In 2019 Mesh was three years old! In January 2020 we launched a refreshed strategy to guide our work for the next three years. This article offers some key highlights from the plan and outlines our vision for the future.
Mesh Community Engagement Network is a collaborative open-access knowledge hub and networking project for people involved in community engagement (CE) with global health research. During the first phase, the web platform was created, a large and diverse global user base has been established, and we have tested a selection of activities. Mesh now has an impressive reach and geographical spread; providing a neutral, free and specialist knowledge hub on CE which is unique within the online space.
First 3 Years in Numbers
The full document presents a new three-year strategic plan for the Mesh project with a focus on measuring our impact using a Theory of Change. We have used this framework to give a visual illustration of how we will make a difference to global health by supporting better health research.
We have three aims over the next three years:
- To ensure the value of CE is recognised by a diversity of global health research stakeholders and that it is considered an integral part of health research
- To work to generate and strengthen leadership and capacity in CE across low- and middle-income settings
- To increase outcomes-focused, innovative CE with global health research
Mesh’s vision for the future is that all global health research incorporates high-quality CE built on evidence, good practice and strong networks.
Theory of Change
We have used a Theory of Change to show the changes or outcomes we are expecting, whilst uncovering any assumptions around how we expect those changes to occur. We want to focus on the contribution that Mesh will make within our field of work.
The diagram below shows some of the outcome pathways we have idenitifed and how the longer-term impacts will work to deliver our mission and vision.
Areas of Activity
To achieve our new aims and objectives we will build on our current work sharing innovative engagement activities and bringing together resources on key themes in our field of work. We will work to support our users to develop their professional skills and leadership through events and eLearning opportunities. We want to encourage people to see community engagement not as an 'add-on' but as something that is part of health research.
There are six main areas of activity for the Mesh project, divided into three streams of work. Each stream works towards a pathway of changes as a represented by the corresponding colour in the Theory of Change diagram above.
Mesh is built on the premise that engaging communities with research is vital to improving human health, especially in regions most effected by health inequality and disease. The theory is that high-quality engagement has the goal of generating mutual benefit between the public and researchers and ultimately enhancing the relevance and impact of health research. Mesh uses the recognised components of a web portal and a Community of Practice to support the development of the field of Community Engagement. We hope we will continue to support you and your work to 2022 and beyond.
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