Five studies, five ways: Transforming youth engagement through co-created infographics, factsheets, comics, videos and songs

Author: Robert Inglis – The Yazi Centre for Science and Society in Africa, South Africa


  • Hannah Keal – Africa Health Research Institute, South Africa
  • Nomathamsanqa Majozi – Africa Health Research Institute, South Africa

Fostering dialogue between researchers and researched communities can be challenging. Inherent power dynamics and differing world-views may result in poor communication and a lack of genuine engagement. This demonstration outlines the strategy, implementation and evaluation of a participatory multi-media youth engagement programme. It is presented in hope of sharing lessons learned, challenges and recommendations.

In 2019 the Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) partnered with science communication agency Jive Media Africa to deepen understanding of scientific research among young people. Participatory, co-creation approaches were used to enhance dialogue, empower participants and gather insights which c inform future research relevant to the communities where it is conducted.

Five adolescent health research studies undertaken at AHRI (which hosts a large health and demographic surveillance and intervention programme in rural South Africa) formed the basis for the programme. These included; a tuberculosis prevalence survey, piloting home-based testing for sexually transmitted infections, assessing healthcare services, understanding health risks associated with migration and gaining insight into concepts of hope and resilience among young people.

Scientists, staff, ‘peer navigators’, public engagement personnel and 30 school pupils workshopped, co-produced and tested:
Fact sheets (1), incorporating infographics (2) and comic strips (3)
Short films (4) on themes identified in the studies, starring scientists and youth
Five original songs (5), created, recorded and performed in response to each of the 5 studies. (The Hip Hop Health methodology has been previously presented at PCST). The songs were used to develop short radio packages incorporating researcher interviews for broadcast on community radio stations in isiZulu and English and are also being incorporated into a theatre production.

Focus group discussions with participants provided insight into both products and process. The work is highly replicable in both high- and low-income settings and we look forward to engaging with others to share approaches and insights from participatory co-production processes.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Demonstration
Theme: Transformation