Africa’s Voices emerged out of four years of research on citizen engagement, communications and governance in Africa led by our co-founder and first executive director, Dr Sharath Srinivasan, and our first head of research and innovation, Dr Claudia Abreu Lopes, at the Centre of Governance and Human Rights (CGHR), University of Cambridge.
Early on, they also collaborated with colleagues in the Computer Laboratory at Cambridge, notably with Luke Church, our second director of innovation, in Professor Alan Blackwell‘s team. The result was a unique fusing of innovations in social research methods and data and technology but also grounded firmly in an understanding of African social contexts.
In late 2014, Africa’s Voices launched as an independent, non-profit organisation and UK-registered charity. Our initial funders and supporters were The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The David and Elaine Potter Foundation, Linklaters, The Cairns Charitable Trust, and the University of Cambridge.
Anyone seeking to improve the lot of African citizens must first understand the priorities of those they seek to serve. Africa’s Voices will play a key role in a more thoughtful delivery of social goods through listening first.
Africa’s Voices grew rapidly in its first five years, and now it’s a registered NGO in Kenya with primary office in Nairobi. It has a presence in Cambridge but today it is Africa-based and African-led. We maintain close academic links with the University of Cambridge, and continue to collaborate with researchers to bring about innovative interdisciplinary approaches to accountable governance and social change grounded in citizen voice.
In five years, we have amplified the voices of over 400,000 citizens in evidence-to-action programming in Somalia, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, and Cape Verde on priorities ranging from public health, education and agriculture, to youth employment, local governance, gender equality and humanitarian response.