Research > The British Academy

Project overview

This project adopts a participatory action research (PAR) approach to give voice to youth perspectives on the growth of commercial gambling across Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), including its differentiated impacts on individual and community well-being.

Drawing on a comparative case study of Ghana and Malawi, as exemplars of, respectively, a mature and an emerging gambling market, the research aims to empower young people to convey the changing social and economic significance of gambling in their communities,including the extent to which technological advances have reshaped attitudes towards gambling practices,and how this may have wider implications for traditional conceptualisations of work, livelihood and social mobility.

The aim of this project is to create a paradigm shift in the ways in which we seek to understand and address commercial gambling across SSA.

Led by the voices, lived experiences, values and actions of young people, it proposes to reveal the differentiated socio-cultural, economic and technological significance of expanding gambling markets in Ghana and Malawi. In doing so, it could not be more timely.

Historical lessons from commercially mature gambling markets in the Global North suggest that research too often lagged behind the growth of the industry, and as a result, efforts towards intervention were stifled by strategic industry tactics.

And while gambling is increasingly acknowledged as a significant public health issue across SSA, the need for independent research and evidence of the everyday meaning, impacts and potential harms of commercial gambling has never been greater.


McGee D, Bunn C, Reith G, Udedi M, Yendork J, Franklin G. Leisure or Livelihoods? A Participatory Study of Youth Perspectives on Gambling and its Social, Economic and Health Impacts in Ghana and Malawi. British Academy: £299,189. 20/03/2020 – 20/9/22.