Community Engagement

Zambart Community Engagement

The goal of health research is to generate knowledge that contribute to the wellbeing of communities. It is thus imperative that the communities in which we carry out our research are involved, not only as research participants, but also as partners contributing to the design, implementation, and dissemination of the research findings. The Zambart Community Engagement Department ensures that Zambart researchers understand communities they are working with, that the communities are adequately consulted, that appropriate permission has been sort for entry into the community, that communities are well informed and understand the research project in question, and that there is ongoing interaction and dialogue between Zambart researchers and community stakeholders throughout the life of research projects.

To realize our community engagement goals, Zambart has worked with research communities to create community representative structures called Adolescent and Adult Community Advisory Boards (CABs). We have also enhanced capacity of existing structures such as the Heath Centre Committees (HCCs) and other community interest groups. Since 2004, we have been providing support to these structures in form of funds for meetings, travel, and monitoring research being implemented in their respective communities. We have also trained the members in various aspects of research such as research ethics, combining aspects of Good Clinical Practice (GCP) and Good Participatory Practice (GPP). This training and ongoing interactions have resulted in marked improvement in research literacy, and community members have been able to participate in protocol development for new studies using co-creation principles, as well as provide oversight during implementation. Every study has a community mobilizer, supervised by a community coordinator with support from the Zambart community engagement-lead who is also deputy director of research responsible for qualitative research, Dr. Musonda Simwinga.