Latest Research: Africa

From May 2022, The Journal of Nonprofit Innovation

Posted on 2022-05-29 20:32:30
Read all 9 of the latest research articles in The Journal of Nonprofit Innovation

Case Study 1:

Africa’s Innovation and Creative Response to COVID19

From Joseph R. Opponga, Yvonne A. Dadson, & Hilary Ansah. (2021). African Geographical Review, 1-18. 

“Rather than decimation and devastation, COVID-19 appears to reveal Africa’s innovation and resourcefulness in fighting disease, but this has largely escaped scholarship. Using various search engines, keywords, and phrases, we conducted a scoping review of common key innovations and strategies Africa’s 54 countries deployed to fight COVID-19. Our results show that African countries have used old tools and approaches in new ways, developed and adapted new technologies, and creatively used limited resources. Thus, COVID provides an opportunity for unparalleled transformation in health care and the economy. We offer some policy options for scaling up and sustaining this positive transformation.”

This article from Joseph R. Opponga, Yvonne A. Dadson, and Hilary Ansaha, titled “Africa’s Innovation and Creative Response to COVID-19,” provided a unique window into Africa’s COVID-19 and the major strides that African countries made during the pandemic. This article provided a very general overview of Africa’s COVID-19, but nonetheless pointed out several key developments within African Countries during the pandemic (Opponga, Dadson, & Ansaha, 2021). Due to the sheer population of the continent, it was expected that people could have had 123 million cases of Covid-19 within a year (Opponga, Dadson, & Ansaha, 2021). Importantly, Africa yielded much better results than experts initially predicted at the beginning of the pandemic, and this may be due “to inadequate testing, demographics, or earlier stage of the pandemic”, but also the resourcefulness of several different countries and governments (Opponga, Dadson, & Ansaha, 2021, p. 1). 

Many experts were initially concerned due to the poor existing healthcare infrastructure within several countries. For example, “56% of the African urban population lives in overcrowded and poorly serviced areas”, which made it a prime spot for COVID-19 transmission (Opponga, Dadson, & Ansaha, 2021, p. 2). Nonetheless, to combat this, African countries developed new techniques and technologies. For example, Ghana and Rwanda used drones to transport medical supplies and other resources to remote and densely populated areas of their respective countries (Opponga, Dadson, and Ansaha, 2021). Meanwhile, in Senegal, the Pasteur Institute developed two different types of rapid tests to help detect COVID-19 (Opponga, Dadson, & Ansaha, 2021). 

Many different technologies and techniques have been developed throughout the pandemic, but this article provided a small overview of some of the fascinating and inspirational developments within Africa.  

Case Study 2:

Agents of Technology Localization in East Africa: Case Studies of Social Enterprises in Tanzania

From Kim C. Brimhall. (2021). Review of Public Personnel Administration, 41(1), 321–338. 

“Technology localization refers to activities that seek to make particular technologies locally functional and locally embedded in order to overcome resistance to their adoption. These activities can be described as diffusion, institutional support, and technical adaptation. In developing societies that face experiences of resistance to technological change, several organizational agents could serve as agents of localization. This paper showcases a number of social enterprises in East Africa – particularly in Tanzania – that are involved in localizing technologies for sustainable energy and agricultural mechanization. Field data were collected between December 2014 and September 2015. Staff, clients, and partners of the social enterprises were interviewed. In addition, field observations and a scan of accessible reports and documents of social enterprises and their partner organizations took place. The cases demonstrate technology localization activities and assess the effectiveness of these social enterprises as agents of localization. The study concluded that, given appropriate tools and context, such as engaging early adopters of innovation and staying attuned to feedback from local communities, social enterprises can be effective agents of technology localization.” 

This article from Gussai H. Sheikheldin and John F. Devlin titled “Agents of Technology Localization in East Africa: Case Studies of Social Enterprises in Tanzania” provided an overview of the concept of technology localization and how this approach is used in East Africa. More specifically, Sheikheldin & Devlin (2019) defined technology localization as an “interventionist approach to respond to incidents of persistent resistance to change regarding particular technology types” (p. 324). 

Essentially, this technique is meant to promote new technologies within areas typically resistant to change. Sheikheldin & Devlin (2019) highlight 3 necessary steps: Diffusion, Institutional Support Activities, and Technical Adaption Activities. More specifically, this refers to targeting specific groups, policy advocation, and modifying the given technology to fix the specific cultural context. Sheikheldin & Devlin (2019) also highlighted the importance of Social Enterprises (i.e. Nonprofits and NGOs) in encouraging technology localization. Through the Tanzania case studies, Sheikheldin & Devlin (2019) found that Social Enterprises are excellent conduits for technological dissemination. Particularly, Sheikheldin & Devlin (2019) focused on the promising prospects of sustainable energy technologies and agro-machinery. 

Sheikheldin & Devlin (2019) provided a unique overview of a particularly promising topic that could yield very interesting results in the near future. Certainly, technology localization and Social Enterprises have the potential to rapidly and dramatically change the given technology structure of local communities, to improve outcomes in many different departments.

Case Study 3:

Leading the Way – Foreign Direct Investment and Dairy Value Chain Upgrading in Uganda

From Bjorn Van Campenhout, Bart Minten, & Johan F. M. Swinnen. (2021). Agricultural Economics, 52(1), 607- 631.

“Driven by increased demand from both local and export markets and facilitated by far-reaching liberalization and privatization policies, the dairy subsector in Uganda has undergone significant changes in the last decade. With a comparative advantage in milk production, the southwest of Uganda has started to attract considerable Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in processing capacity, mainly targeting the export market. As a result, processing capacity increased five-fold and dairy became Uganda’s third most important export product, coming from negligible amounts a decade earlier. In this study, we use data collected at different nodes within the value chain to identify some of the key innovations in these value chains. This is done by comparing the area that received the bulk of FDI to a similar area that did not. Furthermore, we also provide an econometric analysis that focuses on the integration of value chain actors into modern value chains more broadly defined. We find that dairy value chains are transforming rapidly, but innovations are more pronounced in areas that received the bulk of FDI. Our analysis further underscores the importance of milk collection centers, which often take the form of farmer cooperatives, in providing many of the support services that enable other actors in the value chain to produce sufficient milk and maintain milk sanitation levels necessary for a modern export sector to emerge.” 

This article from Bjorn Van Campenhout, Bart Minten, Johan F. M. Swinnen provides an in-depth economic analysis of the developing dairy industry in Uganda. Campenhout, Minten, & Swinnen (2020) highlight Foreign Direct Investment as a major component of this developing industry and the reason for its rapid expansion in Uganda. 

Uganda is an example of a massive success story, as it rapidly modernized and upgraded its dairy industry. Campenhout, Minten, & Swinnen (2020) highlighted that dairy production has “increased by more than 50% in the last decade, from 1.4 to 2.2 billion liters annually” (p.608). This is a phenomenal amount of growth in a very short period of time. Essentially, this article highlights the institutional features that allowed this growth to be achievable. Increasing demand for dairy and the privatization and liberalization of the dairy industry combined with FDI in the “form of processing capacity for the export market” allowed for this rapid growth (p.624). Uganda's rapid expansion and impressive growth most likely set an example for other industries and other countries, which could have remarkable economic implications moving forward 

Case Study 4:

Challenges to Nonprofit Organization Participation in Social and Development Policy Planning in South Africa

From Sokeibelemaye Nwauche and Shawn Teresa Flanigan. (2022). Nonprofit Policy Forum, 13(2), 119- 139.

In South Africa, government relies significantly on NGOs in the delivery of social services (Patel, L. 2012. “Developmental Social Policy, Social Welfare Services and the Non‐Profit Sector in South Africa.” Social Policy & Administration 46 (6): 603–18). The services NGOs provide in areas such as early childhood development, education, health care, skills development, food security, elder care, and other arenas form part of South Africa’s framework for achieving its long-term development goals. Also aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), this government-NGO shared vision for development highlights the importance of NGOs in the development ecosystem. At the policy level, government explicitly refers to NGOs as stakeholders and development partners. However, at the level of practice, questions remain about NGOs’ participation in planning for the development to which they so significantly contribute, and the extent of NGOs’ role in increasing participation in democratic processes. In an effort to better understand whether NGOs adequately participate in development planning processes in South Africa, semistructured interviews were conducted with 73 participants, including NGO leaders and relevant key informants from national, provincial and municipal levels of government. The interview data were supplemented with content analysis of government documents. In spite of the fact that NGOs’ involvement in development planning is explained by the state as a good governance principle ensuring meaningful participation of stakeholders (Republic of South Africa: Department of Social Development 2017, United Nations Development Programme 2011), the research findings suggest that NGOs’ participation in the development planning process is deficient. This deficiency stems from institutional and policy issues including the lack of a framework for participation, the government’s perception of NGOs and neglect of the NGO sector, and political issues such as partisan political activity in spaces of participation and engagement. The democratic potential of NGO participation is also hindered by organizational issues relating to the amorphous nature of the NGO sector, apathy of NGOs and a fragmented NGO sector.” 

Case Study 5:

Sustainable Development Amidst Technological Innovation and Tourism Activities in Sub-Saharan Africa

Case Study 6:

Street Homelessness in South Africa: A Perspective from the Methodist Church of Southern Africa

Case Study 7:

Violence Victimization and Parenting among Black African Mothers

Case Study 8:

Science, Technology, and Innovation are Africa’s Blueprint for Accelerated Development 

Case Study 9:

The Prevalence and Causes of Visual Impairment among Children in Kenya – The Kenya Eye Study