Research projects

See a list of the current research projects below, or visit the archive of completed projects. Projects are either funded by the ASCL or externally funded. 

Displaying 1 - 22 of 22

A multi-media documentation of the Oyda Language

Keywords: language documentation, DoBeS projects, endangered languages, Omotic studies

Countries, location: Ethiopia

Researchers: Azeb Amha


In cooperation with Dr. Bernhard Köhler (Institut für Afrikanische Sprachwissenschaften, Johann  Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main).


The DoBeS programme of the Volkswagen Stiftung, Germany.

CoCooN Initiative Kenya Programme – ‘Land grab’ and dwindling water resources: reconciling competing claims and conflicts over natural resources in Africa’s dry lands, specifically Kenya

Countries, location: Kenya

External affiliates: Moses Mwangi, Department of Hydrology and Water Resources Management, South Eastern Kenya University (SEKU)

Consortium for Development Partnerships

Researchers: Mirjam de Bruijn

CorTypo: Designing spoken corpora for cross-linguistic research

Keywords: Linguistic Copora, Afroasiatic, Wolaitta, Omotic

Countries, location: Ethiopia

Researchers: Azeb Amha

Decoding Digital Media in African Regions of Conflict (DDMAC)

Keywords: Social media, digital media, conflict, hate speech, disinformation

Countries, location: Mali, Ethiopia

Researchers: Mirjam de Bruijn

PhD Affiliates: Modibo Galy Cissé


Oslo Metropolitan University (Oslomet)
African Studies Centre Leiden
Utrecht University
University of Addis Abeba
Digital Humanities Leiden


External affiliates: Kristin Skare Orgeret, Professor in Journalism at Oslo Metropolitan University (OsloMet), Norway, Bruce Mutsvairo, Associate Professor in Media Studies at Utrecht University , Johannes Langguth, Research Scientist at Simula Research Laboratory, Mulatu Alemayahu Moges, Assistant Professor in Media Studies, Addis Ababa University, Daniel Thilo Schroeder, postdoctoral fellow, Simula Met


Norwegian Research Council

Developmental dilemmas and political culture in Ethiopia and the Horn: local refractions of state policies

Keywords: developmentalism; state politics; economic policy; human rights; local political culture; donor policy dilemmas; resistance

Countries, location: Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti

Researchers: Jan Abbink


African Studies Centre Leiden, Netherlands

DigiDogon: Digitizing Dogon heritage. The legacy of Abirè, the Dogon prophet

Keywords: Dogon, intangible cultural heritage, digital heritage, song cycle, oral traditions

Countries, location: Mali

PhD Affiliates: Ibrahima Poudiougou


International project between African Studies Centre Leiden (ASCL) and University College London (UCL).

Other partners: Musée National du Mali in Bamako, Ginna Dogon, UNESCO office in Mali.

External affiliates: Michael Rowlands (University College London) , Amadou Salif Guindo (Université des Lettres et des Sciences Humaines de Bamako), Daouda Keita (Université des Sciences Sociales et de Gestion de Bamako), Issa Sagara (Université des Sciences Sociales et de Gestion de Bamako), Roberto Beneduce (University of Turin)


JPI on Cultural Heritage

Evolving relations between religion and politics in the Horn of Africa: media use and public identity discourse of religious communities/elites in Northeast Africa

Keywords: religious relations; polemics; communal tension; public sphere; the politics of religion

Countries, location: Ethiopia, Somalia

Researchers: Jan Abbink



Financial decision-making, gender and social norms in Zambia

Keywords: Financial decision-making, gender, social norms, financial services

Countries, location: Zambia

Researchers: Marleen Dekker


Financial Sector Deepening Zambia

External affiliates: Abigail Barr (University of Nottingham) , Floyd Mwansa (Financial Sector Deepening Zambia) , Tia Linda Zuze (Stellenbosch University)


NWO Westerdijk Talent Impuls

DFID through FSD Zambia

Frugal innovations in Africa

Keywords: frugal innovation ; economic growth ; development ; bottom of the pyramid ; private sector ; multinationals ; technology

Researchers: André Leliveld


Cees van Beers (TU Delft); Peter Knorringa (ISS/EUR)


Seed money from Leiden University, Delft University of Technology and Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Kenya Coast Portal

Keywords: anthropology ; economics ; education ; geography ; health ; history ; languages ; law ; political science ; religion ; sociology

Countries, location: Kenya

Researchers: Jan Hoorweg

Locally grounded models for air quality in Africa: the power of TROPOMI to bridge African science and policy

Keywords: Inclusive development, air quality, satellite data, TROPOMI, climate change, Africa

Researchers: Marleen Dekker


KNMI, University of Pretoria

External affiliates: Deborah Stein Zweers, R&D Satellite observations department of the Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute (KNMI), Rebecca Garland, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Meteorology, University of Pretoria



Muslim Africa’s global connections

Keywords: Islam ; global interconnections

Countries, location: West Africa

Researchers: Mayke Kaag

New topographies of power? Africa negotiating an emerging multipolar world

Keywords: transnational linkages ; economic networks ; natural resources ; migration

Countries, location: Senegal, Chad, Guinea

Researchers: Mayke Kaag

Pedagogies of peace and conflict in the Great Lakes region

Keywords: Informal pedagogies, parenting, families, legacies of conflict, peace and conflict, Rwanda, Burundian refugees, Congolese refugees

Countries, location: Rwanda


University of Rwanda


NWO Aspasia premie

Pentecostalism and Social Services in Botswana: Charting a new terrain in the religious provisioning of social support

Keywords: Religion, Pentecostalism, social support, activism

Countries, location: Botswana

Researchers: Rijk van Dijk

Portable Islam: Swahili literary networks in the Indian Ocean

Keywords: African-language literature, traditions of learnings, materiality, Muslim networks, Islamic studies, Swahili intellectual history, India, Indian Ocean

Countries, location: East Africa

Researchers: Annachiara Raia


NWO-Talentprogramma Veni SGW 2021 - Cultuur en Taalwetenschappen/ NWO Talent Programme Veni SSH 2021 - Cultural Sciences and Linguistics

Society and Change in Northern Ghana: Dagomba, Gonja, and the Regional Perspective on Ghanaian History

Keywords: Dagomba, Gonja, regional history, migration history, social history, state formation, conflict, colonial society, post-colonial society, culture, heritage

Countries, location: Ghana

Researchers: Michel Doortmont

PhD Affiliates: Alice Mapenzi Kubo


- Leiden University
- Institute of African Studies & Department of History, University of Ghana at Legon
- Department of Social Sciences, Faculty of Integrated Development Studies, University for Development Studies, Tamale/Wa, Ghana

Associate partners in the project:
- Institute Globalisation Studies Groningen, University of Groningen 
- Department of International Relations and International Organisation, University of Groningen


African Tiger Holding Ltd.

Studying the reform agenda in Ethiopia: Enhancing inclusive patterns of regional governance and economic opportunities

Keywords: regional governance, inclusive development, women empowerment

Countries, location: Ethiopia

Researchers: Jan Abbink

External affiliates: Prof. Madeleine Hosli (FGGA)


Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ethiopia

The enduring legacy of German colonial rule and the League of Nations mandate in the borderlands of contemporary Africa

Keywords: German colonialism ; League of Nations mandate ; contemporary Africa

Researchers: Jan-Bart Gewald

External affiliates: Dr Samuel Ntewusu


European Science Foundation

Transnational Islamic NGOs in Africa

Keywords: Transnational linkages ; Islam ; Arab World ; religion and development

Countries, location: Chad, Senegal

Researchers: Mayke Kaag

Ustadh Mau Digital Archive (UMADA). Maktaba ya kidijitali ya Ustadh Mau

Keywords: Archives, digital humanities, heritage, material culture, Indian Ocean, Swahili intellectual history

Countries, location: Kenya

Researchers: Annachiara Raia


Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society (LUCAS)

Centre for Digital Scholarship, Leiden University Library

ASCL Library

Lamu Museum, Kenya

Lamu Fort Museum Library, Kenya

Hekaya Arts Initiative, Mombasa, Kenya

UCLA Library, Los Angeles

Iwalewa House (Bayreuth University)

External affiliates: Ustadh Mau (archive owner), Abu Mirah, Fahim Abdalla , Mohamed Mwenje (curator), Fahim Abdalla (IT specialist), Khadija Issa Twahir (librarian at Lamu Fort and Survey of Documentary Heritage and indigenous records), Thomas Gesthuizen (webmaster and audio expert at voice4thought), Charlotte Sophie Bruns Knight, Naima Idris, Mohamed Omar


This project is supported by the Modern Endangered Archives Program at the UCLA Library, with funding from Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.