Our Phase I survey research was intended, in part, to lay foundations for follow-up in-depth interview research. In the survey, we asked respondents to “name a Christian man or woman, outside your immediate family, who has influenced you the most.” We also asked respondents to identify and evaluate Christian organizations having the greatest strategic impact in their local area or region. Because of development in CAR during our research we were also able to include a component focused on the impact of conflict and violence on the leaders and the organizations.
More than half of the respondents in the CAR and Kenya, and over a third in Angola, provided the name of a pastor. Clearly, pastors are extremely influential in the lives of African Christians. We asked each respondent to identify the name of a local pastor who they believed was having the most significant impact in their local community. Follow-up questions asked about this pastor’s gender, age, marital status, ethnic group, breadth of influence, and the extent to which, and the manner in which, this pastor is developing leaders. An initial list of influential pastors for each country was developed. Then each country’s ALS senior research directors, in consultation with Robert Priest, developed a priority list from which to select pastors for follow-up interviews. This prioritized list took into account ethnicity, denomination, and region of the country, working to ensure that we would not overly focus on pastors from a single denomination, ethnicity, or locale. While a high proportion of named pastors were older, we gave special consideration to younger pastors with high ratings and some consideration to women. At this point, practical considerations, such as travel dangers in CAR, or pastors being out of the country at the time, precluded interviews with certain pastors. Where two pastors had roughly equal reasons for being chosen, we sometimes chose the pastor that would require the least travel for our senior researchers. Using a protocol developed by the full ALS team, nine pastors were contacted and interviewed (three in Angola, two in CAR, and four in Kenya). The interviews were subsequently transcribed, and reports prepared on each. More complete descriptions of the pastors we interviewed and report on is provided in the chapter by Ngaruiya of our book “Patterns in African Christian Leadership”.
Non Clergy Interviews
In our survey we also asked respondents about local Christian leaders that are exercising important leadership in arenas such as education, business, government, medical health care, or communication and media. Respondents named a wide variety of people in response, including an architect, judge, medical doctor, general, environmentalist, sex education teacher, business woman, agricultural specialist, and professor.
Each leader was rated on a Likert scale in terms of their
1.) Skill at their work
2.) Wisdom and knowledge of their local context
3.) Ethical integrity
4.) Love and service of others
5.) Positive reputation in the community
6.) The extent to which they inspire teamwork and community mobilization
7.) Efficiency in use of resources
8.) The extent to which they were training and developing other leaders.
Initial non-clergy leader lists were prepared for each country. Again the senior ALS team in each country, in consultation with Robert Priest, reviewed these assessments, and refined a prioritized list of leaders from which we would select individuals to interview and do reports on. Again care was taken to be attentive to gender, age, ethnicity, locale, and specific arena of influence so as to consider as wide a variety of leaders as possible. ALS senior researchers carried out interviews with fifteen chosen leaders (three in Angola, four in CAR, and eight in Kenya) in accord with protocols consistent across the three countries, arranged for interviews to be transcribed, and prepared reports on each. Fuller descriptions of these leaders is also provided in Ngaruiya’s chapter of our book, available on the “Findings Page” of this website.
Finally, since organizations not only support and foster the training and development of leaders, but also provide the institutional frameworks within which leadership is excercised, our survey asked respondents to identify and evaluate Christian organizations having the greatest strategic impact in their local area or region.
Each respondent was asked to evaluate the organization they named using a four-point Likert scale in terms of the extent to which the organization
1.) Trains leaders
2.) Works wisely in the local context
3.) Has a good reputation locally
4.) Receives strong support from local churches
5.) Allows women to participate in leadership.
Taking into account frequency of mention, ratings on the above criteria, and whether or not a named organization (such as USAID) had identifiable Christian links, we developed top lists for each country. The senior leadership team for each country, in consultation with Robert Priest, then selected specific organizations for follow-up interview research. Factors such as locale, the extent to which the organizations were Africa-led, and the nature of the organization’s activity foci were taken into account in selecting final organizations for follow-up. Organizations that were international in scope and leadership and that had already been studied in local African settings (such as World Vision, see Bornstein 2005), were sometimes dropped from follow-up consideration, despite otherwise excellent evaluations, while African-initiated and led organizations received special consideration. Practical considerations, such as the cost of travel and whether leaders were available to be interviewed, also affected the final selection. For each of the thirty organization we studied (six in Angola, six in CAR, and eighteen in Kenya), one to six taped interviews were conducted with organization leaders, interviews that were subsequently transcribed. Supplementary on-line and print information about the organization was examined where available. A protocol specifically designed for organizations was developed by the full ALS team and was used consistently across all three countries. A final report on each organization was prepared. Fuller information on these organizations is provided in both Bowen’s and Weanzana’s chapters of our book.
Post Conflict Research
One additional aspect of the research was performed. As we carried out research in the Central African Republic, the Séléka – a coalition of rebel groups – led a violent coup that culminated in the take-over of Bangui in March of 2013. Fighting continued with the Anti-balaka
coalition opposing the Séléka. These events not only impacted our research, but they had impacts upon many of the organizations and leaders that we studied. Subsequently many of these leaders and Christian organizations played pivotal roles in working for peace. Since similar contexts of violence and conflict have been faced in many African countries, we availed ourselves of the opportunity to do follow-up interviews in 2015 with Christian leaders we had first interviewed in 2012 and early 2013 – interviews that would focus explicitly on African Christian leadership in the context of violence. An interview protocol was designed and follow-up interviews were carried out and transcribed. The chapter of our book co-authored by Le Roux and Sandoua focuses specifically on Christian leadership responses during armed conflict.