Kenya – COI

Dr Bodil Folke Frederiksen


Bodil Folke Frederiksen works as an Associate Professor at Roskilde University, Denmark. Her broad teaching and research area is the interface between culture and politics in eastern and southern Africa, Kenya in particular. She researches the localization of media and global popular culture in Kenya, consumption and representation and the role they play for identities and social and livelihood practices for social groupings, particularly young women and men. She is interested in the political and cultural articulations of disadvantaged groups, how they often happen through mobilization in ‘uncivil’ social movements – they may be ethnic or religious – and may, in spite of their unregulated character, contribute to processes of democratic transformation. In this connection, she studies diasporic groups who are often extremely dynamic but also exposed to abuse and persecution. She highlights the work of local intellectuals, writers and artists and their contributions to the political and social atmosphere in specific places and periods.

Prof Kefa Otiso 


Professor Kefa M. Otiso teaches urban, economic, population, and regional geography at Bowling Green State University and is the founding president of the US-based Kenya Scholars and Studies Association (  His research is focused on urbanization, globalization, international migration, development, governance, and cultural change in the context of Kenya, the broader African region, and North America. His publications include Culture and Customs of Tanzania (Greenwood Press, 2013), Culture and Customs of Uganda (Greenwood Press, 2006), and various book chapters and refereed journal articles and editorials.  He is a regular press commentator on Kenyan current issues. He has served as an expert witness on Kenyan immigration cases in the US.

Laura Young, JD, MPH

Laura is a US-trained human rights lawyer based in Nairobi, Kenya who works across sub-Saharan Africa as a consultant on governance and human rights for USAID, the UN, governments, and international NGOs. Laura has published numerous articles and reports focused on conflict dynamics, gender, minority rights, transitional justice, migration, health, and other human rights issues in the African context. Laura has provided expert input for immigration and asylum cases in both the US and UK, focused on LGBT, FGM/C, domestic violence, trafficking, access to health services (including mental health and HIV), ex-combatants, ethnic minorities, disability access, police protection, and other key issues.

Dr Shadrack Wanjala Nasong’o


Dr Shadrack Wanjala Nasong’o holds a BA and an MA from the University of Nairobi, Kenya and obtained his PhD from Northeastern University, Boston, with his dissertation entitled “Contending Political Paradigms in Africa: Democratization vs. Authoritarianism in Kenya and Zambia.” He is currently Professor of International Studies at Rhodes College, Memphis, Tennessee. He previously held posts at the University of Nairobi, Kenyatta University, and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He has also published extensively on Africa, with topics ranging from contentious politics on the continent, through the gendered aspects of African political spaces to the roots of identity conflict in Africa. His current research focuses on post-genocide reconstruction in Rwanda, democracy and governance in Eastern Africa, and the nature of political actors in the Kenyan public space.

Dr Bettina Shell-Duncan (FGM/C)


Bettina Shell-Duncan has a PhD in Anthropology and conducts research on maternal and child health in Africa.  She is employed as a Professor of Anthropology and Adjunct Professor of Global Health at the University of Washington, Seattle.  One of her areas of specialization is  FGM/C.  She has been a technical consultant on FGM/C for the UNICEF and the World Health Organization and led the WHO research initiative on behaviour change with respect to FGM/C. She has published two books on this topic (Female “Circumcision” in Africa:  Culture, Controversy and Change, Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2000; Transcultural Bodies: Female Genital Cutting in Global Context, Rutgers University Press, 2007), and written several academic journal articles. As a UNICEF’s consultant, she prepared a statistical overview entitled, Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A Statistical Overview and Exploration of the Dynamics of Change. This report was published in 2013 and is available online.  
Dr Shell-Duncan has offered expert statements regarding asylum applications for African women several times previously, including cases where applicants are seeking protection on the grounds of fears that they or their daughters will be forced to undergo FGM/C. She is qualified to do so for claimants from Kenya since she has been conducting research on FGM/C in Kenya since 1994. 

Dr. Michael Jennings


Michael Jennings is Chair of the Centre of African Studies, and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Development Studies at SOAS. He works on Tanzanian politics and society, and on East African politics more widely.  Dr Jennings has written reports for use in courts on politics and political violence, domestic violence and gender issues, and issues around homophobia and sexuality-based violence in Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya.