Afua-T-D.jpgDr Afua Twum-Danso Imoh

Lecturer in the Sociology of Childhood

(BA, MSc, PhD)

Telephone: 0114 222 6444 (external), 26444 (internal)
Room: Elmfield, B06e


Afua joined the Department as a lecturer in the sociology of childhood in September 2008 after completing her PhD at the Centre of West African Studies, the University of Birmingham. Prior to taking up this post, she was a Visiting Lecturer in Children´s Rights at Roehampton University. Afua's professional experience has also included working for ECPAT International, an international non-governmental organisation based in Bangkok, Thailand working against the commercial sexual exploitation of children, and undertaking consultancies for the Institute of Security Studies based in Pretoria, South Africa and the Ghana NGO Coalition on the Rights of the Child in Accra, Ghana.


Afua's ESRC-funded PhD research focused on eliciting the perceptions of local communities on children's rights, the construction of childhood and the socialization of children and exploring the implications for the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in two inner city communities in Accra, the capital of Ghana. The premise of the thesis was that there is a need to move beyond the universality vs. cultural relativity dichotomy and focus more on how communities can be engaged in the interpretation and implementation of the Convention and children´s rights more generally. The research was interdisciplinary and drew heavily on the fields of human rights law, sociology and anthropology and further highlighted the need for synergy between these disciplines.

Following on from this research, Afua has now embarked on a new research project which aims to elicit children’s perceptions of physical punishment in Ghana, which is funded by the Nuffield Foundation Small Grants Scheme. In addition, on behalf of the Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth, Afua is leading a project which aims to assess the progress of the concept of children’s participation within the Yorkshire region of the UK. This is funded by the University of Sheffield’s Knowledge Transfer Rapid Response Grant.

Afua's current research interests include: the global export of a particular notion of childhood through international law and policies and its impact on local communities; the implementation of international children’s rights standards within a developing country context; the impact of cultural values such as reciprocity, respect and responsibility on children’s rights principles; the socialization of children and changing parent-child relations and the implications for children’s welfare and rights; the concept of children’s participation in non-Western societies.

Funded Research Projects
Date Sponsor Details
January-December 2018 British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship The study undertaken during the fellowship seeks to:
  1. explore the implications of developments to ensure a 'proper' childhood for all children in 19th century and early 20th century Britain for indigenous populations in the British colony of the Gold Coast (present-day Ghana);
  2. explore the reactions of colonised subjects in the Gold Coast to encountering this 'proper' childhood in their contexts;
  3. examine the legacy of these efforts for our understanding of contemporary Ghanaian childhoods.

Data, collected through archival and qualitative research methods, will result in a number of publications and conference papers, a website and a documentary film which will be exhibited in Ghana and the UK.

(PI: Dr. Afua Twum-Danso Imoh, Grant Amount: £119, 477)

2016-17 Hope and Homes for Children, the Sheffield Institute for International Development and the Faculty of Social Science, University of Sheffield

Successfully obtained funding to recruit a post-doctoral fellow to conduct secondary research on the institutionalised care of children globally. The findings of this secondary research will feed into Hope and Homes for Children’s programming in their target countries and will be used as a basis for discussion with key partners such as DFID as well as with other academics and researchers

(PI: Dr. Afua Twum-Danso Imoh, Grant Amount:£23,000 from Hope and Homes
for Children; £17,534 from SIID and Faculty of Social Science; Total: £40,534)

2016-17 British Academy Rising Star Award Follow-On Funding

Awarded further funding from the British Academy to further develop the network I had established as part of my Rising Star Award.

Funding is being used to organise a workshop and network development meeting for childhood studies scholars in Brazil, in partnership with colleagues at the University of Sao Paulo and the University of Paraiba

(PI: Dr. Afua Twum-Danso Imoh, Grant Amount £5,000)

2015-16 British Academy Rising Star Award

Awarded one of a number of British Academy Rising Star Awards for a project which seeks to bring together researchers exploring childhood and children’s lives in diverse contexts in the Global South to engage in theory development using the various empirical studies that have been produced on Southern childhoods as a starting point for dialogue and action. This will be achieved through two initiatives.

  • A three-day workshop which will aim to stimulate discussion will be organised for 30 childhood researchers with various levels of experience working within diverse Southern contexts including those based within institutions in the South.
  • In order to broaden the dialogue beyond the workshop participants, a website will be developed which will host a virtual network of childhood scholars to continue the discussion that was initiated during the workshop. Southern Childhoods

Underpinning the project will be a strong mentoring ethos as it seeks to contribute to developing the capacity of early career researchers by encouraging their active participation in the project and facilitating their partnership with more established academics in its various activities. More information on the project can be found on the following website:

(PI Dr. Afua Twum-Danso Imoh, Grant Amount, £14, 998)

2013-16 British Academy International Partnership and Mobility Scheme Awarded funds to undertake a project which seeks to foster collaboration between academics in the department of sociological studies at the University of Sheffield and two universities in Ghana:- the department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Cape Coast and the Center for Gender Studies and Advocacy at the University of Ghana-Legon. Most of the activities that comprise this partnership (including capacity building workshops for early career and postgraduate students in both the UK and Ghana) centre on the development of a research study which aims to explore the development of sexual identities amongst children and young adults in Ghana and the implications for their understanding of gender roles, issues of power and oppression in relationships and sexual violence (P.I. Afua Twum-Danso Imoh, Co-I Professor Mansah Prah, the University of Cape Coast, Ghana, Grant Amount, £30,000).
2012 The University of Sheffield Collaborative R&D and Partnership Scheme Awarded funding from the University's Collaborative R&D and Partnership scheme for a project entitled ‘Facilitating Children's Participation in the Niger Delta’. The project is conducted in partnership with Stepping Stones Nigeria (P.I: Afua Twum-Danso Imoh, Grant Amount: £45,975).
2010 The University of Sheffield Knowledge Transfer Rapid Response Grant Children’s Participation: Beyond Rhetoric, Confronting Reality: 20 Years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Yorkshire.
2009-2010 Nuffield Foundation Children's Perception of Physical Punishment.


The theories underpinning Afua's teaching approach can be broadly defined as constructivism. The student is put at the centre of the learning process as students construct their own learning on the subject with support from me as the module convenor. She does this by working to ensure the active participation of students who must seek out the information necessary to solve problems, and become independent learners. Hence the modules Afua convenes are divided into components led by Afua and those that are student-led – be it in small groups or on an individual basis. Where possible, Afua provides opportunities for students to identify topics which interests them for the purpose of exploring these in more detail for presentation to the entire group or in an essay. She firmly believe that this enables students to claim more ownership over the learning process. The majority of Afua's teaching is research-led as her modules tend to draw on my own areas of research such as children’s rights, global childhood, parent-child relationships, amongst others.

Afua currently convenes the following undergraduate modules:

  • SCS 1013 - The Globalization of Culture: Persistence and Change
  • SCS3012 – Children and Youth in Developing Societies.

She also convenes the following module at the postgraduate level:

  • SCS643 - International Childhoods: Rights, Policies and Practices

Afua is also involved in the supervision of students taking extended essays and dissertations at undergraduate and postgraduate levels on the following modules:

  • SCS3001 Dissertation in Sociology
  • SCS3002 Dissertation in Social Policy
  • SCS3003 Extended Essay in Sociology
  • SCS3004 Extended Essay in Social Policy
  • SCS6330 Dissertation in Social Research

See our Undergraduate degree and Postgraduate taught degree pages.

Postgraduate Supervision

To find out more about our PhD programmes, go to:
Studying for a PhD in Sociology


Publications since 2005

Twum-Danso Imoh, A. O. (2016). Tackling the Physical Punishment of Children in Resource Poor Contexts: The Utility of a Community Starting Point Approach for Action and Intervention in Children’s Rights Programming. The International Journal of Children’s Rights, 24(2), 469-487. doi:10.1163/15718182-02402005

Twum-Danso Imoh, A. O. (2016). From the Singular to the Plural: Exploring Diversities in Contemporary Childhoods in sub-Saharan Africa. Childhood, 23(3), 455. doi:10.1177/0907568216648746

Twum-Danso Imoh, A and Ansell, N. (eds.) (2014), Children’s Lives in the Era of Children’s Rights: The Progress of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Africa, Oxford: Routledge.

Twum-Danso Imoh, A (2014), ‘Realising children’s rights in Africa: an introduction’, in Afua Twum-Danso Imoh and Nicola Ansell (eds.), Children’s Lives in the Era of Children’s Rights: The Progress of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Africa, Oxford: Routledge.

Okyere, S and Twum-Danso Imoh, A (2014), ‘Making the case for a broader definition of child participation: evidence from the Niger Delta of Nigeria’ in Afua Twum-Danso Imoh and Nicola Ansell (eds.), Children’s Lives in the Era of Children’s Rights: The Progress of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Africa, Oxford: Routledge.

Twum-Danso Imoh, A (2013) ‘Children’s Perceptions of Physical Punishment in Ghana and the Implications for Children’s Rights’, Childhood: A Journal of Global Child Research Vol. 20 Issue 4, pp. 472–486. doi: 10.1177/0907568212471404

Twum-Danso Imoh, A (2013), ‘Rites vs. Rights: Female Genital Cutting at the Crossroads of Local Values and Global Norms’, International Social Work, Vol. 56, No. 1, pp. 36 - 49. doi: 10.1177/0020872812459068

Twum-Danso Imoh, A (2012), “‘This is how we do it here’: The Persistence of Cultural Practices in the Face of Globalized Ideals: The Case of Physical Punishment of Children in Ghana” in Afua Twum-Danso Imoh and Robert Ame (eds.), Childhoods at the Intersection of the Local and Global, Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Twum-Danso Imoh, A and Ame, Robert (eds.) (2012), Childhoods at the Intersection of the Local and Global, Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Twum-Danso Imoh, A (2012), ‘From Central to Marginal? Changing Perceptions of Kinship Fosterage in Ghana’, Journal of Family History, Vol.37, No.4, pp. 351-363. doi: 10.1177/0363199012440081

Twum-Danso Imoh, A (2011), ‘Searching for a Middleground in Children’s Rights in Ghana’, The Journal of Human Rights, Vol. 10. No. 3. pp. 376-392. doi: 10.1080/14754835.2011.596067

Twum-Danso, A (2011), ‘Assessing the Progress of the 1998 Children’s Act of Ghana: Achievements, Opportunities, and Challenges in its First Ten Years’ in Robert Ame, DeBrenna Agbenyiga, and Nana Apt (eds.), Children’s Rights in Ghana: Reality or Rhetoric? Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Twum-Danso, A (2010), ‘The Construction of Childhood and the Socialization of Children: the Implications for the Implementation of Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Ghana’, in Nigel Thomas and Barry Percy-Smith (eds.) The Handbook of Children’s Participation, Abingdon: Routledge.

Twum-Danso, A (2009), ‘Situating Participatory Methodologies in Context: The Impact of Culture on Adult-Child Interactions in Research and Other Projects,’ Children’s Geographies, Vol. 7, No. 4. doi: 10.1080/14733280903234436

Twum-Danso, A (2009), ‘Reciprocity, Respect and Responsibility: The 3rs Underlying Parent-Child Relationships in Ghana and the Implications for Children’s Rights’, The International Journal of Children’s Rights, Vol. 17, No. 3, pp.415-432. doi: 10.1163/157181809X430337

Twum-Danso, A (2009), ‘International Children’s Rights’ in Heather Montgomery and Mary Kellet (eds.), Children and Young People’s Worlds: Developing Frameworks for Integrated Practice, Polity Press.

Twum-Danso, A (2003), Africa’s Young Soldiers: the Co-Option of Childhood, Pretoria: Institute of Security Studies.

A full list of publications can be downloaded by clicking the link on the right of this page.