Young people and mobile phones in sub-Saharan Africa

Porter, Gina and Hampshire, Kate and Abane, Albert and Munthali, Alister and Mashiri, Mac and deLannoy, Ariane and Robson, Elsbeth (2017). Young people and mobile phones in sub-Saharan Africa. [Data Collection]. Colchester, Essex: UK Data Archive. 10.5255/UKDA-SN-852493

This research project, which commenced in August 2012, explored how the rapid expansion of mobile phone usage is impacting on young lives in sub-Saharan Africa. It builds directly on our previous research on children’s mobility within which baseline quantitative data and preliminary qualitative information was collected on mobile phone usage (2006-2010) across 24 research sites, as an adjunct to our wider study of children’s physical mobility and access to services. In this study our focus is specifically on mobile phones and we cover a much wider range of phone-related issues, including changes in gendered and age patterns of phone use over time; phone use in building social networks (for instance to support job search); impacts on education, livelihoods, health status, safety and surveillance, physical mobility and possible connections to migration, youth identity, and questions of exploitation and empowerment associated with mobile phones. Mixed-method, participatory youth-centred studies have been conducted in the same 24 sites as in our earlier work across Ghana, Malawi and South Africa (urban, peri-urban, rural, remote rural, in two agro-ecological zones per country). We have built on the baseline data for 9-18 year-olds gathered in 2006-2010, through repeat and extended studies, but also included additional studies with 19-25 year-olds (to capture changing usage and its impacts as our initial cohort move into their 20s).

Data description (abstract)

Quantitative and qualitative data sets for 24 sites across Ghana, Malawi and South Africa: a) SPSS dataset on young people’s use of mobile phones in Ghana, Malawi and South Africa.  4626 cases (young people aged 7-25 years): 1568 Ghana; 1544 Malawi; 1514 South Africa.  719 variables (+ 11 ‘navigation facilitators’) b) 1,620 Qualitative transcripts from interviews with people of diverse ages, 8y upwards: individual interviews [using either i.theme checklist or ii call register checklist]; focus group interviews [not all sites]: 50-80 transcripts for most sites.

Data creators:
Creator Name Affiliation ORCID (as URL)
Porter Gina Durham University
Hampshire Kate Durham University
Abane Albert Cape Coast University
Munthali Alister University of Malawi
Mashiri Mac independent consultant
deLannoy Ariane University of Cape Town
Robson Elsbeth University of Hull
Name Affiliation ORCID (as URL)
Bango Andisiwe Walter Sisulu University
Owusu Samuel University of Cape Coast, Ghana
Tanle Augustine University of Cape Coast, Ghana
Sponsors: Economic and Social Research Council
Grant reference: ES/J018082/1
Topic classification: Media, communication and language
Transport and travel
Labour and employment
Society and culture
Keywords: mobile phones, children, youth
Project title: The impact of mobile phones on young people's lives and life chances in sub-Saharan Africa: a three country study to inform policy and practice
Grant holders: Gina Porter, Durham University
Project dates:
1 August 201231 December 2015
Date published: 28 Oct 2016 13:24
Last modified: 14 Jul 2017 14:25

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