The Grand Challenges in Global health is a publication highlighting how ethical, social and cultural issues can have an impact on community engagement. The article sets out to define community engagement in terms of some of its feature in relation to research.
The article defines community engagement as a method to improve communities identifying and addressing local ideas, concerns and opportunities. Other definitions are included to demonstrate the variety of perspectives of community engagement by both academics and practitioners in the field. The article also provides a brief description of community engagement in practice and demonstrates two relevant case studies in Sub-Saharan Africa which has led to the creation of two separate community engagement models.
The Centre for AIDs programme research in South Africa (CAPRISA) model supports community involvement and informed participation through consultation with indigenous communities to investigate issues on participant recruitment. They do this by studying community engagement strategies in Zulu language and look at cultural factors that may impact research initiatives. The second model highlighted in this publication is the Navrongo Model which involves process of going into the community to meet with community leaders before initiating a research activity, and community durbars. Durbars involve gathering chiefs, elders, opinion leaders, and community members, along with researchers, to deliberate on a proposed research agenda, and to consolidate and communicate community views and concerns.