Wellcome award to CIDRI-Africa to enrich Public Engagement activities

12 May 2020
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12 May 2020

Wellcome has awarded CIDRI-Africa additional funding to enrich and further develop our public engagement (PE) activities over the next two years. This funding will support our critical PE mission of ensuring engagement that is mutually beneficial to researchers and our local communities.

“We are very excited about this project. It's an opportunity for researchers to have conversations with the public and the public to respond to research in real time, shaping how research is conducted.”—Zandile Ciko, CIDRI-Africa Public Engagement Co-ordinator.

To develop our researcher community, CIDRI-Africa will create and implement a PE communication toolkit which will become an embedded component of study conduct at CIDRI-Africa, and which will enable our researchers to confidently engage with the wider public. Project leaders will work with researchers and the wider community to develop and implement the new toolkit, which will comprise:

•             A storytelling film describing the impact of disease on individuals and community, providing the rationale for research.

•             Interactive animations to describe disease, treatment and adherence.

•             A cartoon storyboard to describe the research journey and how research will contribute to people's lives and wider society.

We have a long-standing calendar of health research awareness activities which the new funding will support, and in addition will establish a community advocacy programme to extend the work of CIDRI-Africa’s Community Advisory Group. This programme will support development of ‘research advocates’ who will both advocate for prioritisation of research at provincial government level and engage their community to add this voice to development of future research goals.

CIDRI-Africa will engage young people through our school’s engagement sub-programme which will draw on the methods piloted by the Salus Storytelling Project. This sub-programme will follow a workshop format, and will create improved understanding amongst school learners, and the people they connect with, of tuberculosis and HIV as well as research into these conditions.

“We are very pleased Wellcome has recognised the quality of Zandile Ciko’s work and this is due recognition”—Robert J Wilkinson, CIDRI-Africa Director.

CIDRI-Africa research engagement champions include Robert J Wilkinson, Valerie Mizrahi, Graeme Meintjes, Digby Warner, Jo-Anne Passmore, and Angharad Davis. CIDRI-Africa PE Co-ordinator Zandile Ciko will provide PE mentorship for young researchers, opportunities for engaged scholarship/experiential learning, and access to PE activities in the community.