In the first phase, a 93-item survey questionnaire was developed to gather information from a broad cross-section of active Christians in Angola, Kenya, and the Central African Republic. Respondents were asked about themselves and the churches they attended. They were asked to identify key pastoral leaders that they felt were having an unusually positive impact in their communities. They were also asked to identify African Christians with unusually positive impact that were exercising leadership in other social arenas (such as business, medical care, poverty alleviation, education, media, or government). In addition, respondents were asked to identify African-led Christian organizations that they felt were having a high level of positive impact in their communities. Questions then focused on these named leaders and organizations, their characteristics, relationships, and leadership development efforts. There were also Questions related to the availability and accessibility of books, digital resources, and various leadership training options.
The questionnaire was completed and field-tested in Kenya in the first half of 2012, and subsequently revised and translated into Swahili and French. In July of 2012 Bowen, Ngaruiya and Priest joined CAR senior directors Kalemba Mwambazambi and Nupanga Weanzana in Bangui, for final field-testing of the instrument in French, final revisions, and to train graduate assistants in administering the survey. In early 2013 Hendricks and LeRoux worked with Paulo Bunga, Adelaide Manuel, and Alberto Salombongo in Angola for final field-testing of the instrument in Portuguese, to make final revisions, and to train graduate assistants in administering the survey.
The survey was administered individual-by-individual. While in many cases, the actual collection of data was done in the context of a gathering or group, this was done to take advantage of the availability of those present, and each survey was filled out individually. The group did not discuss or compare answers or make selections based on the group consensus. In this way, the integrity of the uninfluenced data was maintained.
The full ALS team was involved in the design and development of the survey and the protocol for its implementation. Each school that participated in the research provided a pool of graduate students (or in the case of Angola, undergraduate students) who received training and assisted in administering the survey under the oversight of the senior research directors. This was of mutual benefit to all as the students received training and experience in research and contributed significantly to the data collection.
Please refer to the individual country maps and overview, accessible from the “Map of the Continent of Africa” on the “About Page” of this website.
The “Summary of Responses” referred to are included in the downloadable data.
In August 2012, an ethnically and denominationally diverse team of Kenyan research assistants,1 most of them graduate students, received formal training on administering the final survey. Under the supervision of Ngaruiya, Bowen, Jusu, and Rasmussen they spent the last few months of 2012 administering the survey in both English and Swahili to 3964 Christians across Kenya. They traveled to regions of the country where the population was most concentrated, and where larger denominations and ethnic groups were present. Research assistants were often selected to administer surveys in places where they had strong personal and church networks, as well as ethnic ties. While the Kenyan map does not identify all locations where surveys were filled out, the cities and towns on the map represent places where significant concentrations of respondents filled out the surveys. Many of these towns were regional centers, where respondents from the surrounding county would have been present. Surveys were not administered in regions of the country with low concentrations of people, low concentrations of Christians, where travel access was limited, and where it might have been dangerous to carry out the research.
Research assistants looked for active and informed Christians to fill out the surveys. The purpose of the survey was clearly explained, anonymity was assured, and those who filled out the survey were given the gift of a pen with the name of one of the Kenyan sponsoring academic institutions (Africa International University, Africa Leadership University, or Daystar University). Each pen also included the Scripture “So encourage each other and build each other up…” 1 Thessalonians 5:11. Sometimes research assistants approached individuals one by one. Nearly 30% of surveys were filled out by individuals approached in this way. But a majority of respondents in Kenya (over 70%) were part of gatherings. About a quarter of the time, this was in the context of congregationally-based groups, such as choirs, worship teams, prayer meetings, women’s groups, or meetings of congregational leaders. The rest were in groups comprised of participants from more than a single congregation. This included prayer breakfasts, midday prayer groups, pastoral gatherings, university fellowships, youth leader gatherings, men’s and women’s conferences, school staff meetings, workshops, and in one case, a wedding!
Clearly, this was not a random survey. We specifically intended to survey knowledgeable, active Christians. Among other things, this meant that our Kenyan respondents were well-educated, with roughly 85% having completed high school, and with only 5% of respondents needing to have the research assistants read the survey to them and record their answers for them. While 8% acknowledged not attending church regularly, 29% of respondents served their church in lay or clergy leadership roles, and an additional 56% reported being church members and/or regular attenders.
But while we never intended to carry out a random survey, we did intend to survey people in different regions of the country and across denominations, genders, and
ethnicities. More men (58%) than women (42%) filled out the survey. With ten percent of respondents Roman Catholic, in a country that is 20% Roman Catholic, we undersampled Catholics. But we appear to have successfully surveyed fairly representative numbers from each of the major Protestant denominations in Kenya, at reasonable rates given the overall sizes of the respective denominations (see “Summary of Responses”, Question 7). The ethnic identities of respondents involved percentages remarkably close to the percentages of the country population as a whole (“Summary of Responses”, question 76). For additional information on income, age, and other attributes of our respondents, see “Summary of Responses”, questions 69-92.
Central African Republic
Just as in Kenya, in the fall of 2012, a team of graduate student research assistants2 from Faculté de Théologie Évangélique de Bangui administered the survey to 2294 respondents in the Central African Republic (CAR), under the supervision of Mwambazambi and Weanzana. The survey was administered during a time that the Séléka rebel movement was beginning its offensive against government forces, and only months before it would capture Bangui itself in March of 2013. This created marked constraints on our research.
The CAR is divided into 16 Préfectures with the capital Bangui a separate “Commune” – essentially a 17th Préfecture. For logistical and safety reasons, we limited our focus to five cities in four Préfectures, as shown in the map of the CAR. These cities, of course, already contained significant numbers of people that had retreated from violence in other parts of the country. More than half of our surveys (62%) were filled out in Bangui and its environs.
In the CAR over 60% of respondents were contacted as individuals, with just under 40% invited to complete the survey in a group context. Of those contacted in groups, 45% were contacted within a congregational grouping, with the remainder in groups that did not pertain to a specific congregation. These were fairly similar in composition to those in Kenya that have already been described. Those who filled out the survey received a pen with the name of our local partnering institution, Faculté de Théologie Évangélique de Bangui and the Scripture “Encouragez-vous les uns les autres et édifiez-vous mutuellement…” 1 Thess 5:11.
Again, we were intentionally selectively over-sampling those who were well educated and religiously observant. Eighty-six percent reported being high school graduates. And while 13% acknowledged not attending church regularly, 33% of respondents served their church in a lay or clergy leadership role, with an additional 54% reporting being church members and/or regular attenders.
Our CAR respondents were disproportionately urban, male (66%), and Protestant (93%). But they seem to be fairly representative of the major ethnic groups in the country (see “Summary of Responses”, Question 76), and also of the major Protestant
denominations (see “Summary of Responses”, Question 7). For additional information on income, age, and other respondent attributes, see “Summary of Responses”, Questions 69-92.
In March of 2013 Elisabet le Roux, Jurgens Hendriks, and Alberto Lucamba Salombongo carried out training workshops at several different seminaries in Angola. At the insistence of administrators at our partnering institutions, rather than work with a smaller number of advanced research assistants as we did in CAR and Kenya, we utilized over a hundred assistants that were theological undergraduates from five theological seminaries.3 Under the supervision of Adelaide Thomas Manuel, Alberto Lucamba Salombongo and José Paulo Bunga, these students surveyed 1783 respondents in half of Angola’s provinces, where roughly two-thirds of the population resides. The Angola map features the towns and cities where we collected most of our data.
Two-thirds of the Angola respondents were approached as individuals, while another third were approached in the context of a group, which in Angola largely (82%) involved congregationally-based groupings. The Angolan assistants were younger and seem to have gravitated to younger respondents also, with 38% of Angolan respondents being less than 25 years old, compared to roughly half that number in the CAR and Kenya that were under the age of 25. They also surveyed clergy at lower rates than in CAR and Kenya.
Again the educated and religiously observant were by intention over-represented in our sample. Eighty-six percent reported being high school graduates. Twenty-three percent of respondents served in (mostly lay) church leadership positions, with another 61% church members and/or regular attenders. Our Angola respondents were disproportionately male (66%) and Protestant (96%). In a country that is 50% Catholic, less than 4% of our respondents were Catholic. And while we surveyed a good cross-section of the Protestant community (“Summary of Responses”, Question 7), our sample in Angola was in some respects less representative of the actual population denominationally and ethnically than in the CAR and Kenya.4 Those who filled out the survey received a pen engraved with the Scripture “Exortai-vos e edificai-vos uns aos outros…” 1 Tes 5:11.