Meet the people taking part in NDDS.
Senior Researchers
Barry Gills

Barry Gills is a Professor of Global Development Studies in the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki from 2013 to present, and founding member of the ExAlt Initiative (Extractivisms and Alternatives Initiative). He is editor of Globalizations journal, a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science, and an Associate of the Transnational Institute, Amsterdam.

Rehema Kilonzo

Rehema is a Senior lecturer in Sociology at the University of Dodoma. Her PhD was on Sociology of Development, hence the intersection of Sociology and Development Studies. Her current research include: CASH-IN, “Private-Managed cash transfers in Africa, an innovative tool for inclusive economic growth, funded by DANIDA.” This research is a collaboration between the University of Dodoma, Makerere University (Uganda) and Roskilde University (Denmark). She further worked in a project named; Transforming Employability for Social Change in East Africa (TESCEA). It is an East African Universities consortium Civil Societies and Associations named; ASHOKA-Africa and AFELT (Kenya) - the project is funded by DFID). The research is implementing critical thinking and problem solving in young graduate in the universities onto “how to think” as opposed to “what to think” to foster Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Gender responsiveness .”

Furthermore, Rehema was involved in CS-LEARN: Theorizing citizenship theory and practice, implemented by UDOM, Makerere and the Universities of Oulu and Jyvaskyla, Finland – (funded by Academy of Finland). This was an extension on the earlier research on Grow into Citizenship, where philosopher and social scientists worked together on the pragmatism of citizenship in East Africa. Rehema teaches Social Development theories, development strategies, Gender and family perspectives, Contemporary Issues of Community Development.

Tiina Kontinen

Tiina Kontinen is the Degree Programme Representatives of the International Master's Degree Programme for Development, Education and International Cooperation (DEICO),  which is a joint programme between the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Faculty of Education and Psychology.  She is also responsible for the discipline of Development Studies at the Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy. In 2022, Kontinen was granted the Good Teacher Award in the University of Jyväskylä, based on the recommendations of students and the Student Union.

Kontinen leads a research group on Civil Society and Citizenship in Development. The group brings together researchers, PhD candidates and students with multiple disciplinary backgrounds to examine dynamics, manifestations and dilemmas related to citizenship and civil society in the context of development research and practice. The group searches for new approaches to understand contextualized organizing and mobilizing processes as well as conducts critical analysis of practices under the banner of "strengthening citizenship and civil society".  Currently, the group focuses on Eastern Africa and Finland. The group builds on the concluded and ongoing research projects led by Kontinen and actively searches for new collaboration and funding opportunities in relevant fields.

Tiina Kontinen is an ademic co-learder of JY-CAN together with Professor Laura Stark. They coordinate JYU participation in Africa -related global networks FAPI,  EDUCASE and SAFINET, supported by project planner Frank Ojwang. The global networks are supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture through strategic funding.

Juhani Koponen

Juhani Koponen is a historian by academic training but has made most of his academic career in Development Studies, presently called Global Development Studies, at the University of Helsinki. Lately he was Professor since February 2000 until his retirement in February 2012. Now he is attached to the Department as Professor Emeritus. For the moment he concentrates on research but continues with some teaching and supervision. Abroad he co-operates in particular with the Department of History of the University of Dar es Salaam. His main research interest is history of development as idea and practice, with long-term development history of Tanzania and the formation of Finnish development policy as main empirical cases. He continues to participate in development policy discussions in Finland and elsewhere.

Benta Nyamanyi Matunga (PhD)

Benta Nyamanyi Matunga (PhD) is a Lecturer in the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Dodoma, Tanzania. She is also a local coordinator of the “New Directions in Development Studies and Sustainability: Reconsidering Global Challenges and Local Realities (NDDS)” at the University of Dodoma. She has currently completed a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship under Theory and Practice of Learning into Citizenship (CS-LEARN) project in the Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. She has published in a number of renowned journals and book chapters in areas related to rural development including civil society organization and citizenship practices, rural social networks, gender, food security, and participatory development as her research interest.  In addition, she has experience in training, facilitation, project monitoring & evaluation, qualitative and quantitative research methodology. B.N. Matunga has worked with NGOs, Local Government and Academic Institutions in Tanzania.

Colman Titus Msoka (PhD)

Colman Titus Msoka, PhD 2005; is a Senior Lecturer-Development Studies and the Director, Institute of Development Studies, UDSM.  He was a Fulbright Scholar 2016/17 and Visiting Scholar University of Bordeaux France 2018/19; Visiting scholar-PAUWES, Tlemcen Algeria 2015. He has a background in Sociology, Demography and Economics. Dr. Colman has researched and Published on urban studies, informal economy, street vending, and youth and development.

Moonga Hangoma Mumba

Moonga Hangoma Mumba PhD, is a qualified and experienced academic with 18 years of a proven track record in teaching, research and consultancy. He currently serves as Head of the Department of Development Studies at the University of Zambia. Besides teaching, Moonga has done consultancy on a wide range of areas including social protection, good governance, access to justice, human rights, land resettlement, environment, youth, gender and empowerment and curriculum development. He has widely consulted with international organizations such as the EU, OECD, UNDP, ILO, UNICEF, WFP, GIZ, DANIDA, DfID, USAID and ADB among others. He is also an ILO Accredited Master Trainer for the TRANSFORM Social Protection learning package. Moonga is also a member of the Civil Society Poverty Observatory Group (CS-POG) in Zambia.

Junior Researchers
Antony Josephat Ainekisha

Antony Josephat Ainekisha is a Doctoral Student at the Ardhi University in Dar es Salaam Tanzania. His research project is on projects targeting Livelihood’s promotion and Global Value Chain especially on valuable natural resources. Ainekisha holds a Master Degree in Development Studies from the University of Dodoma and a Bachelor Degree in Regional Development Planning from the Institute of Rural development Planning (IRDP) in Dodoma Tanzania. Mr Ainekisha is currently working as Assistant lecturer at the Institute of Development Studies of the University of Dodoma. He previously worked as a Community Development Officer for six years in the Local government in Tanzania specifically engaged in Development projects especially on HIV issues and Institutional Strengthening. His research interests are in development projects especially those targeting Livelihood’s promotion and Global Value Chain.  His current research project intends to establish the link between valuable natural resources utilization projects and livelihoods promotion through the Global Value Chain (GVC) model to minimize conflicts associated with natural resource utilization in the developing world.

Usman Ashraf

Usman Ashraf is currently enrolled in the political, societal and regional changes doctoral program at the University of Helsinki. He completed his masters in development studies at the International Institute of Social Studies, the Hague.  

His research focuses on the politics of environment and development in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, particularly in Chinese energy investments in Pakistan. In the era of climate change, the question of sustainability, conservation and biodiversity are at the centre stage of global development initiatives. These concerns have resulted in calls for the “greening” of the Belt and Road Initiative --- history’s biggest-ever development project. He is working on Thar coal mining and Quid-e-Azam Solar power plant as the empirical cases for the PhD research. He aims to use a political ecology framework and focus particularly on power relations to unpack environmental-development politics.  

In addition, he is also interested in large-scale tree plantation projects which have emerged as a popular solution to climate change mitigation. In this regard, he has done some work on the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami, a mega tree plantation project aimed at planting ten billion trees. His work has appeared in Economic and Political Weekly (EPW), IIED and Ecología Política.     

Christopher Chagnon

Christopher W. Chagnon is the NDDS project coordinator and a doctoral researcher of Global Development Studies at the University of Helsinki Faculty of Social Sciences. His work focuses on personal data extractivism and data colonialism in Zambia. He has co-authored the chapter “Extractivism at Your Fingertips” (Routledge, 2021) in Our Extractive Age: Expressions of Violence and Resistance, the article “From Extractivism to Global Extractivism: The Evolution of an Organizing Concept” (Journal of Peasant Studies, 2022), and a forthcoming book chapter "Data Extractivism: Social Pollution and Real World Costs" (Routledge, forthcoming) in The Digital Economy of Europe. He has a MSc in Emerging Economies and International Development from King’s College London (2017), and won the prize for best master’s thesis; MA International Studies with a dual focus on International Business and International Education from Concordia University Irvine (2009); and BA International Relations and East Asian Language and Culture, focusing on Chinese, from the University of Southern California (2007). Prior to starting his doctoral research, he had over 10 years of work experience in international development, market research, and education based in the China, Saudi Arabia, the UK, and Italy. He is a board member of the Finnish Society for Development Research, a member of the Global Extactivisms and Alternatives (EXALT) Initiative, and co-hosts the EXALT Podcast.

Vedasto Hamza

Vedasto Hamza is an Assistant Lecturer at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) of the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) in Tanzania. He holds a Master of Arts in Development Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Dar es Salaam. Mr Hamza served as Coordinator of Undergraduate Studies at the IDS for four years (2015-2019). He has nine years of experience in research and teaching in the field of Development Studies (DS).  Mr Hamza has been engaged in a number of research projects. He is currently in a solar cooking project team with Dr Margaret Samiji and Dr Nuru Mlyuka, both from the Department of Physics, UDSM. Essentially, the project is aimed at addressing the barriers to the lower uptake of solar cooking technology in rural and suburban Tanzania. He is currently conducting his PhD research on women’s economic empowerment in Kigoma and Katavi regions, Western Tanzania. With regard to professional association membership, Mr Hamza is a member of the Development Studies Association of Australia (DSAA).

Jones J. Helberth

Jones J. Helberth is an Assistant Lecturer at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) of the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Tanzania, and is currently doing his PhD in Development Studies (DS). In his PhD study, he wants to examine the nexus between SACCOS practices and small-scale entrepreneurship development in Tanzania. This is due to the fact that citizens in developing countries should be assisted thinking out-of-the-box on jobs creation and socioeconomic development of their countries. No government in the world has managed to employ all of its labour force. As such, promoting entrepreneurship initiatives amongst the citizens would not only help them for their livelihoods but will also contribute significantly to the growth of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of their respective countries. Beyond lecturing, researching, and offering consultancy, Jones is an entrepreneur with strong international aspirations.

Before joining UDSM in 2020, Jones was teaching Mathematics, Economics, Geography, and History in different secondary schools in Tanzania. And during that course, together with other teachers, he managed to initiate and lead successfully two Teachers’ Associations for their socioeconomic development. Good enough, both of them are still working to date.

Jones holds a master's degree in Climate Change and Sustainable Development from UDSM in Tanzania, and is a graduate in the Bachelor of Education in Economics and Mathematics of Mzumbe University in Morogoro, Tanzania. He also holds a diploma of education, majoring in History and Geography from Morogoro Teachers College in Morogoro, Tanzania.

Veera Joro

Veera Joro is a doctoral student at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland specialising in the area of Development Studies. She has a Masters degree in Development and International Cooperation from the University of Jyväskylä and a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Nottingham Trent University in the U.K. She has been primarily involved within development projects targeting inclusion, anti-discrimination and gender-based issues in Finland and in Malta, but is currently pursuing her doctoral research in actualising social transformations in the global North as a response to the environmental crisis.

Her research interests are critical engagements with ‘modern’ values, ethics, social culture and perspectives of ‘development,’ ‘progress,’ and the ‘good life.’ Her research aims to highlight the need to consider alternative socio-economic systems to those functioning in accordance with economic growth, and to decolonise the concept and practice of development. She is passionate about including the wellbeing of the non-human world within the concept of ‘development,’ and in unmaking the global North as a model for development due to its current inability to operate within planetary boundaries.

Wisdom C. Kaleng'a

Wisdom Chilwizhi Kaleng’a is a Lecturer at the University of Zambia’s Department of Development Studies. He has held that position since 2013, and has done research and teaching-related designations with University of Zambia since 2008. He is a mining, international trade policy, technology, innovation and industrial development expert presently concluding his PhD studies. Other than Zambia, he has had academic and research experience in Tanzania, Kenya, Denmark and Sweden, among others.

Karoliina Kantola

Karoliina Kantola is a doctoral student at the University of Helsinki, with a Doctoral Programme in Political, Societal and Regional Change. In her doctoral thesis, she studies the impact of microfinance, mobile money, and cooperatives on female entrepreneurs' life in Tanzania. Her aim is to collect her research data in Tanzania in two phases during the next few years. She is interested in both alternative and critical approaches to political economy of development, as well as her theoretical framework draws from Black feminism and Stratification economics.

Kantola graduated with an MSc in Global Studies from Roskilde University, Denmark (2019), and an MSc in Journalism from the University of Tampere, Finland (2010). During her career, she has worked as a radio and tv journalist in Europe and Asia and participated in development projects and master seminar teaching, among others.

Based in Copenhagen, Karoliina takes doctoral studies and writes her thesis part-time while working as a freelance journalist for Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE and Swedish Radio SR.

Abdul Kadir Khan

Abdul Kadir Khan is a Doctoral Researcher in Development Studies in the Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. His research focuses on the dynamics of aid localization, with particular reference to the Rohingya humanitarian response in Bangladesh.

He is originally from Bangladesh, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences (BSS), major in political science from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. As a Master`s degree holder, he holds both degrees from Norway. A Master of Science degree (MSc) in International Development Studies (NORAGRIC) from the University of life sciences (NMBU), and a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) Degree in Peace and Conflict studies (Political Science track) from the University of Oslo, Norway.

Additionally, he is also interested in the humanitarian-development nexus / Triple nexus (Peace) in the global south, especially in the context of climate change, refugees and forceful migration.

Johnson Kojo

Johnson Kojo is an assistant lecturer at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) of the University of Dodoma. He is currently serving as an assistant examination coordinator at the institute. He has worked in the field of adult education and community development for nine years as an instructor and researcher. Mr. Johnson holds Masters in Community Economic Development from the Open University of Tanzania and Bachelor of Education in Commerce from the University of Dodoma. His research is situated in the field of community development and adult education with a special focus on community engagement and familial outreach programs. Johnson teaches several courses on adult education and community development to undergraduate students. He teaches the course “introduction to project management, community empowerment, and entrepreneurship skills”. He is currently working on his PhD dissertation on enhancing asset-based parental engagement in children’s early learning opportunities at home and in primary schools in Tabora Region in mid-western Tanzania.

James Benedict Kuboja

James Benedict Kuboja is an assistant lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM). He holds a Master of Arts in History (2019) and a Bachelor of Arts with Education (2011), both from the UDSM. His areas of research interests are environmental, social and political histories. Mr. Kuboja has a publishing experience with the Institute of Development Studies (IDS-UDSM) as he contributed one article in the Tanzania Journal of Development Studies, Vol.19, No.1 of 2021, titled “People’s Livelihoods and Conservation: Community-based-Conservation in Maswa Game Reserve”. He is currently pursuing his PhD studies at the UDSM, working on a research titled “A History of Wildlife Buffer Zones’ Governance in Tanzania: A Case of South-western Serengeti, ca.1920s-1910s”.

Deseria B. Mapunda

Desderia B. Mapunda is Rural Development Specialist, working as an assistant lecture at University of Dodoma (UDOM). Her field of expertise and interest includes Agriculture, Food Security and Rural Development, and Contemporary Development Perspective. She graduated at Sokoine University of Agriculture in 2011 for Bachelor of Rural Development and got Master of Art in Community Development at St. Johns University of Tanzania in the year 2014. Her works focus on experiences and expertise on Agriculture, Food Security and Rural development. Desderia has experience in Teaching and Supervision of undergraduate students and Consultancy services Sustainable agriculture and development, climate smart agriculture, community economic Development & Social economic impact analysis. She is now a PhD student at the University of Dodoma working on the Smallholder Farmers Willingness to Pay for The Crop Insurance among Maize and Rice Producers in Tanzania. 

Munalula Mulonda

Munalula Mulonda is a lecturer in Development Studies at the University of Zambia. He was engaged by the University in 2015 after completing an MSc Programme in Globalization and Development from the Institute of Development Policy and Management of the University of Antwerp in Belgium. He also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Development Studies from the University of Zambia. He is currently pursuing doctoral studies at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. His PhD research focuses on Small Scale artisanal mining on Zambia’s Copper dumpsites.

Priscillah Nsama

Priscillah Nsama is a PhD Candidate with the University of Cape Town in South Africa, under the department of Centre for African Studies. She is also a Lecturer, Researcher and Consultant, Department of Development Studies, at The University of Zambia.

Her research interests are environmental and agrarian studies in relation to customary land governance, traditional and cultural dynamics in relation to modernity, how customary law operate in a diverse cultural environment and exploring the political economy and the future prospects for the institution of traditional authority, for the fair formulation of policies that would be inclusive.

Ntoko Benjamin Esone

Ntoko Benjamin Esone is a Finnish citizen but originally from Cameroon and a Ph.D. researcher in Development Studies at the Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy of the University of Jyväskylä (JYU) Finland. He is a member of the research group, Civil Society and Citizenship in Development (CitDe), a research group working on various topics related to citizenship and civil society in the context of development research and practice. His research interest revolves around key concepts such as civil society, democracy and local development, concepts that have dominated the field of development studies since the 2nd half of the 20th century. His Ph.D. topic is titled: ‘Promoting democracy and local development in Cameroon: role and challenges of CSOs since the inception of the liberalization law of the 1990s.’ Ntoko also reflects and researches on other interest areas such as the role of African Diaspora to development in Africa. He holds an M.A degree in Journalism from Södertörn University, an MSc. degree in Peace and Development Studies from Linnaeus University- Sweden and a BA. in History (international relations) from the University of Yaoundé I, Cameroon. He also holds other professional qualifications including a Graduate Certificate in International Project Management from Rovaniemi University of Applied Sciences and a qualification in Business Administration from Omnia Vocational College, Finland.

Godfred Obeng

Godfred Adduow Obeng is a doctoral researcher in Development Studies at the Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of Jyväskylä. He is working on a PhD thesis tentatively entitled “Organic Cocoa Governance and its Implication on Sustainable Production: A Comparative case analysis between Ghana, Ivory Coast and The Dominican Republic”. He investigates this topic from the perspectives of multilevel governance.

A product of MSc in Development and International cooperation (D&IC) with Social and Public policy major at the University of Jyväskylä, Godfred graduated in 2015. This was followed with pedagogical studies in International Professional Teacher Education, a post-graduate diploma at the Häme University of Applied Sciences at Hämelinnä campus. Godfred has profound interest in educational research and teaching.

Sululu J. Samwel

J Sululu is an Assistant Lecturer at the University of Dodoma (UDOM), Institute of Development Studies in Tanzania. He holds a Master of Arts in Development Studies from the University of Dodoma and Bachelor of Arts with Education from St Johns’  University of Tanzania. Before joining the University of Dodoma He served as secondary school Teacher in Public schools for ten (10) years.  Mr JSULULU joined The University of Dodoma from 2014 after completionn of Mater degree in 2012. Since then he served as an Assistant Lecturer and Coordinator of Develpent perspectives course which is offered at the IDS as a compulsory course to all first Years.  Mr J SULULU has eighteen years of teaching experience and ten years in research and consultancy in the field of Development Studies. He  has been engaged on research projects and consultacy. In 2016-2018 He engaged with Department For International Development-Gvt .UK Research Project on Climate Smart Agriculture capacity Building to smallholder famers in Tanzania Lake zone regions as Consultant team member. Since then Mr J SULULU has been attached to research and consultancy activities at the Institute of Development studies. Mr  J SULULU is currently conducting his PhD research on  assessing the Influence of  Higher Education Cost Sharing Policy on Equitable Access to Higher Education in Tanzania. His ultimate goal is to become a competent academician who is confidently conduct teaching, Research, publication and consultancy in development related issues.

Happy Tirivangasi

Happy Tirivangasi holds a Master of Arts degree in sociology from the University of Limpopo in South Africa. He also holds a Master of Science in Governance and Development (with distinction) from the Institute of Development Policy at the University of Antwerp in Belgium. He has six years of research experience in southern Africa. Mr. Tirivangasi is a research associate at the University of Limpopo (Department of Research Administration and Development) and a Ph.D. researcher at the University of Jyväskylä. His PhD analyses climate change adaptation practices among the Ndau people in Zimbabwe from an Afrocentric perspective.

He is also a laureate of the Council for Development and Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA). He uses decolonial theories to answer questions that science and technology are unable to provide in a way that is acceptable to all stakeholders. Climate change adaptation, indigenous and local knowledge, climate change and smallholder farmers, gender and climate change, food security, and decolonizing climate change are all topics he has researched in the past.

His research interests also include elections, violence, xenophobia, and social movements. These research activities resulted in the publication of at least 60 publications, which consist of seven book chapters (published by Springer, Palgrave Macmillan, and Rowman & Littlefield), 49 journal articles (published in peer-reviewed journals accredited by the South African Department of Higher Education and Training list), and three conference proceedings.

In 2022, Happy has been invited as a member of two scientific committees for two international conferences, namely, the 14th Southern African-Nordic Centre international conference (December 4–6, 2022) and the 1st Southern African Mountain Conference (March 14–17, 2022).

Rubén Vezzoni

Rubén Vezzoni is a doctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki. He is a member of the Helsinki Centre for Global Political Economy and an external researcher at LUKE (Natural Resources Institute Finland). His research interests revolve around the fields of political economy, energy policy, ecological economics, social change, post-growth economies and agrarian studies. His doctoral project explores the political economy of climate change and, more specifically, it engages with a critique of the origins, causes, and possible directions of state-led plans for the ecological transition.

Rubén holds an MSc in Economics, with a major in Environmental Economics and Sustainable Development. After graduating in 2016, he worked in the financial sector in Belgium and Italy, before returning to academia with a Marie Curie Research Fellowship for the RECOMS project, in 2018. Besides these strictly academic interests, he is passionate about small-scale farming and the mediating role that agroecology can have between humankind and the rest of nature.

Faida Zacharia

Faida Zacharia holds a B.Ed. with a focus on Adult Education, and a M.Sc. in Natural Resources Assessment and Management both from the University of Dar es Salaam. She is an Assistant Lecturer in Development Studies at the University of Dodoma. She is currently pursuing her doctoral studies in natural resource assessment and management with a focus on access water resources for smallholder farmers in Dodoma Region. She began working with Professor Maganga while pursuing her master’s degree, and since 2014 she has collaborated with both Professor Maganga and Professor Askew on their Transformations in Poverty and Property Rights research project and Mobilizing Social Assets for Productive Use of Renewable Energy in Rural Tanzania Project. She is a member of the University of Michigan African Presidential Scholars (UMAPS) 2018-19 cohort, a six-month residential fellowship program in Ann Arbor for early career African faculty. She was also a research assistant for the evaluation of the National Plan of Action to end Violence Against Women and Children in Tanzania (NPA-VAWC) conducted by the Ministry of Community Development, Gender, Women, and Special Groups.