2019 Graduation ceremony for the College of Humanities at UKZN Westville, 5 April 2019.

Doctoral Studies Involve “Driving for Data” Missions into Neighbouring Countries

Doctoral student, Mr Edward Nondo, travelled extensively – more than 116 000km – through Malawi, Zambia and South Africa doing research for his PhD in Public Administration which he received at the recent College of Law and Management Studies Graduation ceremony.

Nondo’s research into faith-based organisational management for strengthening church-led healthcare involved a multiple case study at two mission hospitals in Malawi and another two in Zambia.

Data-collection for the study led to Nondo covering more than 10 000 km during a four-week period of “driving-for-data” – sometimes in rough terrain between Malawi and Zambia.

Nondo also did 21 return road trips of 5 546 km each between Solwezi in Zambia and Durban plus two return flights bringing the total distance covered during his studies to 116 466km!

‘Full-time studies meant resigning from work and leaving my family so that I could concentrate on the research with the only finance being cash gained in a severance package from my former employers,’ said Zondo.

‘I got into serious financial difficulties but family always helped out and were there for me. Whenever, I seemed deviate from the study focus my supervisor, Professor Fayth Ruffin kept me on course and encouraged me.

Nondo says the idea for the research was derived from his involvement in the Management and Leadership Academy (MLA) of Zambia where he lectured with the National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA) delivering a systems strengthening intervention of training and mentorship in management for health workers in the Ministry of Health.

The qualitative study used multi-grounded theory and case study strategies in tandem with a design of meta-conceptual framework in stakeholder-congregational style to investigate the notion that hospital workers ‘perceive themselves to be minimised from participation in management decision making, and civil society members believe themselves marginalised from inclusivity in healthcare.’

Nondo’s investigations found there was a need to integrate secular management training with pastoral care approaches to enable hospital workers and community members through management capacity and stakeholder inclusivity.

Words: Thandiwe Jumo 
Photograph: Rogan Ward