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2020 ARNOVA Africa/AROCSA Conference
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VENUE: University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

DATES:  July 29 – 31, 2020







About the 2020 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




The social, political, technological and civil society landscape of Africa are changing along multiple dimensions, and the influence and impact of Civil Society are needed now, more than ever. Africa needs to prepare for a future that will be characterized by shifting global and continent-wide political dynamics, demography, technology and more. The future of Africa is hinged on a Civil Society that places itself strategically, to not only react to changes, but to proactively play a key leadership role in shaping Africa’s future.


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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 welcome submissions that address the following sub-themes as related to Africa:

  1. Leadership and governance
  2. Building a pipeline for leadership renewal
  3. Technology (AI) and data
  4. Leveraging Africa’s youth
  5. Agile workforce
  6. Philanthropy and new financing models – impact investment, social entrepreneurship
  7. Knowledge creation /normative development
  8. Social movements and new forms of organizing
  9. The environment and natural resource management
  10. Climate adaptation funds
  11. Media
  12. Philanthropy
  13. Science and Technology
  14. Social Entrepreneurship.



Conference Format


The conference program will include the following:

  • Opening Plenary
  • Breakout sessions
  • Roundtables discussions focusing on practitioner experiences
  • Poster exhibitions showcasing work done by CSOs
  • Pre-conference Skills Development Workshop for early career scholars
  • Film screening on a relevant video documentary, or a Debate on a relevant issue if there are compelling submissions.



Important Dates & Rates


February 7th, 2020:                      Deadline for Submission of Summary Paper - Extended to March 6th 2020 

June 15th, 2020:                           Final Submission of all Conference Papers

July 29th – 31st, 2020:                Conference




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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