The ALS team in in the Central African Republic (CAR) included several scholars (Nupanga Weanzana, Kelemba Mwambazambi, and Yolande Sandoua) from Faculté de Théologie Évangélique de Bangui (FATEB). FATEB had a significant pool of graduate students that could be drawn on for help with research. Since our ALS team was ideally positioned to carry out research in the CAR, we chose to focus on this Francophone country.
In the fall of 2012 a team of graduate student research assistants1 from Faculté de Théologie Évangélique de Bangui administered the survey to 2,294 respondents in the 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.
A map is available on the CAR page.
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. 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. 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 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.
This was not a random survey. We specifically intended to survey knowledgeable, active Christians. 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 Appendix B, Question 76), and also of the major Protestant denominations (see Appendix B, Question 7). For additional information on income, age, and other respondent attributes, see The “Summary of Responses”, Questions 69-92.
The “Summary of Responses” is included in the downloadable data available on the website “Data Page”.