Engagement between researchers and communities who host health research, to nurture mutualrespect and understanding, and promote participation and empowerment is increasingly recognised as essential for the ethical conduct of research. This is arguably particularly important in international research environments, where differences between research staff and communities in wealth, health and exposure to science can be very marked. A novel approach to community engagement with health research has been developed at the KEMRIWellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP) in Kilifi, Kenya, using participatory methods involving researchers, teachers and students from local secondary schools. The Schools Engagement Programme (SEP) is a component of KWTRPs’ broader community engagement strategy and draws on the research institute’s existing resources, and its need to engage the community, towards additional goals of nurturing local secondary school students’ appreciation of the relevance of science,and to raise educational aspirations. One activity within the SEP is a schoolleavers’attachment scheme aimed at providing an opportunity for secondary school leavers to learn about careers in health research across a range of different areas, including clinical research, laboratory research, social science, community based research and Information Technology. Annually, nine schoolleavers, selected through a competitive process, spend three months at the research institute rotating fortnightly through different departments where they gain a range of experiences of health research. Monitoring and evaluation is done through a combination of fortnightly tutorial feedback sessions, evaluation forms and participatory video (PV). During PV sessions, students are taught how to use a camcorder and are given freedom to make their own films to document their experiences and feelings about the scheme. During participatory editing sessions, students reflect on the film footage and prioritise issues deemed important to share with programme staff and supervisors. Over the past 4 years, videos produced using PV have been effectively used to improve the scheme for the students and communicate important issues to supervisors. Video has provided an extremely powerful means of conveying the empowering impact of the attachment on school leavers and advocating support for the scheme among programme staff. This work is published with the permission of the director of the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI).

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Evaluating school leavers’ experiences of being attached to a kenyan health research institute using participatory video

Alun Iwan Davies   KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kenya

Betty Yeri   KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kenya

Nacy Mwangome   KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kenya

Sam Kinyanjui   KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kenya

Engagement between researchers and communities who host health research, to nurture mutualrespect and understanding, and promote participation and empowerment is increasingly recognised as essential for the ethical conduct of research. This is arguably particularly important in international research environments, where differences between research staff and communities in wealth, health and exposure to science can be very marked. A novel approach to community engagement with health research has been developed at the KEMRIWellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP) in Kilifi, Kenya, using participatory methods involving researchers, teachers and students from local secondary schools. The Schools Engagement Programme (SEP) is a component of KWTRPs’ broader community engagement strategy and draws on the research institute’s existing resources, and its need to engage the community, towards additional goals of nurturing local secondary school students’ appreciation of the relevance of science,and to raise educational aspirations. One activity within the SEP is a schoolleavers’attachment scheme aimed at providing an opportunity for secondary school leavers to learn about careers in health research across a range of different areas, including clinical research, laboratory research, social science, community based research and Information Technology. Annually, nine schoolleavers, selected through a competitive process, spend three months at the research institute rotating fortnightly through different departments where they gain a range of experiences of health research. Monitoring and evaluation is done through a combination of fortnightly tutorial feedback sessions, evaluation forms and participatory video (PV). During PV sessions, students are taught how to use a camcorder and are given freedom to make their own films to document their experiences and feelings about the scheme. During participatory editing sessions, students reflect on the film footage and prioritise issues deemed important to share with programme staff and supervisors. Over the past 4 years, videos produced using PV have been effectively used to improve the scheme for the students and communicate important issues to supervisors. Video has provided an extremely powerful means of conveying the empowering impact of the attachment on school leavers and advocating support for the scheme among programme staff. This work is published with the permission of the director of the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI).

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