SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

Dr Michael Jennings

BA (Oxon); MA, PhD (London)
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Expertise
  • Publications


Michael Jennings
Department of Development Studies

Reader in International Development

Centre of African Studies

Management Committee Member

Development Policy, Aid, Institutions and Poverty Reduction Research Cluster

Research Cluster Convenor

Dr Michael Jennings
Email address:
+44(0) 207 898 4268
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Russell Square: College Buildings
Office No:
Academic Support Hours:
By appointment only
On Sabbatical:
Full Year (2019/20)


Michael Jennings Online Booking Office Hours

Michael has degrees from the University of Oxford and London (SOAS), and has taught and researched at Oxford and the Centre for Development Studies at Swansea University. His research interests include: the politics and history of development processes in sub-Saharan Africa: governance, civil society, non-governmental organisations and faith-based organisations; and social aspects of health in Africa.


Modules Taught
PhD Students supervised
  • Christine Singer,
  • Dilys K. Winterkorn, The Rise and Phenomena of African Philanthropy (working title)
  • Hinni Aarninsalo,
  • Iris Lim, Experiencing the Digital Governance Immigration: a Qualitative Comparison of London and Seoul
  • Jonathan R. Beloff, The Evolution of Rwandan Foreign Policy: from Genocide to Globalisation
  • Nick Branson, Extraversion strategies and aid negotiations: How African hybrid regimes manage donor demands
  • Shona Macleod, Talib├ęs who beg in urban Senegal: how does global child rights discourse influence policy and practice?


Michael’s research examines the emergence of development narratives over the past century, and conflicts between different narratives held by competing actors operating in the developmental space. In particular, he is interested in the multiple roles which ‘development’ as a process and idea takes on, and synergies between power, politics and development in the North and South. Michael has undertaken work on security issues in East Africa, including a survey of conflict, crime and security in Kenya. He has also worked on a diagnostic survey of DFID’s engagement with faith-based groups, East and Horn of Africa section. Michael is a regular contributor of expert briefing documents on a wide range of political, social and health issues in sub-Saharan Africa.


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I am an Africa Expert for Oxford Analytica, for whom I have written briefing reports on African development, politics and health issues for the past five years. I have consultancy experience, including with DFID, and am a member of the Round Table Group. I am experienced in television and radio broadcasting.

Available for
  • Radio
  • Press
  • Briefings
  • Special Study Programmes
  • TV
  • Short Term Consultancy
  • Long Term Consultancy
Regional Expertise
  • Africa
Country Expertise
  • Kenya
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda


Authored Books

Jennings, Michael (2008) Surrogates of the State: Non-Governmental Organisations, Development and Ujamaa in Tanzania. Bloomfield, Ct: Kumarian Press.

Jennings, Michael (2007) Surrogates of the State. NGOs, Development, and Ujamaa in Tanzania. Bloomfield, CT: Kumarian Press.


Feeny, Simon and Clarke, Matthew and Westhorp, Gill and Jennings, Michael and Donohue, Cara (2022) 'Impacts of child sponsorship communications: findings from World Vision programmes'. Development in Practice, pp 1-11. [Forthcoming]

van Wees, Sibylle Herzig and Jennings, Michael (2021) 'The challenges of donor engagement with faith-based organizations in Cameroon’s health sector: a qualitative study'. Health Policy and Planning, (36) 4, pp 464-472.

van Wees, Sibylle Herzig and Sop, Maturin Desire Sop and Betsi, Emmanuel and Olongo, Silvere Antoine and Jennings, Michael (2021) 'The role of faith-based health professions schools in Cameroon’s health system'. Global Public Health, (16) 6, pp 895-910.

Jennings, Michael and Clarke, Matthew and Feeny, Simon and Westhorp, Gill and Donohue, Cara (2020) 'A Potent Fuel?: Faith Identity And Development Impact In World Vision Community Programming'. Journal of International Development, (33) 1, pp 70-85.

Jennings, Michael (2015) 'The precariousness of the franchise state: Voluntary sector health services and international NGOs in Tanzania, 1960s – mid-1980s'. Social Science & Medicine, (141), pp 1-8.

Jennings, Michael (2013) 'Common Counsel, Common Policy: Healthcare, Missions and the Rise of the ‘Voluntary Sector’ in Colonial Tanzania'. Development and Change, (44) 4, pp 939-963.

Jennings, Michael and Mercer, Claire (2011) 'Réhabiliter les nationalismes : convivialité et conscience nationale en Tanzanie post-coloniale’ [Rehabilitating Nationalisms: Conviviality and National Consciousness in Post-Colonial Tanzania]'. Politique Africaine, (121), pp 87-106.

Jennings, Michael (2009) 'Building Better People: Modernity and Utopia in Late Colonial Tanganyika'. Journal of Eastern African Studies, (3) 1, pp 94-111.

Jennings, Michael (2008) 'Healing of Bodies, Salvation of Souls’: Missionary Medicine in Colonial Tanganyika, 1870s-1939'. Journal of Religion in Africa, (38) 1, pp 27-56.

Jennings, Michael (2007) '"A Very Real War": Popular Participation in Development in Tanzania During the 1950s & 1960s'. International Journal of African Historical Studies, (40) 1, pp 71-95.

Jennings, Michael and Burton, Andrew (2007) 'The Emperor's New Clothes? Continuities in governance in late colonial and early post-colonial East Africa'. International Journal of African Historical Studies, (40) 1, pp 1-25.

Jennings, Michael (2005) 'Chinese Medicine and Medical Pluralism in Dar es Salaam: Globalisation or Glocalisation?'. International Relations, (19) 4, pp 457-474.

Jennings, Michael (2003) ''We Must Run While Others Walk': Popular Participation and Development Crisis in Tanzania, 1961-9'. The Journal of Modern African Studies, (41) 2, pp 163-187.

Jennings, Michael (2002) '"Almost an Oxfam in Itself": Oxfam, Ujamaa and Development in Tanzania in the 1960s and 70s'. African Affairs, (101) 405, pp 509-30.

Jennings, Michael (2002) 'This Mysterious and Intangible Enemy: health and disease amongst the early UMCA missionaries 1860 - 1918'. Social History of Medicine, (15) 1, pp 65-87.

Edited Books or Journals

Jennings, Michael and Clarke, Gerard, (eds.), (2008) Development, Civil Society and Faith-Based Organisations: Bridging the Sacred and the Secular. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Jennings, Michael and Barrow, Ondine, (eds.), (2001) The Charitable Impulse: Non-Governmental Organisations in East and North-East Africa. James Currey Publishers.

Barrow, Ondine and Jennings, Michael, (eds.), (2001) The Charitable Impulse: NGOs and Development in East and North-East Africa. Oxford: James Currey.

Book Chapters

Jennings, Michael (2016) 'Common witness, common cause: Beyond Boundaries in faith-based development action'. In: Ware, Anthony and Clarke, Matthew, (eds.), Development Across Faith Boundaries. Abingdon; New York, NY: Routledge, pp 16-32.

Jennings, Michael (2016) 'Doing Good While They Can: International volunteers, development and politics in early Independence Tanzania'. In: Price, Ruth and Brown, Hannah, (eds.), Volunteer Economies: The Politics and Ethics of Voluntary Labour in Africa. Rochester, NY: Boydell and Brewer, pp 119-139.

Jennings, Michael (2016) '‘Development is Very Political in Tanzania’: Oxfam and the Chunya Integrated Development Programme 1972–76'. In: Young, Tom, (ed.), Readings in the International Relations of Africa. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, pp 77-92.

Jennings, Michael (2015) 'Cooperation and competition: missions, the colonial state and constructing a health system in colonial Tanganyika'. In: Greenwood, Anna, (ed.), Beyond the State: The Colonial Medical Service in British Africa. Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp 153-173.

Jennings, Michael (2014) 'Bridging the Local and the Global: Faith-Based Organisations and the Emergence of the Non-State Provider Sector in Tanzania'. In: Maclean, Lauren and Cammett, Melani, (eds.), The Politics of Non-State Social Welfare in the Global South. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, pp 119-136.

Jennings, Michael (2013) 'FBOs in Tanzania'. In: Clarke, Matthew, (ed.), Handbook of Research on Religion and Development. Cheltenham and Northampton, Mass.: Edward Elgar, pp 491-504.

Jennings, Michael (2013) 'Do Not Turn Away a Poor Man: Faith-Based Organisations and Development'. In: Clarke, Matthew, (ed.), Handbook of Research on Religion and Development. Cheltenham and Northampton, Mass.: Edward Elgar, pp 359-375.

Jennings, Michael (2013) 'NGOs'. In: Cheeseman, Nic and Anderson, David M. and Scheibler, Andrea, (eds.), Routledge Handbook for African Politics. Abingdon: Routledge, pp 322-333.

Jennings, Michael (2007) 'HIV and AIDS'. Oxford Analytica, Sub-Saharan Africa: Key Issues to 2012. Oxford: Oxford Analytica, pp 60-66.

Jennings, Michael (2006) 'Missions and maternal and child health care in colonial Tanganyika, 1919-1939'. In: Hardiman, David, (ed.), Healing bodies, saving souls : medical missions in Asia and Africa. Amsterdam: Rodopi, pp 227-250.

Jennings, Michael (2006) 'Tanzania, 2001-2002'. Africa Contemporary Record. New York: Holmes & Meier, pp 540-559.

Jennings, Michael (2006) 'Using Archives'. In: Desai, Vandana and Potter, Robert B, (eds.), Doing Development Research. London: Sage Publications, pp 241-250.

Jennings, Michael (2005) 'Getting the Research Questions Right and Getting the Right Data'. In: Holland, Jeremy and Campbell, John, (eds.), Methods in Development Research: Combining qualitative and quantitative approaches. Rugby: ITDG Publications, pp 27-36.

Jennings, Michael (2005) 'A Century of Development: Policy and Process in Sub-Saharan Africa'. Africa South of the Sahara. London: Europa, pp 30-35.

Jennings, Michael (2005) 'A Short History of Failure? Development Processes over the Course of the Twentieth Century'. In: Huque, Ahmed Shafiqul and Zafarullah, Habib, (eds.), Handbook of International Development Governance. New York: Marcel Dekker, pp 599-610.

Monographs and Working Papers

Jennings, Michael (2011) ‘Cash-on-Delivery’ Aid : A Red Herring or the Future of Aid?. London: Centre for Development Policy and Research, Development Viewpoint 62.


Jennings, Michael (2015) 'Kenya: Recent History'.

Jennings, Michael (2015) 'Tanzania: Recent History'.

Jennings, Michael (2015) 'Uganda: Recent History'.

Jennings, Michael (2014) 'Beyond the Tangles of Civil Society' Journal of the OASIS International Foundation.

Jennings, Michael (2012) 'International NGOs must address their accountability deficit' The Guardian Poverty Matters Blog.

Jennings, Michael (2011) 'Buying cheap isn’t always best for development.' The Guardian Poverty Matters Blog.

Jennings, Michael (2009) 'Commentary on “Five reasons why Africa matters to the world”' Europe's World, 13.

Jennings, Michael (2008) 'The Mo Ibrahim Prize and Governance Index.' Royal African Society Website.


This list was last generated on Thursday, 26th May 2022, 11:33 Europe/London.