Community engagement and involvement (CEI)

CEI is an integral part of our work with our partners in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

How do our CEI groups work?

Partners from the Lugina Africa Midwives Research Network (LAMRN) have worked with our UK team to identify suitable participants for CEI groups in each country.

The CEI groups comprise of participants from different backgrounds who share experience of stillbirth, such as healthcare workers, housewives, teachers and midwives. In some countries these groups were initially perceived as a platform to share common experiences around stillbirth and the bereavement process.

Our partners in each country have delivered training to CEI groups to promote a better understanding of the burden of stillbirth and to highlight the important role of CEI participants in shaping stillbirth research. After completing their training, the groups nominated leaders with a remit to link the research team with target communities, and to contribute to all stages of research development.

During the early development of the CEI groups, it was perceived within each group that their primary goal was to offer peer support to one another. Although this has proved to be a welcome consequence of their creation, the CEI groups have evolved through training. Embracing their important role in the development of stillbirth research is now their main focus; working together towards change that will ultimately impact the lives of women on a larger scale.

How has CEI played a role in our research?

CEI has already delivered positive results in our partner countries. In Uganda, CEI has helped to improve research interview questions, so that interviews are delivered in a way that is both culturally sensitive and easy to understand for mothers and their partners. The CEI group in Kenya have confirmed research findings by mirroring it through personal experiences.

In each country the CEI groups inform research and help to develop interventions for the next phase of the programme. Participants represent their groups at country stakeholder meetings.

We are now developing a framework to guide the setup of CEI in low resource settings in a way that is culturally acceptable and adapted to these contexts.