Bucket Loads of Health
Gill Black recently won a Wellcome Public Engagement award which will enable the continuation of SLFs work to engage communities in public health and health science research, throughout 2018. This will be achieved through a participatory and creative project called Bucket Loads of Health which responds to the severe drought and high level water restrictions that are currently affecting the City of Cape Town. The project will bring a team of water microbiologists at Stellenbosch University together with participants from three communities in Cape Town that vary significantly in water availability.
In the first phase of the project the community participants will work with audio and visual methods to reflect upon their individual and collective experiences of water shortage and water saving, and communicate their perspectives on the health implications of these practices. The outputs of these innovative engagement methods will include body maps, personal stories, musical narratives and short films, creating multiple platforms for co-learning.
A series of interactive workshops between the community participants and water scientists will enable the creative outputs to be shared, and foster dialogue about the health risks associated with using alternative water sources – especially the storage and recycling of rainwater and grey water for household use. These workshops will also provide an opportunity for the scientific team to explain their microbiology research to a public audience, and inspire collective thinking about novel and practical measures to increase the safety of water recycling efforts in different settings.
The knowledge and information that is generated through the project will also be relevant and accessible to government representatives and members of other communities in the City. This work will emphasize the importance of public engagement in making scientific research more accessible and relevant to communities and policy makers.
We are looking forward to building a new partnership with Professor Wesaal Khan and her team on this project, and sustaining our links with world class scientists at Stellenbosch University.
Bucket Loads of Health kicks off in January 2018.
-By Gill Black