WARA West Coast Regional Conference June 2024

June 1, 2024

WARA West Coast Regional Conference 2024

Conference Overview

The West African Research Association (WARA) and the Center for African Studies at the University of California are pleased to present the Second West Coast Regional Conference on West Africa on Monday, 10 June and Tuesday, 11 June 2024. To complement the missions of WARA and the Center, the goal of the conference is to foster a vibrant network of scholars in the western region of North America who do research and teach on West Africa.

The conference is fully online. Register here.

Keynote Monday, June 10th, 2:00-3:00 PM PDT

Odd Notions of Race: Multiracial Identities and the Configuration of Decolonization in Post-World War II West Africa

Faculty headshot - female smiling, wearing glasses, black blazer in front of books on shelf 

Rachel Jean-Baptiste

Michelle Mercer and Bruce Golden Family Professorship in Feminist and Gender Studies,
Department of History, Stanford University.


Monday, June 10

Conflict, Resilience, and Inequality in the Sahel: Exploring Social Trust and Civilian Strategies (9:00-10:30 AM PDT)

William Favell, Graduate Student, Washington State University

Trust Amidst Turmoil: Violent Extremism and Social Cohesion in Northern Ghana

A body of scholarship examines the relationship between exposure to conflict and social trust, however, a puzzle remains how exposure to specific types of conflict affects social trust levels. Violent Extremist Organizations are increasingly active across Africa, especially within the Sahel, posing a threat to the stability of surrounding nations. This study asks: How does exposure to conflict impact and individuals social trust? And does the type of conflict matter? Using original geocoded survey data from 40 communities across the 5 regions of Northern Ghana combined with Armed Conflict Location Event Data (ACLED), this study finds that exposure to VEO based conflict induces an increased probability that respondents will exhibit higher levels social trust and pro-social behavior, contrasting to other forms of conflict. From these results, we hope to make a valuable theoretical contribution to this debate, emphasizing the unique dynamics within exposure to VEO based conflict that result in such outcomes.


Dinah Lawan, Graduate Student, University of California, Berkeley

Micro-Level Community Self-Defense Practices: Non-Military Mechanisms: Evidence from Chibok

This paper examines the process through which civilians in Northern Nigeria have built and adopted non-violent strategies and practices to defend and protect themselves against Boko Haram violence. While there is abundant research on militarized self-defense (e.g., militias, vigilante groups), the literature largely overlooks the smaller, non-military defensive strategies civilians adopt during times of conflict. Thus, by focusing on the small-scale defensive efforts developed by communities in Northeastern Nigeria to counter Boko Haram violence, this research has demonstrated that these non-militarized approaches are not only common but also critical in providing security when traditional protection is absent. Through extensive interviews with local authorities and victims of Boko Haram, the findings have revealed that civilians actively employ non-violent strategies and maintain agency in their daily endeavors to combat violence in order to minimize detection, minimize casualties, and prevent attacks. In so doing, their strategies provide early warning systems, reduce Boko Haram’s ability to inflict damage, and design pre-planned safety responses. These findings contribute to the literature on civilian agency in conflict, internal conflicts, and African Studies by demonstrating how non-violent civilian responses to terrorism can enhance community resilience with an in-depth qualitative case study of Nigeria.


Michael Kevane, Professor, Santa Clara University

Regional and Ethnic Inequality in Burkina Faso

This paper summarizes data on regional and ethnic inequality in Burkina Faso. The Sahel and Est regions appear to be the worst-off, according to a variety of indicators. There is less data and research on ethnic inequality, but it is likely that the Peul and Gourma ethnic groups (residing predominantly in the Sahel and Est regions) are also worse off. There has been little systematic analysis of how government investment in public goods have affected regional and ethnic inequality. Some of the important drivers of inequality in Burkina Faso are likely similar to those identified for other African countries. These include the colonial heritage, especially of missionary settlement and effects on education, forced labor, the location of road and rail networks, dam and irrigation infrastructure, and public services investments in rural areas.


Community-Based Interventions for Children and Married Adolescents in Northern Nigeria (10:45 AM-11:45 AM PDT)

Panel Organizer: Isabelle Cohen, Assistant Professor, University of Washington

Women and girls in northern Nigeria face enormous challenges across their life courses, from inequitable investment in education to child marriage to a disproportionately high maternal mortality rate. This panel will discuss the context and effects of two cluster-randomized controlled trials evaluating innovative, community-based interventions by the Centre for Girls’ Education in Kaduna State, Nigeria. Dr. Perlman will present on the broader context as faced by women and girls, with a focus on girls’ education and child marriage. Dr. Cohen will present on the effects of a safe spaces-based program for married adolescents (MAS), randomly evaluated across forty communities in 2022-23, which decreased pregnancy rates by 40% and experiences of intimate partner violence by 64%. Dr. Wolf will present on the impacts of a high-quality preschool program, showing that the program yielded considerably large impacts on every domain of school readiness assessed (d = 0.89-1.52) and changed parental perceptions on possibilities for their daughters’ futures.

The Benin Connection: U.S. Community College and NGO Collaboration on Pan African Curriculum (12:00-1:00 PM PDT)

Panel Organizer: Valerie F. Hunt, Professor, Seattle Community College
Moderator: Jabari Lane, Development Associate, Community Healing Network
Gérard Richard Agbayanou, President and Co-Founder of Sens de L’Elite Africaine, Benin
Jan Berger, Community Manager, Community Healing Network
Roxane Blanchard Johnson, LCPC, Community Healing Network

In 2022, U.S. community college educator Dr. Valerie F. Hunt and Benin educator and founder of Sens de L’Elite Africaine (SEA), Gérard Richard Agbayanou, formed a transnational collaborative partnership to develop a Pan-African curriculum and community development program. The partnership leverages placed based learning of collective liberation (history, culture, language)  and English instruction outside of Benin's Francophone school system. The mission of Sens de L’Elite Africaine (SEA), a Pan-African education center in Ouidah, Benin is to ensure that African youth grow with the knowledge of their true history and culture, and enable them to face eventual challenges of the planetary village that our world has become today.

We have produced the following outcomes:

  1. Professional development of SEA educators in collaboration with U.S. NGOs, e.g., Community Healing Network and Black educational psychologists.
  2. Educational enrichment programs involving community building and engagement.
  3. SEA held its 9th annual yearlong three citywide scholastic competition in four academic categories framed around a theme and conducted in English.

Our presentation goal is to share what we have learned and to connect with like minded researcher/practitioners interested in possible collaboration.

Keynote (2:00-3:00 PM PDT)

Rachel Jean-Baptiste, Michelle Mercer and Bruce Golden Family Professor in Feminist and Gender Studies, History, Stanford University

Odd Notions of Race: Multiracial Identities and The Configuration of Decolonization in Post-World War II West Africa

Market Dynamics, Entrepreneurial Strategy, and Economic Policy in Nigeria (3:15-4:45 PM PDT)

Aduralere Oyelade, Graduate Student, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Nigeria

Fuel Subsidy Removal and Human Welfare in Some Selected Households in Southern Nigeria

Nigeria, like many oil-exporting nations, has phased out fuel subsidies since the 1970s. Recent debates intensified due to recurring issues and significant economic impact. Subsidies strain government resources, distort markets, and constrain budgets, burdening citizens with sharp inflation, exacerbating poverty, and food insecurity. Despite numerous empirical studies worldwide on subsidy issues, the direct and indirect effects of subsidy removal on household essential commodities in Nigeria, particularly in Southwest Nigeria, remain largely unexplored. Also, compensating variation and equivalent variation that are crucial concepts in welfare economics for assessing the impact of policy changes like subsidy removal on household welfare, have not yet been comprehensively addressed in past Nigerian studies. Therefore, the study evaluated the relationship between fuel subsidy and human welfare in selected households in Southwest Nigeria.

The study concluded that fuel subsidy removal in Southwest Nigeria had profound direct and indirect impacts on household welfare, significantly increasing essential commodities prices and straining budgets. Policy recommendations include the implementation of targeted social assistance programs to support vulnerable groups, promotion of sustainable practices to mitigate indirect effects, and targeted income support programs based on compensating and equivalent variations to alleviate adverse welfare effects. These recommendations aim to address the wide-ranging economic implications of subsidy removal and ensure a more equitable transition for households in Southwest Nigeria


Samuel Zicheng Wang, Graduate Student, University of California, Berkeley

Fairness in Market Transactions: Evidence from Microenterprises in Nigeria

Does fairness have a role in market transactions, and do fairness concerns affect entrepreneurs’ ability to adapt to macroeconomic volatility? I study whether fairness norms affect consumers’ price sensitivity and attitude towards sellers, and sellers’ price setting behavior among microenterprises in Lagos, Nigeria. Social ties between buyers and sellers are common, and yet sellers face constant cost pressures to raise prices, and justify it, under 30% inflation. I hypothesize consumers value justification accompanying price increases: if a price increase is perceived to be "fairer" due to factors beyond seller’s control, consumers are less likely to perceive the seller negatively or substitute away from the shop. In the first phase of the study, I randomize providing credible information about cost increases on a poster, which firms could use to explain to customers why prices were high. I find that the poster leads to higher consumer willingness to pay, decreased customer anger, and a higher probability of firms raising prices, likely due to the increased justifiability. In the second phase, I will directly estimate consumers’ sensitivity to price increases under fairness concerns, examine heterogeneity across communities with varying degrees of social ties, and quantify the implications of my results for economic development.


Paul Lubeck, Professor, University of California, Santa Cruz

Dangote: Explaining the Rise of Africa’s Transformational Industrialist

This paper answers this question: how did Aliko Dangote, a fourth-generation trader from a backward Nigerian region of Nigeria, become Africa’s most celebrated transformational industrialist? The iconic event was not Forbes’ coronation as Africa’s wealthiest businessman, rather it was the launching of Africa’s largest refinery, fertilizer, and chemical complex at Lagos (2023). After historicizing the phases of the Dangote Group from a trading enterprise to a multinational conglomerate, the paper focuses on explaining the structurally transformative features of Dangote’s industrial strategy. The evidence argues that Dangote’s successes flow from demanding that local and international managers apply the latest technical and organizational learning to overcome obstacles to achieving “structural transformation” within a petro-rentier state. The latter concept refers to deploying organizational expertise, technology, finance, and marketing continuously at the firm level in order to raise productivity, lower costs, increase national market share, and, eventually, export to the AfCFTA. Earlier, Dangote’s decision to pursue structural transformation arose from his prescient estimate of surging domestic demand for everyday-life necessities in urbanizing Africa. This insight was risky because it demanded expensive investments in fixed, large-scale, backward linkages in order to produce sufficient industrial inputs---limestone, hydrocarbons, natural gas, salt, agricultural commodities--- for urban necessities.

Enhancing Educational Outcomes through Innovative Interventions in West Africa (5:00-6:00 PM PDT)

Uyanga Byambaa, Graduate Student, University of California, Berkeley

Cognitive Enrichment and Human Capital: Evidence from School Intervention in Developing Countries

Research indicates that poverty impedes cognition. This is particularly evident in developing countries, where children often underutilize their brains both outside and in school. The development of abilities such as critical analysis, informed decision-making, memory, strategic planning, and spatial awareness is crucial. These skills are frequently underdeveloped in contexts of extreme poverty. Chess is increasingly recognized as a valuable educational tool that offers a stimulating and enjoyable way to enhance cognitive development in children, fostering these essential skills.

In contrast to advanced economies, which have the resources to enhance student learning through large investments in school infrastructure, teacher quality, and educational technology, developing economies face substantial financial constraints in doing so. In this context, chess, which has until now not been integrated into most Sub-Saharan African educational systems, presents a potentially cost-effective strategy to boost student achievement. Once acquired, the skills imparted by chess promise multidimensional cognitive benefits with relatively low requirements for supervision and minimal capital investment (such as chess sets).

This study aims to conduct a randomized field experiment to specifically identify the impact of chess education on cognitive outcomes. This will enable an assessment of whether chess can serve as a cost-effective intervention to develop vital cognitive abilities.


Christiana Kallon Kelly, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Los Angeles

Schoolgirl Diplomacy: Education, Gender, and the Remaking of Sierra Leone’s Global Reputation

This paper examines girls’ education reforms as state tools for national development and public diplomacy in postwar Sierra Leone, and its implications for secondary schoolgirls. This paper draws on four years of research, including 14 months of ethnographic fieldwork and teaching in Sierra Leone. I argue that recent policies providing access to schooling for adolescent girls, especially pregnant teenagers and young mothers, were instrumental in transforming Sierra Leone from a “failed state in crisis” to a “liberal, progressive, confident and enterprising nation” and supported in positioning the country an influential partner in the global development community post-civil war from 1999 to 2002 and post the Ebola outbreak in 2014. Yet these reforms often simultaneously reproduced racialized and gendered logics of schooling as a means of shaping and controlling the sexual and reproductive practices of Black African girls, which contributed to the continued marginalization and exploitation of young women in their schools and local communities. This paper brings new theoretical understandings of the complex role of education reforms in both ameliorating and reproducing gender inequalities in countries affected by conflict and crises as well as highlights processes of racialization through educational development in Africa.

Tuesday, June 11

Narratives and Knowledge: Approaches to Conflict and History in Africa (9:00-10:30 AM PDT)

Sibahle Ndwayana, Graduate Student, University of California, Berkeley

Towards an Ec(h)o-ed Infrastructuring: The Tidalectics of Caboverdiana Sounds

Two well-circulated folktales/myths appear as liner notes for Cabo Verdean collective albums Space Echo – The Mystery Behind the Cosmic Sound of Cabo Verde Finally Revealed! and Pour Me A Grog: The Funaná Revolt in 1990s Cabo Verde. The Space Echo tale details the arrival of flotsam in the form of musical instruments on the coast of one of the islands of Cabo Verde, which Amilcar Cabral uses in the guerrilla fight against the Portuguese empire. The other tale from Pour Me a Grog details the forced migration to Sao Tome e Principe and back to Cabo Verde, in which men come back with an accordion that creates a raucous sound that makes a new path for freedom. These tales and songs emerge from different parts of Cabo Verde and its diaspora and detail an alternative history adjacent to the more dominant global narrative about the island’s history. I take these tales and songs as ec(h)oed Infrastructuring that facilitates a history from various modalities of water that challenges colonial archives. I rely on Edward Kamau Brathwaite'a tidalectics as a heuristic device that aims to emphasize the opposition of closure and fixity of time and space to which I add, relies on Edouard Glissant’s (1997) use of the Imaginary proposing that “Thought draws the imaginary of the past: a knowledge becoming.” Through a sonic engagement of myth and folktales on the other side of the Atlantic, I contend with the folklore of Africa as facilitated by Western Philosophy and mythos in the consolidation of the New World. Thus, I ask how songs and folktales as infrastructure offer a theoretical leap to rethink time and space differently from Hegel’s damnation of Africa.

 Enxi Jin, Graduate Student, University of California, Berkeley

Casting Local Colonial Elites: The Cultivation Mode and its Influence of University College, Ibadan in British Nigeria

After World War I, in response to the ruling crisis of the West African colonies, Britain carried out a series of reforms to achieve relatively stable decolonization in the region. Cultivating local colonial elites to implement “indirect rule” is an important link in the reforms. To this end, the British government established University College, Ibadan in 1947, aiming to train ruling assistants and successors by importing British higher education. The cultivation mode of University College, Ibadan designed an overall control in curriculum, degree system, teachers and student sources and so on to deepen students' sense of identity with Britain and its colonial rule. However, in the interaction with Nigerian society, University College, Ibadan also became a source of nationalism, which made its educational practice both colonial and autonomous. This duality was inherited by many newly established universities after Nigeria's independence, which brought about the duality of the country's higher education system and profoundly affected Nigeria's independence process and its politics and society in the post-colonial era. Examining the cultivation mode of University College, Ibadan provides a prism for understanding the higher education as well as the political and social development in post-colonial Nigeria and even Africa.


Okechukwu Iroegbu, Graduate Student, University of California, Berkeley

The Role of Indigenous Folk Narratives in Human-Wildlife Conflict Management

This paper highlights the importance of indigenous knowledge in human-animal conflict management contexts. Land is recognized in this paper as the space where human-animal conflicts occur, so its relevance to indigenous groups will be studied. The study will briefly discuss the relationship between the Igbo indigenous group and their land, drawing examples from the author’s personal experience. The study will therefore illustrate how indigenous groups from various African communities use their knowledge and folk narratives to manage conflicts arising from human-animal contact. Folk narrative traditions such as these may offer pathways as we try to develop benevolent stewardship of nature.


Revisiting Colonial Legacies and Power Structures in West Africa (10:45 AM-12:35 PM PDT)

Isaac Junior Kwarteng, Graduate Student, Princeton University

A State within a State: Chiefly Power, Disintegration, and Contestation in Colonial Denkyira (Ghana)

In 1874, the British successfully gained political control over the territories of the Gold Coast, except the middle and northern territories, which were under the powerful Asante empire. In the process of colonization, the colonial authorities co-opted local rulers into their administration and effectively stripped them of their legitimate authority to rule. That is, the processes of co-opting local rulers into the British administration had the effect of undermining the authority of local rulers by turning them into instruments of ‘alien rule’ in the eyes of their own people, whilst at the same time, giving them more power over their people than they had customarily exercised.  This co-option again provided usurpers and other political upstarts the opportunities to test and challenge incumbent rulers. This created frequent instability in local politics in the colony. The result was political chaos that made it difficult for Africans to organize a centralized force to challenge British colonial rule. This paper examines the complex contestation of political power, which was created by colonial policies in the early 20th century Gold Coast. It reveals how the imposition of British rule on Denkyira birthed personality clashes and the ultimate engineering of disruptive processes in the local politics of Denkyira in the twentieth century. It argues that the imposition of British rule on the state exacerbated the personality clashes between the Kings of Denkyira and their divisional chiefs, and laid the foundation for political instability, which often resulted in Denkyira kings abdicating from power, riots, civil war, and other forms of disturbances in the state.


Matthew Ayodele, Graduate Student, Stanford University

Reinventing Yoruba Medicine: Yoruba Healers and the Reinvention of Herbal Remedies in Colonial Lagos, 1930-1957

Recent scholarship in African history centered on locating African agency within colonial history. Historians of Africa have identified the pivotal role of Africans who served as clerks and interpreters as intermediaries and collaborators in the colonial project. However, one aspect that has been somewhat overlooked in scholarly discourse is how Africans and Europeans collaboratively transformed the medical landscape and reinvented religious and medical boundaries. This study delves into the collaboration between early twentieth-century Yoruba healers, local chiefs, and colonial officials to redefine Yoruba medicine, establish professional boundaries, and pursue social ambitions in colonial Lagos from 1930 to 1957. By examining the role of Yoruba healers within the medical landscape, I make a case for a shift in the study of African agency from the long history of intermediaries in the socio-political space to those in the medical space. The study investigates the social changes that marked the intricate web of power relations among Yoruba healers, local chiefs, and colonial officials during the first half of the twentieth century. I explore how Yoruba healers delineated professional boundaries and contested for the authority to define Yoruba medicine. Additionally, the study examines how Yoruba healers modernized and institutionalized Yoruba medicine along western lines to compete with European medicine. The study uses archival records, newspapers, published articles, and books.


Maria Murias Munoz, Graduate Student, ETH Zürich

The Historical Roots of African One-Party Systems

Africa's first post-colonial rulers came to power under a variety of circumstances. While some faced an organized opposition, others were able to unite the elites behind them. The power differential of many post-colonial rulers has its roots in the electoral competition process that unfolded in the colonies between the end of WWII and independence. This study examines how historical cleavages affected the structure of colonial party systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. I argue that the emergence of ethno-regional cleavages led to the fractionalization of the political party system. Theoretically, I link ethno-regional mobilization to the practice of indirect rule. I exploit the uniformity of French colonial policy and the quasi-random nature of sub-state colonial boundaries to examine how structural factors affected patterns of party formation and support. The analysis relies on originally collected archival data on the 1952 and 1957 territorial elections in French West Africa and French Equatorial Africa. A cross-sectional analysis of electoral results shows that support for ethno-regional parties was higher in regions with a later onset of colonial rule. Moreover, the analysis indicates that where ethno-regional cleavages were highly salient the party system remained divided. This helps explain the differences in the strength of early post-colonial rulers.


Joan Ricart-Huguet, Assistant Professor, Loyola University Maryland

Beyond Ethnicity: Cabinet Formation in Senegal Since Independence

Since independence in 1960, a similar share of ministers (14-15%) has hailed from Dakar and from Saint-Louis, the two main cities and historical regions in the country. However, Saint-Louis’ population was 10 times smaller than Dakar’s already in the 1900s, and the demographic divergence has continued to increase. Why is Saint-Louis the most over-represented region in Senegalese cabinets? Regional favoritism in the form of cabinet-level patronage cannot explain the case of Saint-Louis because no Senegalese president has been born there. Further, Saint-Louis ceased to be the political capital of French West Africa in 1902 and of Senegal in 1960, both times in favor of Dakar. Nonetheless, Saint-Louis remained the education capital of Senegal for much of the colonial period in spite of its progressive economic decline. I argue that this is critically important to understand its political over-representation in government because Senegalese presidents have emphasized the importance of human capital and technical expertise when composing their cabinets. This is in stark contrast to most accounts, which emphasize ethnic and conflict-prevention considerations.

Conflict Dynamics and Interventions in West Africa: Assessing Long-Term Impacts and Strategic Approaches (1:30-3:00 PM PDT)

Pierre Biscaye, Graduate Student, University of California, Berkeley

Agricultural Shocks and Long-Term Conflict Risk: Evidence from Locus Desert Swarms

How do transitory agricultural shocks affect long-term violent conflict risk? Using a staggered event study approach and data on conflict events and desert locust swarms across 0.25 degree grid cells in Africa and the Arabian peninsula from 1997-2018, I find that past exposure to a locust swarm increases the average annual probability of violent conflict by 0.8 percentage points (43%). Effects persist for at least 14 years and are driven by swarms arriving in crop cells during the main growing season. This result suggests a decrease in the opportunity cost of fighting in affected areas. In line with this, I find that swarm exposure reduces subsequent cereal yields, indicating a permanent income mechanism for this severe transitory shock. But the feasibility of fighting also matters: increases in local conflict risk are concentrated in years with active fighting groups in neighboring areas, when the reduced opportunity cost of fighting is combined with opportunities to fight. Patterns of long-term impacts are similar for exposure to severe drought, indicating the mechanisms are not specific to locust swarms. Long-term impacts of transitory economic shocks on conflict risk add further motivation for policies mitigating the risk of such shocks and supporting recovery.


Danwei Zhu, Graduate Student, University of Washington

The Logic of Intervention in West Africa: A Case Study on Gambia’s Political Crisis

Famous for its robust military intervention in Liberia’s and Sierra Leone’s civil wars, ECOWAS has become a critical regional actor in conflict resolution and peacebuilding. It deployed a military mission (ECOMIG) to Gambia in 2017 to solve a political crisis when the then President of Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, refused to accept his defeat in the election. The mission in Gambia was praised by international society as a victory of democracy. However, if one looks closer at the dynamics on the ground, one can find that the presence of ECOMIG troops has become an increasingly controversial issue in Gambia. Why did ECOWAS intervene in a crisis that never escalated to an armed conflict? What could be the implications of foreign troops staying in a sovereign state for more than seven years? This study draws on archival research and interviews conducted with ECOWAS officers, Gambian politicians, scholars, journalists, etc. It argues that institutional norms such as democracy and good governance did work in shaping ECOWAS’s decision. However, individual states' strong interest in intervening also played an important role. The political nature of Gambia’s crisis made it inevitable for ECOMIG to be drawn into domestic power struggles and add more potential political and legal risk in the long run.


Joseph Akowuah, Graduate Student, Washington State University

Configurations of Electoral Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa

This research proposal argues that a configurational approach is necessary to understand the complex roots of electoral violence in Sub-Saharan Africa. It posits that certain alignments of ethnopolitical marginalization, relative population quota, and state capacity can escalate or mitigate tensions by shaping incentives and opportunities for violence.

The study aims to construct and validate a configurational theory using a mixed-methods research design that integrates panel regression analysis, Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), and case studies incorporating process tracing and social network analysis data. These methods can test configurations and make stronger causal inferences about the likelihood of electoral violence.

The research seeks to provide policymakers with a roadmap of the complex causal recipes that escalate into violence and present windows to promote peaceful electoral contestation. Findings can inform comprehensive and context-specific interventions to manage the volatility of African elections.


Advancing Reproductive Health Across the Lifespan: Innovations and Challenges in West Africa (3:30-5:00 PM PDT)

Oluwasola Daniels, Graduate Student, University of California, Davis

The Other Half of Reproduction: Exploring the Untold Story of Men’s Reproductive Health in Nigeria

Reproductive health is often considered a problem associated with women, and studies about the health of fetuses, infants, and children often center on women. While extensive work has shown why we need to focus on women’s bodies, this research also shows why we need to pay attention to the role of paternal health in issues such as infertility, infant mortality, and congenital disabilities. This research does not shift attention from women’s reproductive health but draws scholarship attention to broader causes of reproductive health issues, which also have wider implications for their (women’s) health. Studies on the history of health and the body, especially women’s bodies, have fixated on pathology and violence, and African feminist scholars are arguing for an alternative paradigm to the scholarship on disease and violence. These feminist scholars have foregrounded topics like pleasure, desire, and power as alternate approaches to demonstrating the positive and healthy stories of women’s bodies in Africa. My research is at the intersection of the two debates because I build on these scholarships by combining their central submissions on the need to study disease and sexual pleasure and argue that both fields are essential to the study of African bodies, especially how they survive and thrive. My research, thus, brings together histories of gender and medicine to explain the impact of men’s sexual and reproductive health on sexual pleasure, reproduction, infant and maternal health in Nigeria's history (1900 -1980s).


Yao Doe, Graduate Student, University of California, Berkeley

Clinicians, GBS Baseline Knowledge, and Practice Assessment at Tamale Teaching Hospital, Ghana: A Survey and Medical Records Study to Guide Intervention

Aims: This study aimed to assess the baseline knowledge and practices of healthcare providers regarding Group B Streptococcus (GBS) screening and Intrapartum Antibiotic Prophylaxis (IAP) at Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH), identifying barriers to effective implementation and potential areas for improvement.

Methods: A pre-intervention quasi-experimental design was employed, involving the review of medical records of postpartum women and the administration of a questionnaire to clinicians. The study focused on demographic data, GBS screening practices, UTI treatment history, and antibiotic use. Descriptive analysis was conducted to summarize baseline practices and knowledge levels.

Results: Analysis revealed that only 14.7% of patients underwent vaginal swab cultures, with GBS detected in 50% of those cases. Antibiotic sensitivity testing was conducted in 11.8% of cases, showing a high sensitivity to penicillin. Despite this, only 7.4% received the recommended antibiotics per protocol. Clinicians reported infrequent recording of key risk indicators such as temperature. The most significant barrier to practice was the absence of a standardized protocol for GBS management, highlighting systemic issues and knowledge gaps.

Conclusion: The pre-intervention data indicates a clear need for standardized protocols for GBS screening and IAP at TTH. To enhance compliance with best practices, there is an urgent need for educational interventions and resource allocation to support effective GBS management. Implementing a comprehensive GBS protocol and improving clinician education could reduce neonatal infections, improve maternal and child health outcomes, and serve as a model for similar healthcare settings.


Ifunanya Dibiaezue, Graduate Student, University of California, Berkeley

Digital Interventions for Adolescents’ Contraception in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Scoping Review

 Adolescent sexual and reproductive health remains a global concern, with access to contraception playing a pivotal role in preventing unintended pregnancies and improving overall health outcomes. Digital interventions offer innovative solutions to address the complexities of adolescent contraceptive behavior, yet their impact and effectiveness, particularly in regions like sub-Saharan Africa, remain underexplored.

This scoping review systematically identifies and synthesizes digital interventions targeting adolescent contraceptive outcomes, encompassing evaluated and unevaluated tools. A comprehensive search strategy was employed to include a diverse range of interventions, such as mobile applications, websites, chatbots, hotlines, text messaging platforms, and electronic vouchers. Data extraction and analysis were conducted to assess the scope, characteristics, and evaluated outcomes of identified interventions.

The review identified a wide array of digital interventions aimed at improving adolescent contraceptive knowledge, access, and utilization. Evaluated interventions demonstrate promising outcomes in enhancing contraceptive behaviors among adolescents, while unevaluated interventions highlight opportunities for further research and evaluation. Key findings underscore the importance of contextualizing interventions within the sociocultural and healthcare landscapes of sub-Saharan Africa and emphasize the need for rigorous evaluation studies to elucidate their impact and effectiveness.

This scoping review provides a comprehensive overview of digital interventions for adolescent contraceptive outcomes, offering evaluative insights and identifying future research directions. By addressing gaps in knowledge and understanding, the findings inform policymakers, public health practitioners, and researchers in tailoring interventions to the specific needs of adolescents, ultimately contributing to improved access to contraception and enhanced sexual and reproductive health outcomes for young people worldwide.

Zoom Registration

The conference is fully online. Register here.

If you require an accommodation for effective communication (ASL interpreting/CART captioning, alternative media formats, etc.) to fully participate in this event, please contact the staff at asc@berkeley.edu with as much advance notice as possible and at least 7 days in advance of the event.

Conference Playlist

Thanks to Mango Angar the conference has its own playlist.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please email the Center at asc@berkeley.edu