Through the lens of anthropology, this research study makes use of this community engagement project to provide an ethnographic analysis of a youth-based initiative on TB, working with young people between the ages of 15-17 years recruited from a Khayelitsha-based educational NGO. Exposed to high impact biomedical research and provided with filming equipment and skills, the participating youth document the story of TB within their communities using the knowledge they acquire from the initiative.
Support and budget resources for the “pilot” film were provided by the Molecular Mycobacteriology Research Unit (MMRU) as part of its commitment to community engagement. Digby Warner continues to provide critical strategic oversight and guidance to the programme.
The mGenAfrica platform is an innovative Internet-based platform and mobile application which has the following aims:
For high school learners, to increase awareness and interest in careers in genomics and other life sciences fields. Secondary aims of this platform include improved knowledge, attitudes, and practices of high school learners towards participation in genomics research; and improved knowledge and attitudes towards life sciences high school curriculum.
For research staff, the platform aims to improve skills and attitudes towards public engagement activities.
Activities on this platform include text chatting to research staff and quizzes. In addition, learners can access short audio and visual educational material extracted from free internet resources. Training and funding opportunities relevant to the field are updated regularly on the platform. Learners’ opinions on key ethical and social topics are collected via a “Have your say” section. There is also a translation corner where users can simplify complex genetic terms or translate them to other languages.
The IDM co-sponsored the second annual mGenAfrica Quiz where 366 grade 12 learners from about 40 schools across the Western Cape competed.