Effectual and ethical leadership is a top need throughout all sectors in Sub-Saharan Africa (Adadevoh, 2007; Ncube, 2010). Unfortunately, there is currently very scant literature on Sub-Saharan African leadership theory or programming (Bolden & Kirk, 2009). A large Christian nonprofit organization operated a multi-year servant leadership-based Christian leadership program for thousands of college students throughout sites in East Africa called the Leadership Development Program (LDP). The LDP endeavored to groom local, ethical, and capable leaders. Therefore, studying the LDP model and its impacts could add significant value to Sub-Saharan African leadership practitioners as well as add to the limited body of African leadership literature.

The purpose of this case study is to explore the efficacy and impact of a multi-year servant leadership-based program for East African college students with a poverty background based on participant perceptions. The research question which guided this study was: What is the efficacy and impact of a servant leadership-based program for East African college students with a poverty background based on participant perceptions and do various demographic factors influence their assessments? A quantitative case study research method was used to investigate the experiences of former Kenyan and Ugandan LDP participants (N = 279). Respondents completed an online survey regarding their perspectives on helpful leadership topics, effective leadership learning methods, and program impact. Spearman correlations were used to determine whether or not demographic characteristics influenced participant assessments.

Findings from this study include servant leadership and integrity as being the two most helpful leadership topics. The Ethical leadership topic category was deemed most relevant compared to self-leadership and leading others categories. There was a degree of alignment within the 70:20:10 Model of Leadership Learning model by Lombardo and Eichinger (1996).

The LDP garnered high impact and enablement ratings which indicated programmatic effectiveness. Research findings could be shared within Sub-Saharan human development organizations and leaders from developing economies. Recommendations for future research include a comparative analysis of existing leadership programs in the Sub-Saharan African region and expanding this study to LDP graduates in 18 countries and across four world regions.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Christian leadership -- Africa, East; College students -- Africa, East; Servant leadership -- Africa, East

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Martine Jago