Mesh is a free, collaborative, open-access knowledge hub and networking project for people working in community engagement with global health research

It provides a neutral online space where community and public engagement practitioners, researchers, health workers and others can network, share resources and discuss good practice. Mesh runs workshops and events, curate theme areas on key topics in engagement, showcase innovative projects and share news from the field.

Mesh was created in 2016 through a partnership between Wellcome Trust and The Global Health Network. The project 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. We believe 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. 

What is Community Engagement?

There are several terms that can be used when talking about engaging non-researchers with health research, these include; public engagement, community engagement, public outreach, public and patient involvement, co-production and participation. Each is defined differently by different organisations and individuals, but the broad aims are to open science and research to the public and to bring new perspectives to enhance research.

At Mesh we do not exclude any definitions of engagement, but instead foster a community that works across the spectrum of engagement to explore and share all possible approaches and outcomes. Mesh’s philosophy is that engagement should maximise the impact of health research to ensure research questions, methods and outcomes are relevant to communities and will help to build a healthier society for us all.

New to the site? Find out how to Get started with Mesh

Find out more about our mission, approach and Theory of Change in the Mesh Strategic Plan


The short video above was produced by Ellie Pinney and features these projects:

Art in Global Health

Art in Global Health set up six artist residencies in Wellcome Trust-funded research centres as a way of teasing out some of the more personal, philosophical, cultural and political dimensions of health research. The work was born out of Wellcome Collection's desire to engage the curious public globally with the health research - in Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Thailand, Vietnam and the UK. Thanks go to Barry J Gibb for footage.

A resource with more information on this project is available on Mesh.

Café Sci East Africa

This project in Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi uses the simple, robust and low-cost Café Scientifique model to offer a space in which pupils and researchers can develop the skills to discuss important and relevant topics. It brings their personal experiences and expertise to a forum in which they can engage together in a conversation about the issues in science that affect their daily lives.


EH!WOZA engages young people in Khayelitsha, South Africa with biomedical research, through workshops and films created by the young people themselves. Under the guidance of digital artist, Ed Young, groups of 15-17 year-olds filmed and edited documentaries exploring local attitudes towards TB. Thanks go to Ed Young, ‘The M.A.C’ (Akhona Dela, Chumisa Yaphi, Mthikazi Gcezengana), ‘Khalture’ (Athenkosi Bhusa, Siphelele Skeyi, Xola Dani) and ‘Zondentle’ (Ondela Kobese, Lucy Sothuko, Zintle Mekile) for the footage.

Chiedza’s Song

Based on a true story, and filmed on location in Harare, Zimbabwe by Tom Gibb and Joe Njagu, Chiedza’s Song explores the complex issues of isolation and stigmatisation faced by children and adolescents living with HIV. Participatory film workshops also allowed caregivers and healthcare workers to express their views and explore the topic.

A case study of this project is available on Mesh.

Health in the Backyard

Health in the Backyard is an interactive media project using digital story telling methods to explore the attitudes and perceptions of risk of communities involved in animal husbandry in rural Vietnam. Working with Fact and Fiction Films ( community members were supported to create and narrate short photo stories which related to zoonotic disease research.

A case study of this project is available on Mesh.

Indefensible Space

Indefensible Space is a documentary that highlights the problems and strategies related to gender-based violence faced by women in slums because of lack of secure and dignified access to toilets. Filmed by local residents in Dharavi, India and directed by filmmaker Manish Sharma, the project formed part of a large arts festival called ‘Dharavi Biennale’.

A case study of this project is available on Mesh.

Inside Story

Inside Story is a feature-length drama about HIV that has become the most widely broadcast film ever in Africa, reaching more than 400 million people across the continent. The film combines fiction and animated non-fiction storytelling to follow the story of a young Kenyan man as he moves to South Africa to pursue his dream of playing professional football.