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Strathmore University hosts 4th annual AROCSA ARNOVA – Africa conference

Prof. Ismael Ateya, Dean of Research, Strathmore University, speaking during the opening session of the AROCSA ARNOVA conference. With him is Dr. Angela Eikenberry, President, ARNOVA.

Strathmore University hosted the 4th Annual AROCSA ARNOVA – Africa conference from July 22 – 24, 2019. The conference, whose theme was leveraging technology for effective technology for effective government and civil society, brought together scholars from Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. The conference sponsors included the Ford Foundation, AROCSA, ARNOVA and USAID (through the Yetu initiative) in collaboration with the Aga Khan Foundation, East Africa.

The Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) was established in 1971 as the Association of Voluntary Action Scholars (AVAS) which was later renamed ARNOVA in 1991. It has played a key role in expanding research and teaching about the practices and traditions of voluntarism, philanthropy, and nonprofit organizations. The Association for Research on Civil Society in Africa (AROCSA), founded in 2015 under the auspices of ARNOVA and with the support of Ford Foundation, seeks to create a platform for meaningful engagement of scholars and researchers, practitioners in civil society, business and policy makers, and other stakeholders.

Pre-conference for emerging scholars

The pre-conference session featured a day-long emerging scholars workshop in which doctoral fellows mainly from African universities presented their work and received feedback from various faculty. The main conference provided the participants with a platform to analyse governance gaps in Africa, particularly those gaps that are the result of, or could be better plugged by increased and improved use of technology and data by Civil Society Organisations (CSOs). Various presenters also showcased how technology has and could positively transform the governance environment in Africa by improved CSOs monitoring of governance, as well as CSO self-monitoring.

Embracing emerging technologies

The keynote speaker, Dr. Bhekinkoso Moyo, an adjunct Professor at Wits Business School and director of the Africa Centre on Philanthropy and Social Investment spoke on the need for civil societies to prepare for and embrace emerging technologies. “The fourth industrial revolution is bringing automation with it. Organisations need to ask what services they can automate and what can still be carried out in the traditional way,” he said.

Strathmore University Foundation participated at the conference, with Maurice Omondi, the Executive Director, as one of the speakers. His presentation focused on the opportunities and challenges of alumni engagement for improved governance of alma mater and philanthropy. He emphasized that the government should support those who interested in research, and especially the youth and added that there is need for collaborative research.

5th AROCSA ARNOVA conference

The 5th AROCSA ARNOVA conference will be held in July 2020 at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Its main goal will be to provide scholarly research and professional advice and mentoring for doctoral students in the field of nonprofit, philanthropic, civil society and voluntary studies. It is open to all doctoral students from Africa to compete for sponsorship.


The article was written by Reuben Apuya.

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