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2019 ARNOVA Africa/AROCSA Conference
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Leveraging Technology for Effective Government and Civil Society: 
A Review of Africa’s Digital Renaissance and Innovations in Civil Society










About the 2019 Conference


The Association for Research on Civil Society in Africa (AROCSA) was established in September 2015 in Accra, under the auspices of the Association for Research on Non-Profit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA), and funded by the Ford Foundation, West Africa, to promote and advance a community of excellence in research and practice on civil society in the service of African development. One of AROCSA'S main operational areas is to convene an Annual Conference which seeks to bring together scholars and practitioners for networking, learning and skills-building. AROCSA is driven by the vision of an Africa where knowledge generation and dissemination on civil society by scholars reflect global excellence standards and propels development.



Conference Theme Overview


Leveraging Technology for Effective Government and Civil Society:
A Review of Africa’s Digital Renaissance and Innovations in Civil Society


The adoption and use of technology across the African continent has created an ecosystem that cuts across sectors and industries, and proactively facilitates: economic transactions; the building of social networks; the fueling of political movements; and the facilitation of education, trade, governance, and workplace efficiency.

One of the major roles of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) is drawing attention to social issues or state action and inaction in a manner that generates a corrective response from public institutions (Brynard & Mukamunana, 2002). A society in which CSOs adequately fulfill this role will also in effect have a transparent, accountable governance environment. Fulfilling this role would require the adoption and utilization of technology as a tool and an enabler, and technology driven data as both input to and output of transparent governance.


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Conference Purpose/Goal


The purpose of this conference is to accomplish two key goals:

  • Embark on an analysis of 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 CSOs.
  • To showcase how technology has and could positively transform the governance environment in Africa by improved CSOs monitoring of governance, as well as CSO self-monitoring.

Undergirded by empirical research and conceptual analyses as well as practitioners' insights, we hope to first, encourage the intellectual analysis of contemporary issues concerning data and technology consumption and production by CSOs in Africa. And second, highlight existing best practices, as well as the challenges of, and opportunities for data and technology uptake by Civil Society. We also hope to identify and showcase examples of how civil society organizations across the African continent have used innovative data and technology approaches to achieve results in their work.


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Conference Sub-Themes


We are coordinating content presentation options that address the following sub-themes in the context of TECHNOLOGY ADVANCEMENT in Africa:

1. Innovations in digital systems in the sciences, and digital governance for development;
2. CSOs monitoring government and self-monitoring as part of the digital innovation;
3. Collaboration of CSO/CSO and CSO/government.

While the conference will highlight these general themes, we also HIGHLY ENCOURAGE presentations and content (paper presentation, roundtable discussion, poster presentation, film screening) from all scholars and practitioners that focus on philanthropy and civil society in Africa.



Conference Format


The conference program will include the following:

  • Opening Plenary with a keynote speaker
  • Breakout sessions with presentations by 3 speakers
  • Roundtables discussions focusing on practitioner experiences
  • Poster exhibitions showcasing work done by CSOs
  • Pre-conference Skills Development Workshop for early career scholars
  • We will make room for a film screening on a relevant video documentary, or a Debate on a relevant issue if there are compelling submissions.

AROCSA is particularly interested in empirical academic research papers, conceptual academic papers, especially those done in collaboration with civil society practitioners, and poster presentations to showcase work being done by CSOs. Please specify your preference of presentation when submitting the summary paper.




Important Dates & Rates


March 8th, 2019:                      Deadline for Submission of Summary Paper

April 30th, 2019:                       Deadline for Emerging Scholars Award Application 

May 17th, 2019:                       Notification for Emerging Scholars Award Recipients

May 25th, 2019:                       Final Submission of all Conference Papers

July 22nd – 24th, 2019:          Conference



Registration RegularMember* Non-Member Student Member* Student Non-Member
Early Bird (by May 1st) $35 $50 $15 $25
Regular (by June 1st) $45 $60 $20 $30
Late (after June 1st) $55 $70 $25 $35


*must be signed in to ARNOVA membership account to access rates





Please contact the ARNOVA office with your questions by e-mailing Anastesia Okaomee,



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The Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) is a diverse community of scholars, educators, and practice leaders that strengthens the field of nonprofit and philanthropic research in order to improve civil society and human life.

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2014 Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action.

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