12 February: Colloquium “Transnational Islamic NGOs in Africa: Building Connections through the Charity Chain” by Mayke Kaag (Leiden University)

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Date(s) - 12/02/14
3:30 pm - 5:30 pm

Grote Gracht 80-82, Spiegelzaal (Soiron Building) Maastricht


Transnational Islamic NGOs in Africa: Building Connections through the Charity Chain

by Mayke Kaag (African Studies Centre, Leiden University)

Globalisation, Transnationalism and Development research program/ FASoS and MACIMIDE colloquium


In this presentation, Mayke Kaag will share some of her ongoing research on the work of Islamic charities from the Gulf region in Africa. She will particularly argue that if the activities of these organisations are evaluated merely in terms of their local economic development impact, one risks missing an important point. It is true that the scope of their interventions and the amount of money involved are generally much less than the Western aid industry channels to Africa. These material interventions can also generally be considered rather ‘traditional’ from a Western point of view, focussed as they usually are more on offering concrete relief and material facilities (mosques, wells, schools, etc.) than on ‘capacity building’, an important catch-phrase in Western development interventions. These Islamic NGOs, however, offer not only material relief but also new ways of connecting to the wider Umma, the global community of the faithful—with consequences both on the local and the global level. This will among other things be illustrated by examples from the work of transnational Islamic NGOs in Chad. It will be argued that an ‘outward looking’ translocal perspective on development, stressing networking and connections, more than an ‘inward looking’ localised perspective, offers fruitful ways to capture processes of development and social change in a globalising world.

About the speaker:

Mayke Kaag (PhD) is an anthropologist and a senior researcher at the African Studies Centre, Leiden, the Netherlands. Her research focuses on African transnational relations, including land issues, engagements with the diaspora, and the work of transnational Islamic NGOs. She is the convenor of the ASC collaborative research group on ‘Africa in the World: Rethinking Africa’s Global Connections’

Discussant: Wiebe Nauta (FASoS, Maastricht University)