A community engagement approach for an integrated early childhood development intervention: a case study of an urban informal settlement with Kenyans and embedded refugees

Margaret Kabue, Amina Abubakar, Derrick Ssewanyana, Vibian Angwenyi, Joyce Marangu, Eunice Njoroge, Eunice Ombech, Mercy Moraa Mokaya, Emmanuel Kepha Obulemire, Catherine Mugo, Tina Malti, Greg Moran, Marie Claude Martin, Kerrie Proulx, Kofi Marfo, Linlin Zhang, Stephen Lye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Community engagement is crucial for the design and implementation of community-based early childhood development (ECD) programmes. This paper aims to share key components and learnings of a community engagement process for an integrated ECD intervention. The lessons shared are drawn from a case study of urban informal settlement with embedded refugees in Nairobi, Kenya. Methods: We conducted three stakeholder meetings with representatives from the Ministry of Health at County and Sub-County, actors in the ECD sector, and United Nations agency in refugee management, a transect walk across five villages (Ngando, Muslim, Congo, Riruta and Kivumbini); and, six debrief meetings by staff from the implementing organization. The specific steps and key activities undertaken, the challenges faced and benefits accrued from the community engagement process are highlighted drawing from the implementation team’s perspective. Results: Context relevant, well-planned community engagement approaches can be integrated into the five broad components of stakeholder engagement, formative research, identification of local resources, integration into local lives, and shared control/leadership with the local community. These can yield meaningful stakeholder buy-in, community support and trust, which are crucial for enabling ECD programme sustainability. Conclusion: Our experiences underscore that intervention research on ECD programmes in urban informal settlements requires a well-planned and custom-tailored community engagement model that is sensitive to the needs of each sub-group within the community to avoid unintentionally leaving anyone out.

Original languageEnglish
Article number711
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Keywords

  • Community engagement
  • Community health volunteers
  • Early childhood development
  • Informal settlements
  • Intervention research

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