Happy Singu Hansen

Gender, People-Centred Social Innovation and Youth Media Work in Tanzania

Image of Happy Singu Hansen.

Happy's PhD aims to analyse the longitudinal perspectives of the work by a major player in youth empowerment work in Tanzania; the civil society organisation Femina. Reaching a quarter of the population, the organisation has over the last 20 years engaged in enhancing capacities of youth, through communication and media initiatives.

In between completing her master's in Denmark and beginning her PhD at Loughborough University London, Happy:

  • presented her thesis on widowed women initiatives in Tanzania at an international conference,
  • engaged in temporary projects in Copenhagen; at Action Aid Denmark on workshops for immigrants,
  • completed a literature review task for a national centre for Social Science Research,
  • and at Blossom started a project for homeless women.

She also co-initiated the organisation ‘IPSI’ aiming to develop civic and social entrepreneurial activities among youth in Tanzania.

In Tanzania, she completed her MA in Sociology while working on various research projects and teaching at university.

PhD research description

Happy's PhD aims to engage critically with Femina’s learning initiatives and mobilisation work, inquiring into both historical as well as contemporary forms of non-state welfare provision and innovation for social change. It will investigate the ways young people (with an emphasis on women) develop agency and citizenship and how/to which extent they participate in developing associative engagements and collaborative networks in their everyday lives. The research draws from the most recent paradigms of the Communication for Social Change (CFSC) and People Centred Development (PCD) with overlapping focus on empowerment and participatory processes. This by mobilising individuals, groups and communities aims to engage in matters that affect their lives.

Her PhD will explore the experiences of different generations of young people in the activities that Femina promotes; how communication works between organisation and participants. Who creates, who influences, how are decisions made? It will unpack the interplay between the organisation’s aims and the motivation of youth - and assess how their efforts are limited by but also nurtured by particular social conditions.

PhD supervisors

Happy is supervised by Professor Thomas Tufte and Dr Jessica Noske-Turner.

Awards, grants or scholarships received

Happy was awarded a studentship to pursue her PhD at Loughborough University London.

Papers, publications and articles

  • Singu (2013) Gendered Power Relations Among University Students. A Case Study of University of Dar es Salaam. MA thesis, Sociology
  • Singu Hansen (2017) Solidarity Economy and Informal Grassroots Initiatives. MSc thesis, Social Entrepreneurship, Roskilde University.
  • Singu Hansen (2018) How people in low-income strata liver their lives as part of the economy. Paper, proceedings. EMES-Polanyi conference, April.

Interests and activities

Happy follows a range of social media sites, groups and profiles which captures 'news from below', humour and everyday life, from East Africa, but also from Europe/Denmark. She likes photography, red wine, biking, and now and then read African novels (from Chinua Achebe to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie). She also spends time watching series/movies, listening to music and singing and dancing.

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