Gene Drive Supplement

Community Engagement Vital to Malaria Elimination Efforts

February 22, 2023

Target Malaria, a not-for-profit research consortium, aims to develop and share cost-effective and sustainable genetic technologies to modify mosquitoes and reduce malaria transmission. In a recent video, the organization highlights the vital role of stakeholder engagement in its activities, explaining how the communities they work with participate in the decision-making process.

The first step to involving the local communities is sharing information about the planned activity with them, taking into account their questions and concerns. Once they understand the plans, consent is requested to proceed. Individual consent is requested for activities that will involve an individual or household, such as indoor mosquito collections, while activities that are carried out in public areas in the community and for which individuals cannot decide to opt-out need a community agreement.

Community agreement models are co-developed with the community itself. The specific context, culture, and preferences are considered thoroughly before reaching a decision. This means that each agreement is unique to a community, area, or country. These agreements also serve as a monitoring mechanism when a project is carried out. It guides the project's key players on how to resolve complaints, questions, or requests for clarifications raised by the community or any of its members about the activities.

Target Malaria's agreement models are continuously improving as their research enters different phases and more lessons with communities are documented. They believe that interaction with communities goes beyond the moral and ethical imperative for engagement. Communities play an important role in co-developing knowledge and making informed decisions about Target Malaria's work aimed at improving their research while it meets the needs of those most affected by malaria.

Watch the video presented by Target Malaria in English or French to learn more.

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