Zambart Community Engagement

IMG_0576In order for any research to be successful and yield measurable results, the direct involvement of communities in which it is being implemented is integral to the entire process. At Zambart, the Community Engagement Department is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that Zambart researchers have enough information and understanding about the complexities of communities they are working with.

This means that the communities must be adequately consulted and appropriate permission sought for entry into the community. It entails that communities are provided with adequate information and are sensitised about the research project in question, in addition to creating open communicative spaces for dialogue between Zambart researchers and the Steve-making-a-presentation-in-Bwacha-meetingdifferent community stakeholders throughout the life of the research project. These engagement strategies enable Zambart researchers to be transparent in their actions, build trust in the communities and increase the chance that the community will accept both the research and its results.

To achieve this, Zambart devises appropriate representation mechanisms for each research project. Beyond information giving, awareness raising, consultation and representation, community engagement facilitates community input into science generation and the improvement of the overall research process. This is done by community representatives who provide advice to Zambart researchers regarding enrolment and retention of research participants; analysis and dissemination of study results; and offering protection to study participants by ‘amplifying’ their voice on the research project.