and to foster reflections and dialogues on ASD and ethical considerations, the Centre for Creative Initiatives in Health and Population has initiated an 18-month participatory research project. 

The project will use photovoice methodology to offer siblings of a brother or sister with ASD and young photographers opportunities to connect with others through shared experience, and to feel empowered by the impact their project has on the larger community. 

Elizabeth Kimani

African Population and Health Research Centre, Kenya

Voices for Action: Food Security for Maasai Women and Children


In Kenya, millions of people are food insecure, particularly those living in arid and semi-arid regions. 

This public engagement project will be conducted among the Maasai community in Kajiado County, Kenya. The purpose is to gain a deeper understanding of women and children’s vulnerability to food and nutrition insecurity and to find ways of improving this situation using skills and resources available in the community. 

The project will use participatory approaches including photo voice, participatory video, focus group discussions and community dialogues to engage with women and other community members. 

Helen Macdonald

University of Cape Town, South Africa

Swallowing the World


This interactive exposition will explore, question, and challenge assumptions around tuberculosis. Visitors will ‘swallow the world’ of TB patients, their families, and medical science practitioners, while also considering South Africa’s history and political economy. 

The festival includes a series of multi-sensory interactive exhibitions, performances and public programmes designed to explore experiences and interpretations of living with or among TB. 

The project coordinators will collate existing research findings and collaborate with TB patients, their families, visual artists, musicians, filmmakers, performers, engineers and medics to gain new perspectives on the disease.

Noni Mumba

KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kenya

Research and our health (Utafiti na Afya Yetu) radio programme


Utafiti na Afya Yetu radio programme is a public engagement initiative by the KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme. 

The weekly half-hour radio programme includes live studio debates, recorded vox-pops from participating communities, and interaction through call-ins and text messages.

The project aims to: stimulate dialogue with the target population on issues of health research; increase understanding of health research among the populations reached by local radio stations in the Coastal region; enhance co-learning between journalists and KEMRI staff; and evaluate the effectiveness of using radio to enhance public understanding of health research. 

Carolyne Ngara

The Enduring Voices Foundation, Kenya

Talking Trees: a public health forum addressing maternal deaths


Kenya is grappling with an enormous health challenge in tackling female genital mutilation (FGM), which is a major factor contributing to high maternal death rates among its pastoralist communities. 

This project aims to raise awareness and stimulate dialogue about FGM practices and their impact on maternal health. 

It will bring together a multidisciplinary team of experts and the public to discuss the discrepancies between modern science and traditional practices. 

Jo-Ann Passmore

University of Cape Town, South Africa

WISHing for Wellness


This 18-month project aims to engage with adolescent women using integrated arts methods to increase their knowledge of biomedical research, and sexual and reproductive health. 

WISHing for Wellness will use mapping, text, sound and documentary photo-scape to portray participants’ experiences and show the evolution of their thinking about their bodies and sexuality. 

It is hoped the project will improve understanding of biomedical sciences, and enable the women to become advocates of sexual and reproductive health in their communities.

Sanghamitra Pati

Public Health Foundation of India

Brave Bones: My Story, My Voice


This two-year project in India draws on arthritis and osteoporosis patients’ illness narratives and transforms these stories into culturally appropriate audio-visuals by using a mix of traditional and modern techniques.  

The project team will work with patients to help them weave their own illness stories to convey their perspectives. Through this, the team hope to create a new path for patient empowerment. 

The shared narratives will then be used to stimulate discussion among physicians and care-givers to help them recognise the nuances of care difficulties and needs of diverse patient populations. 

Mark Roberts

African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Tanzania

Bagamoyo Science Engagement Club


The Bagamoyo Science Engagement Club will engage the people of Bagamoyo with the world-leading science happening in their town. This includes research on malaria and tuberculosis, clinical trials for new vaccines and drugs, and applications of statistics and modelling to disease prevention and control. 

The project will explore innovative ways of engaging with a small African town by combining the experiences and ideas of three Bagamoyo institutions – the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Ifakara Health Institute and TaSUBa (College of African Arts and Culture) – with those of the UK creative engagement project Einstein’s Garden. 

Methods of engagement will include music, dance, story-telling, painting, sculpture and digital media.

Issac Selva

Indian Institute for Humans Settlements, India

Health with and through rights: Training Youth in Bangalore Slums


This project is in two slums in Bangalore, Kudlu and Sadaramangala. The aim is to engage with slum residents and then with health researchers and government officials  to collectively examine, reflect and realise care-seeking for shaping health in slum settlements. 

The project will identify, train and work with a group of ’community reporters. The hope is that these community reporters will help to bring new understandings of slum health to residents themselves, and to the academic community and to government officials.  


November 2014

Pascale Adukwei

Allotey Monash University, Malaysia

SEACO Citizen Science Reporters (CSRs)


The South East Asia Community Observatory (SEACO) is a longitudinal demographic and health surveillance site that has recruited 40,000 ethnically Malay, Chinese and Indian people in 5 sub-districts in Segamat, Johor, Malaysia. SEACO’s Citizen Science Reporters project will train members of the general public from all age groups as citizen journalists to enable them to report news and current events from around Malaysia, through professionally edited video footage filmed using smart phones. The content will focus on a range of age-appropriate population science topics with citizen reporters compiling human interest stories about population health issues within their communities. The work aims to help identify new population health priority areas from the community’s perspective and to report on the community’s perceptions of their involvement in research.

Claire Penn

University of Witwatersrand, South Africa

Blood Sugars


Blood sugars is a collaboration between the University of Witwatersrand’s Health Communication Research Unit and Drama for Life (DfL) project which will focus on type 1 and 2 diabetes in an urban South African context. They plan to use a variety of drama techniques to work with existing patients, at-risk groups, healthcare professionals and researchers to create a healthier, more nuanced and better-informed dialogue around physiology, treatments and cultural context of diabetes. The project will revolve around a three-year drama residency at Soweto’s Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, led by DfL, using Community Capacity Enhancement techniques. A new performance derived from the residency will travel to clinic, public and educational settings and a film of the project will further dissemination of the approach and the findings.

Mary Chambers

Oxford University

Clinical Research Unit, Nepal Mountain Views


Mountain Views is a community-based participatory research project which aims to explore the perceptions, priorities and motivations of pilgrims and other stakeholders involved with pilgrimages at high altitude in Nepal. This project, based on a collaboration between the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit Nepal and a local participatory filmmaker, will seek to engage this under-served group with a research process and its findings, as well as informing medical research with the social and cultural context relating to altitude sickness. The project will allow personal stories to be told through photo-diaries and interviews, and community discussions facilitated to raise awareness amongst key stakeholders. The resulting films and photos will be used to facilitate discussions with the wider community and enable community and religious opinion leaders and medical staff to propose appropriate means of communicating with future pilgrim communities and improving health outcomes.

Hilary Kromberg Inglis

Science Spaza, South Africa

Hip Hop Health: Research, Rhyme and Rhythm for Healthy Communities


Hip Hop Health: Research, Rhyme and Rhythm is a collaboration between members of Science Spaza science clubs, popular music artists and health researchers which seeks to address the health challenges around water-related diseases that are facing South African communities. The project will engage young people aged 16 to 20 years old in low-resource contexts in uMgungundlovu District Municipality through activity-based learning. The ultimate aim is to enable the young participants to describe and understand the science problems (research), let them refine their solutions into accessible messages (rhyme) and then allow them to reach out to the wider community with the rhythm of their souls. Hip Hop Health and Science Spaza will aim to give young people the tools to transform their lives.

Naftaly Wang'ombe

Githaka International Livestock Research Institute, Kenya

Catalyzing the uptake and application of research by rural farmers in Kenya


This pilot project, developed by the International Livestock Research Institute in Nairobi in partnership with Kenyatta University and the local farming community in Laikipia County, aims to build capacity of farmers to access, interpret and incorporate research information related to zoonotic diseases into their everyday lives. Small-scale farmers dominate rural agriculture in Kenya, providing livelihoods and employment to more than 70% of the population. Human and animal infectious diseases remain a huge burden to these rural communities despite existence of effective diagnostics, vaccines and evidence about farming best practice. The project will engage rural farmers through participatory informal public meetings referred to as ‘chama’ where an existing network will be used to determine the best way to continue engagement with the issues in the future.

April 2015

Nicola Desmond

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Malawi

In Our Hands - Participatory media exploring HIV self-testing


In Our Hands brings together the Malawi-Liverpool Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme, the Global Health Film initiative, and members of the Blantyre community living with HIV. The project aims to explore the acceptability of HIV self-testing (HIVST) and linkage to care on diagnosis of a positive status and create debate and reflection around HIVST and diagnosis. Working in collaboration with the HIV department at the World Health Organization (WHO), and linking with the WHO website ( (opens in a new tab)), In Our Hands will engage both professionals and the wider public to facilitate and document discussion between local communities, health professionals, researchers and global policy makers. Using participatory media and community involvement, In Our Hands comprises a participatory video workshop, in which members will write, direct and film stories about their HIVST experiences. These films will then form a 30-minute theatrical documentary for a series of community screenings with panel discussions across Blantyre.

Hephzi A Tagoe

GhScientific, Ghana

Know Your Environment, Protect Your Neighbour


This project aims to connect high school students with scientists and STEM Ambassadors to research the impacts of pollutants in their local environments on community health. Findings will be communicated to the larger community through events and the media. The project will involve an introductory workshop with scientists from the University of Ghana and experts from both the Ghana Health Service and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to explore the effect of environmental pollutants on health. School science clubs will then be tasked to design and run a project which will involve identifying a health condition, an environmental trigger associated with the chosen condition and a means of raising awareness to help the local community consider the impact of human activity on the environment and in turn human health. Through the project, engagement capacity will be developed in high school pupils, undergraduate science students, scientists, the local community and professionals in the environmental and health sector.

A.K Roy

Sanchal Foundation, India

Bridging the Gap - Science and Society


This community-based participatory research project aims to engage different urban communities in India by supporting them to carry out research on environmental health issues. The project will use a process that is focused on bridging the gap between scientific research and communities, ensuring their input and knowledge in the research process, and an interaction between scientists and the community. The Hazards Centre of Sanchal Foundation is a response-based organisation, assisting local groups and community based organisations in identifying, understanding, and combating the “hazards” that beset them. Thus identification of issues is done on the basis of demands from communities, a large number of which deal with community health and the prevention of disease. Some of the potential issues to be explored in the project are the health impacts on communities living in the vicinity of thermal power, waste to energy, and waste processing plants.

Collen Masimirembwa

African Institute of Biomedical Science and Technology, Zimbabwe:

Next Generation Biomedical Scientists - NGBS


This project aims to engage students in primary and secondary schools in games which explore the application of life sciences knowledge with a view to encouraging a new generation of African scientists. The Next Generation Biomedical Scientists (NGBS) program will be scaled up to reach primary and secondary schools across Zimbabwe using an innovative approach of model building and activities that help children understand and appreciate life processes in an exciting ‘model it to know it, play it to enjoy it’ approach. Through NGBS activities the students are encouraged to make illustrative models which explore topical biomedical issues in the fields of forensic science, disease diagnosis and treatment, and the molecular basis of cellular processes. It is hoped that this project will increase the visibility of and interest in biomedical sciences as well as being highlighted as a career option for students in the future.

Shane McCracken

Gallomanor Communications Ltd, UK

I'm a Scientist. Get me out of here! - Vietnam


I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here (IAS) is an online event where secondary school students meet and interact with scientists. It’s an X-Factor style competition between scientists, where the students are the judges. Over two weeks, students read the scientist profiles, ask questions, have live online text chats with the scientists, and vote for the winner, who receives a cash prize to be spent on science education in schools. This project will research, translate, pilot, evaluate and roll out a version of the UK event for Vietnam and will also train a local project manager so that IAS can be run autonomously in subsequent years. Working with the Wellcome Trust funded Oxford University Clinical Research Unit Viet Nam (OUCRU-VN); IAS will cooperate with the Science and Technology Development Center of Youth Union Ho Chi Minh City (TST), which is the government association representing school students interested in science and technology across the city. Through TST, the IAS project has potential to reach many school students in Ho Chi Minh City, for the improvement of science education.

Arundhati Raja

The ART Foundation, India

The Vaidya's Oath


The Vaidya’s Oath is a drama-in-education project consisting of a script development process, theatrical production, workshop programme, public discussion series, blog, website and video production exploring antibiotic resistance in an Indian context. It is based on a long-term collaboration between Jagriti Theatre and the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) both in Bengaluru, and Theatrescience in the UK. The title was inspired by the Vedic equivalent of the Hippocratic Oath as it seeks to address the fundamental issues in this case; overusing medicine (doctors too easily prescribe antibiotics) and faith in the power of medicine (patients never taking full courses of antibiotics).

Frances Ling

Lightyear Foundation, London

Lab_13 Ghana


Lab_13 Ghana is part of a network of Lab_13s founded on the principles of creating a space where young people can explore the science questions which matter to them; where curiosity is encouraged and experiment driven by imagination. The method is already successful in the UK and Lab_13 Ghana is the first to open in Africa. The lab is run by a management committee of young people, supported by a team of Scientists in Residence (SiRs), who are not teachers but act as guides to the students in their investigations. This project is a partnership between Lightyear Foundation and Ignite!, who developed the concept of Lab_13 in the UK and will work with a newly formed Ghana Advisory Board (GAB) to build on the pilot and open a second lab. The team aim to monitor the academic benefit over a longer period and work with the GAB to move towards a sustainable locally-owned operation.


November 2013

Tamara Chipasula

Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Clinical Research Programme (MLW)

Samala Moyo: A participatory exhibition that unlocks the mysteries of medical research


Samala Moyo is a large interactive exhibition with an outreach component designed to open MLW to the local community and to creatively explore crucial topics in medical research. The exhibition works to bring together researchers, schools and specific communities to engage in dialogue whilst giving individuals ownership of their health and of the medical research taking place in their country. The project also brings a series of outreach programmes to rural communities where access to health services and information is limited, and in schools where lifelong health-related behaviours, beliefs and attitudes are being developed. Importantly, the topics explored in the project were identified by the community as being of the most relevance to them, namely TB, Diabetes, Vaccinations, Malaria and DNA.

January 2014

Shane McCracken

Gallomanor Communications Ltd

I'm a Scientist, Get me out of here! - Kenya


I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here! – Kenya takes this successful UK online science engagement format to Africa. This project will research, adapt, pilot, evaluate and roll out a version of the UK event for schools in Kenya. It will also share the learning and train a local project manager so that the event can be run autonomously in subsequent years. Working with the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kilifi, the project will engage with 20 schools in the local area and across Kenya to evaluate how the event can be improved with the ultimate aim of students and scientists across Africa reaping the benefits of communicating with each other online.

Lena Bui

Oxford University Clinical Research Unit

Vietnam Sacred water


‘Sacred Water’ is an artist-led project exploring people’s relationship with water usage and risks of enteric disease from ancient spouts around the Kathmandu Valley. The project is based on research on endemic urban typhoid transmission being carried out at the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Nepal at Patan Hospital, Kathmandu. The project will result in a short film on the use of ancient fountains and develop an art workshop for local residents to express their relationship with water and their health concerns. By weaving together visual elements drawn from scientific research and those from people’s imaginations they will work to develop some understanding of the discrepancies between science and real life practice, and contribute to building trust and understanding between the local communities, researchers and artists.

Rhian Twine

University of Witwatersrand, South Africa

Research IS Relevant to Rural Adolescents and their Educators


The Community Engagement Office (LINC) of the MRC/Wits Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit (Agincourt), South Africa, will seek to engage young people with research findings relevant to their own health and wellbeing. Interactive learning materials, aligned with a compulsory high-school curriculum, will be developed in collaboration with young people and educators. The course will incorporate findings from local research on issues prioritised by the young people themselves including adolescent pregnancy, HIV prevalence and sexual behaviour, and risk factors for chronic disease. Young people will identify ways to use information to change their own, their family and community’s lifestyle choices. A “Research IS Relevant” workbook enables LINC to will be updated annually.

Nicholas Fernandez

Fact and Fiction Films

GameLife - Vietnam


This project, inspired by the Wellcome Trust’s ‘Gamify Your PhD’ in the UK, will engage young Vietnamese scientists together with game designers in a competition and collaboration that aims to generate playable electronic games. The games will explore the important research being conducted at the Oxford Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam, and will be designed to engage a broad youth audience. On each development team, scientists will provide scientific concepts and rigour, while the game designers will provide their own ideas, technical skills and industry insight. The two winning games will be awarded a budget for further development. All the games will be exhibited as part of a roadshow at diverse youth venues, for people to play the games, explore the science and meet the scientists.

Anastasia Koch

University of Cape Town, South Africa

Eh! Woza Hey! Come with us


This project led by the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IIDMM) in partnership with IkamvaYouth, an educational NGO, and digital artists aims to engage youth people with TB biomedical research conducted in Khayelitsha. During the first phase – What has Cape Town Taught the World about TB? – young people will drive production of a set of infographics that describe TB biomedical research in Cape Town. During the second phase – What Contributes to TB in My Community? – the participants will produce short documentaries that describe factors they determine contribute to TB transmission, as well as personal attitudes towards the disease. This media will be published in Live Magazine with the aim of reaching a broader youth audience.

July 2014

Abraham Mamela

Collaborative African Genomics Network (CAfGEN), Botswana

Inside the Labs


Inside the Labs [working title] will result in a movie-style comic book series that fuses real life biomedical research activities at the University of Botswana and the Botswana-Baylor Centre of Excellence (COE) with a fictional human story to engage people in Botswana on issues around genomics research into HIV and TB disease progression. The comic series focuses on scientists’ efforts to use genomics to better understand and address HIV and TB among children in Botswana as well as exploring the community’s views around the topic. The project based on a collaboration between researchers at COE and the Biological Science and Media Studies departments of University of Botswana, will use participatory workshops to engage local community members and animators/cartoonists and encourage dialogue around the science topic. The resulting comic book series will be disseminated in local newspapers and reach a large audience through social media and online platforms.

Annabelle Audier

University of Oxford

Beyond the hospital: strengthening dialogue to improve health outcomes, Vietnam


The project, Beyond the Hospital, aims to use participatory processes to stimulate dialogue between patients who have experienced central nervous system infections, their carers, health workers, researchers, and rehabilitation organisations in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The project will strengthen capacity for communication between the groups, explore impacts of the illnesses and potentially identify factors that may improve rehabilitation post-discharge from hospital. Staff from Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU) will partner with a social anthropologist, local artists and media professionals, and using participatory research and engagement methods including forum theatre, photo voice and a photography exhibition, will aim to enable users and providers to feel empowered to actively shape health services and improve health outcomes.

Dr Ann Grand

Café Scientifique

Cafe Scientifique East Africa, Northern Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi


Building on the success of the establishment of Café Scientifique in schools in the Kampala and Mbale regions of Uganda, this new project aims to reach out to schools in northern Uganda, as well as piloting the model in Rwanda and Burundi. The project will employ a ‘train the trainer’ method to allow the initiative to spread and grow, where teachers can set-up and run new cafés and encourage a student-driven approach. The work will also involve running a Science Fair in northern Uganda and the establishment of a Wiki to share resources and expertise. The simple, robust and low-cost Café Scientifique model offers a space in which pupils and researchers can develop the skills to discuss important and relevant topics with confidence, bringing their personal experiences and expertise to a forum in which they can engage together in a conversation about the issues in science that affect their daily lives.

Dr Rashida Abbas Ferrand

Biomedical Research and Training Institute

Breaking the Silence: stories about HIV-infected adolescents in Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe


Large numbers of HIV-infected children are now reaching adolescence as a result of widespread availability of HIV treatment. This engagement project aims to highlight the challenges faced by young people living with HIV and their care-providers in Harare, Zimbabwe. The project, which is linked to the ZENITH research project, will focus attention on the special needs of this age-group by exploring the complex clinical and psychosocial issues. Digital storytelling workshops will allow caregivers and healthcare workers to express their views and explore the topic, with the aim of producing a number of short films. A group of young people living with HIV will be engaged in a drama workshop to develop a script based on their experiences which will be enacted by actors and filmed. The digital stories and the drama-film will be made into a three-part documentary film which will be disseminated to communities, schools, stakeholders and policy makers.

Dr Michele Tameris

University of Cape Town

Beat TB: it's your choice- a performance festival approach, South Africa


The South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (SATVI) in collaboration with the University of Cape Town Drama School and the Mothertongue Project will develop, produce and perform a cycle of street theatre events culminating in a mini festival, informing audiences about TB and TB vaccine clinical research. They will be working in a semi-rural town in Western Cape, South Africa where the TB incidence is amongst the highest in the world and will engage both young people and also wider adult audiences. Interactive drama flash-mobs in shopping centres and transport hubs will explore the issues and seek to engage the community in further focus group discussions to inform the site-specific installation exhibition and carnival aspects of the resulting festival. The aim is to explore questions and assumptions around TB and raise awareness about vaccine research.


July 2013

Bernard Appiah

Kwame Nkrumah University of Science, Ghana

Scientists and Journalists Networked for Public Engagement on Environmental Health


This project aims to (a) assess the challenges and opportunities of environmental health, water, and sanitation reporting in Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda through key informant interviews and focus group discussions (FGDs) with scientists and science/environmental journalists;(b) design a science communication module based on the interviews and FGDs; (c) organize workshops for the scientists and science journalists; and (d) pilot an online discussion forum on public engagement on environmental health, water and sanitation for the trainees. The overall objective of this project is to strengthen partnerships between scientists and science journalists to promote engagement on environmental health, water, and sanitation issues.

Allen Mukhwana

The Infectious Diseases Institute, Uganda

Partnering in Science Engagement


This is a research engagement project that will be implemented in both urban and rural settings of Uganda where the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) operates. This project aims to facilitate the communication of IDI-generated health research evidence through methods such as: professional development, debates, media talk shows, conferences, workshops, multimedia and exhibitions. These activities are targeted to increase community awareness of locally generated evidence to improve healthcare, increase utilization of local evidence to influence healthcare policies and inspire upcoming scientists to undertake health research and its communication as a career. In addition, this project will transfer communication skills to Ugandan scientists as an advocacy strategy to increase uptake of research findings to develop innovations to combat current and future challenges to global health in Africa. These activities will target the communities including patient groups, researchers, policy makers and journalists.

November 2012

Dr David Osrin

University College London, UK

The Dharavi Biennale


More than half of Mumbai’s people live in vibrant localities described by the loaded word slum. A three-year programme will give emerging local artists the opportunity to consolidate their conceptual, practical and leadership skills, engage with health issues, and work toward sustainability. The artists will use recycled materials to examine the idea of recycling: of behaviour, of attitudes and of ill-health. The process will lead to the Dharavi Biennale, an event that brings together multimedia work in an exhibition, performances, screenings and site-specific installations.

Alun Iwan Davies

University of Oxford, UK

Engaging Kenyan Schools in research: Novel approaches using new technologies


The schools engagement programme at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research programme (KWTRP) in Kilifi is a unique initiative which engages schools with health research. The project aims at building awareness of health research in the community, nurturing an interest in science among students, and strengthening research ethics capacity in young scientists in training. The scaling up of this project provides an opportunity to strengthen the partnership between KWTRP researchers and education stakeholders, to learn more about the value of engagement with schools, and an opportunity to explore the use of web-based/multimedia approaches to engage schools with health research in resource poor settings.

July 2012

Dr Mary Chambers

University of Oxford, UK

Health in the backyard: engaging Vietnamese farming communities in zoonosis research


This grant will enable the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Viet Nam to carry out a variety of engagement activities around the new Viet Nam Initiative on Zoonotic Diseases, which is funded by a five-year Wellcome Trust Strategic Award. The project will engage with local communities in the early stages of protocol development by exploring perceptions of health risks and needs. This will improve dialogue between stakeholders and scientists and increase the dissemination of research ideas. The project incorporates community forums, including a participatory photography project to facilitate community discussions, work with the local media, and a series of radio sketches to disseminate information about the programme.

Dr Michelle Tameris

Institute of Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Drama sets the stage for clinical research in adolescents


This project will use drama to improve African adolescents’ insight into tuberculosis (TB) and TB vaccine research. The South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (SATVI) has developed a comic, ‘Carina’s Choice’, to disseminate information on TB, TB vaccine development, clinical research, and participants’ rights and responsibilities. Adolescents from a local arts school successfully dramatised the story of the comic, forming the basis for expansion of the project. SATVI personnel, together with representatives from the local arts school and the University of Cape Town’s Gordon Institute for the Performing and Creative Arts, will further develop the play’s script and assist the school technically with its production. The play will then be performed at all local high schools, reaching up to 5000 adolescents. Performances will be recorded on video and made available to the Department of Education to support classroom teaching and for use at trial sites by collaborators across Africa.

Dr Sassy Molyneux

KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kenya

Strengthening community engagement for studies involving most-at-risk populations (MARPs) in Kenya


Important studies at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme for which community engagement is essential but complex are those involving most-at-risk populations (MARPs) for HIV-1, including female sex workers and men who have sex with men. Although MARPs are a priority intervention group for the Ministries of Health, sex work and male-same-sex behaviour is illegal in Kenya. Research and community engagement activities, therefore, can have unintended adverse outcomes for both those the research intends to benefit and the researchers. This project will strengthen locally appropriate forms of community engagement by documenting, evaluating and amending the current communication structures and activities. As is typical for action research projects, this will be a cyclic process with action and critical reflection taking place in turn.

Dr Astrid J Treffry-Goatley

Africa Centre for Health and Population Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Public engagement with HIV drug adherence through audiovisual media


Africa Centre partners with the South African Department of Health on an HIV Treatment and Care Programme in a rural region of high HIV prevalence in South Africa. In recent public engagement events, it has become clear that the link between patient adherence to antiretroviral drugs and drug resistance is poorly understood at a community level. The Africa Centre will use digital storytelling to create short, first-person video narratives about antiretroviral adherence in this community. These stories will be set against local scientific results from Africa Centre in an entertaining and educational documentary film designed to increase public understanding of adherence and drug resistance and to stimulate dialogue about this area of biomedical research. The stories will be created through a series of workshops with patients and healthcare workers. The film will be used to engage the public at primary healthcare clinics and in a variety of other community settings. Wherever possible, viewings will be followed by interactive sessions to encourage engagement with health research and engender dialogue. The film will also be circulated to Department of Health policy makers and national research and HIV treatment centres, as well as being made available on the internet.