The Science Communication team provides both programme wide public engagement and study specific engagement, with a strong emphasis on impact assessment on a project to project basis.
This area focuses on improving communication and coordination between MLW and the community. This is designed to help the community to have a better understanding of MLW activities and its value and contribution to society. It also encourages community consultation and feeding into the research agenda of MLW. We strive to build relationships with influential members of the community, community-based organizations, non governmental organizations, private sector organizations and other institutions (e.g. schools). Our researchers and staff are also encouraged to engagement with the community as much as possible. Some of our most popular activities include: Science Café’s, Community Advisory Groups, Exhibition Project and Artist in Resident Project.
MLW views the media as one of the most important channels available to convey its objectives to the general public and other stakeholders; as such we have developed strong links with the local media as well as the international media. In this area, MLW finds ways of helping scientists and the media to be able to cooperate more effectively and efficiently. We explore ways of communicating our activities in a way that would be attractive to the media. In this regard, MLW can also play a role in helping to develop science journalism in Malawi. Therefore from time to time the media feature our researchers in their news and other programmes. We run Media Trainings and a vibrant Radio Programme which brings together our researchers, the public and the media to engage in different medical research issues.
At MLW we believe that all our staff are our ambassadors and we need to find ways to aid science staff and operational staff to engage so that everyone is up to date about the work that we do and can easily answer basic questions about us when approached in their social settings. We have therefore introduced Staff Forums and Intranet to encourage information sharing among staff especially scientists and non-scientists.
MLW is an affiliate of the College of Medicine. As such in stakeholder engagement, MLW cooperates with COM to help stimulate dialogue between researchers, policy makers and other key stakeholders. We therefore join in Major National Health Events, Dissemination Conference and run Networking Workshops.
This area is driven by the specific needs of the study, however MLW together with COM has developed guidelines to aid researchers in conducting study specific engagement. To complement this, we have also developed community structures such as Community Advisory Groups that are available to work with studies around Blantyre and Chikhwawa districts. We have established strong relationships with various communities and health facility personnel in order to aid studies as they conduct their research. Some of the services we offer studies include: Community Entry Meetings, Community Advisory Group Meetings, Community Liaison Meetings and Community Dissemination Meetings. We help studies with their engagement before, during and after the study has been completed.