Venue – This is a virtual workshop—participants will join via zoom platform over the internet (The organization of the workshop will be supported by the Research, Extension, Innovation and Resource Mobilization Directorate, Kisii University, Kenya)

Theme: Exploring and promoting human flourishing in African contexts


This workshop provides a venue for early career researchers in human development to receive feedback on their projects, develop professional networks and increase their research skills.

It will also introduce a new field of research—the examination of how the South African concept of Ubuntu and similar concepts in other African countries can provide important insights for human flourishing and intervention research in both Africa and other parts of the world. Similar concepts include the East African Swahili term Utu the Zambian Lozi word Butu, Miista among the local Kipsigis ethnic community of Western Kenya, wo yonko da ene woda among the Twi of Ghana, and wir dze wir bii wiri among the Banso in the North West Region of Cameroonand Nkong-bong among the Bangwa in the South West Region of Cameroon and other such words and phrases. All these terms refer to shared humanity which is important for guiding and giving meaning to life in the community and without which humans cannot flourish. The Covid-19 pandemic exposed how much human beings needed each other to survive irrespective of their economic status. Riches did not protect against the pandemic and a new respect was discovered for lowly paid but newly named “essential workers”. Not only health care workers, but also cleaners and supermarket shelf stockers were acknowledged as workers the public depended on for day-to-day living.  In the workshop we will deliberate on how developmental scientists can conduct research and develop interventions based on/aligned to the Ubuntu concept so that communities can promote flourishing among their members and support survival during difficult times, such as these caused by the pandemic.


The workshop will provide a forum where keynote speakers will introduce the concept of flourishing for individuals, family, cultures and communities. Early career researchers are invited to submit posters on

  • Any aspect of flourishing they are working on, including but not limited to challenges in conducting research on this topic, research techniques used to address flourishing and how this concept applies in their local context.  They could also share any research that addresses different ways/strategies that can be useful in spurring and sustaining flourishing and survival during times of societal challenges.
  • Other research on human development in African contexts.

The participants in the workshop will benefit from expert constructive criticism on their poster ideas for the ISSBD biennial conference to be held in Rhodes, Greece in 2022, to enhance the chances of their abstract submission being accepted for the biennial conference (and therefore being eligible to apply for the related travel grant). Additionally, all scholars who apply to participate in the virtual workshop will receive feedback on their abstracts, whether these are accepted or not.

Short and long term outcomes of the project

In the short term, we expect this workshop to ignite a robust conversation about human flourishing in African contexts and especially on how to measure flourishing and develop interventions to promote it. We also hope that these scholars will disseminate the knowledge they gain in the workshop among community members and policy makers. In the long term, we hope that the scholars in this workshop may form networks for pursuing research on the area of human flourishing in Africa. These Early Career Scholars attending the workshop may be inspired to collaborate with other scholars in conducting studies in the same area.

Thematic Scheme

  1. General research on human behavioral development.
  2. Research methods and techniques useful in addressing human flourishing and behavioral development in African contexts. 
  3. Pathways to flourishing and human development: Role of developmental science for relevant research and interventions.
  4. Challenges to individual, family, community and cultural flourishing and human behavioral development.
  5. Climate change and its implications for human flourishing and behavioral development in African countries.
  6. Human flourishing and behavioral development contextualized in the face of COVID-19

Eligibility: Early career scholars from Africa who are:

  • Interested in learning about the study of human development and flourishing in different contexts; or
  • Currently conducting research on human development and/or flourishing among individuals, families, communities, or cultures.

Early career scholars are defined as those who are doing their PhD or who have completed their PhD degree within the past seven years.


Registration for the workshop will be free, but all workshop participants must be current members of ISSBD (or join if they are not already members). The annual membership fee for scholars in Africa is US$5.

How to Apply: Applications will consist of the following 4 documents:

  • A letter of interest, explaining how the workshop will support your professional or career goals (maximum of 150 words)
  • An abstract on your proposed presentation (maximum of 250 words)

Please  include the following in your abstract: (a) background to the study, (b) aims of the study, (c) hypotheses, (d) methods, (e) results (preliminary findings are acceptable), and (f) significance of the study.

  •  A curriculum vitae (maximum of 2 pages); and
  • A letter of recommendation from a senior scientist who works in the area of human development.

All documents must be in English, and submitted as a single PDF file.

Applications should be sent by e-mail to

Please include “VIRTUAL ISSBD AFRICA REGION WORKSHOP”, your name (Family name first) and the theme you are addressing in the subject line of your email message. (For example: VIRTUAL ISSBD AFRICAN REGION WORKSHOP: Akinyi, Pamela; Theme 5 Flourishing in COVID-19)

Send your application to: Workshop organizers at E-mail:

Direct any inquiries to: Dr. Pamela Wadende, Research Extension, Innovation and Resource Mobilization, Kisii University, Kenya at E-mail:

Registration for the workshop will be free, but all workshop participants will be required to be current members of ISSBD, or to join if they are not already members.

Workshop Organizers: on behalf of ISSBD/Jacobs Foundation African Professional Development Fellows

Dr. Pamela Wadende (chair)

Dr. Martina Zinkeng

Dr. Ijang Etchutambe

Dr. Valentine Ngalim

Detailed Timelines: Important Dates

Call for application 5th June.

Close call 25th June.

Response to applicants 20th July

Workshop dates

Pre-workshop activities (Whole day on interactive platform) August 23rd and 24th

August 25, 26, 27-Wednesday to Friday

Workshop hours:  5 hours per day, examples from the following time zones (Please calculate you accurate time location from these examples): Starts at EAT-2pm and EDT 8am GMT 12 noon

Keynote speakers

  1. Prof. Tyler VanderWeele-Human Flourishing Institute, Harvard University-to be confirmed
  2. Prof Alice Wuermli-Global TIES for children, New York-to be confirmed
  3. Prof Robert Serpell-Emeritus University of Zambia-to be confirmed
  4. Prof Therese Tchombe-Emeritus University of Buea, Cameroon-to be confirmed.

Training workshop

  1. Prof Julie Robinson-Flinders University, Australia (Executive Committee ISSBD)
  2. Prof Toni Antonnuci-University of Michigan, USA (President ISSBD)
  3. Prof Anakalo Shitandi-Kisii University, Kenya (Registrar Directorate of Research, Extension, Innovation and Resource Mobilization)
  4. Prof Anne Petersen-University of Michigan, USA (Past President-ISSBD)

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