Dr. Debie LeBeau interviewing informants for community-based development researchDr Debie LeBeauDevelopment Africa

Research & Publications by Dr. Debie LeBeau


Contact Dr. LeBeau

Dr. Debie LeBeau and her colleagues use Anthropology & Sociology for African development. Dr. LeBeau's work spans 16 years of living and working in southern Africa while examining social development issues such as health, human rights, gender, HIV and AIDS. She is a medical anthropologist by training whose interests focus on perpetuating creative forms of knowledge through the application of theories and methods for development in post-colonial Africa. Dr. LeBeau has internationally authored 11 books, two ebooks, and 11 chapters in books.

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Social Science Research Workbook

HIV and AIDS in Africa

Traditional Medicine  in Africa

Ethnicity and Inequality in Namibia

Izilwane Research in Africa

Gender Issues in Africa

Gender Training and Research Programme (GTRP/ UNAM)

Medical Sociology /Anthropology Workbook

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Experienced Clinical Hypnotherapist

Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR)

Peoples Education, Assistance and Counselling for Empowerment (PEACE) 

Enchanting images and stories about Namibia

Izilwane African research on the link between humans and their natural World

Hobo Travel carries links to this and other Anthropology in Namibia sites

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Allyson's Webpage

“Eating Goat Face is Taboo to My Clan”, in Disasters in Field Research by Gillian Ice (Ohio) and Darna Dufour (Colorado), Published by Rowman and Littlefield
"Ice, Dufour, and Stevens address the issues confronting both students and professional researchers as they embark on field research. For example, permits may be difficult to obtain—or even revoked at the last minute. Cultural differences and misunderstandings can disrupt data collection. Equipment can be held up by customs—or fail to work as expected. The authors offer practical advice on preparing for such possibilities, while active researchers from a wide array of disciplines relate, in brief first-person narratives, their own encounters with disaster, how they solved (or failed to solve) the problem, and their recommendations for avoiding similar issues in the future. Each thematic chapter concludes with strategies and suggestions for making the most of your preparations, recovering from missteps, and coping with calamity. The result is an excellent companion book for field methods courses in a variety of disciplines—and an excellent companion to carry with you into the field”, Amazon.



Challenges for Anthropology in the African Renaissance edited by Dr. Debie LeBeau and Prof. Rob GordonChallenges for Anthropology in the African Renaissance
"This collection of papers is significant for anthropology in southern Africa and indeed, the continent as a whole. [At last we have some manifestation] of the considerable anthropological energy which is generated at such conferences - and an indication of the nature and import of the deliberations. ... Those who contributed include a cross-section of both postgraduate students and more established anthropologists and they hail from several African countries and from further afield. Contemporary and burning issues facing the region and the continent receive critical attention throughout. This volume will serve both as a bench mark and a pointer for future anthropological enterprise." Michael de Jongh, President, Anthropology Southern Africa.

PhD Research & Dissertation

Traditional divination ceremonyAn African traditional healer treating a baby during Dr. LeBeau's researchDr. Debie LeBeau has a Ph.D. from Rhodes University, South Africa. Dr. LeBeau's Ph.D. dissertation is entitled, "Seeking Health: the Hierarchy of Resort in Utilisation Patterns of Traditional and Western Medicine in Multi-cultural Katutura, Namibia". The work is based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork with African traditional healers and their patients, although quantitative data are also analyzed. Her dissertation examines cultural beliefs and psychological processes that influence traditional health seeking behavior among Namibia's various cultural groups. Given the fact that multi-ethnic urban studies on African traditional medicine are not the norm, and that no one theoretical paradigm can explain all of human social (macro-level) and individual (micro-level) behavior through the juxtaposition of place and time; she has developed a theoretical model which combines both macro-level and micro-level explanations to create a health-seeking model on hierarchies of resort. 

Dr LeBeau's dissertation has been published as:
"Dealing with Disorder: Traditional and Western Medicine in Katutura (Namibia)"
Rüdiger Köppe Verlag Köln, Germany, pp301, ISBN 3-89645-084-4, December 2003.

Read more about Dr. LeBeau's work with traditional healers in Africa

Teaching & Research

Dr. Debie LeBeau doing research with Himba children in NamibiaDr. LeBeau has conducted research and taught in southern Africa (primarily Namibia) for the better part of sixteen years. She is a medical anthropologist by training. Her research focuses on human development issues such as health, gender, human rights, HIV and AIDS. Throughout her 20 year research career, Dr. LeBeau has been involved in over 50 qualitative and/or quantitative field research projects. She has extensive experience in grant proposal writing, as well as designing and implementing socio-cultural research projects. She has taught research methods courses and conducted research in both Africa and America; although Africa is her geographic interest

Dr. Debie LeBeau with one of her master's studentsDr. Debie LeBeau with one of her master's studentsDr. LeBeau taught various development related courses at the University of Namibia (UNAM) in the early 1990s. In 1995 she was a visiting guest lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Zimbabwe. Most recently she taught for eight years in the Department of Sociology at the University of Namibia. Dr. LeBeau's teaching expertise includes: research methods, applied anthropology, HIV/AIDS in global perspective, cross-cultural gender studies, medical sociology/anthropology and cultures of contemporary African society. In addition, she has supervised numerous fourth year students for year-long research projects as well as seven master's students (four in sociology, two in public policy administration and one in political studies). One of her master's students is currently doing a Ph.D. in social anthropology at the University of Manchester, UK.


Dr. Debie LeBeau preparing one of her many books on anthropologyDr. Debie LeBeau speaking at one of her book launchesDr. LeBeau has internationally authored 11 books, two ebooks,  and 11 chapters in books on such diverse development topics as socio-structural factors affecting the progression of HIV in southern Africa and the situation of war veterans in Namibia. She has also co-edited the aforementioned book on anthropology in southern Africa. Dr. LeBeau was the professional editor of four UNFPA publications on socio-cultural factors influencing adolescents' sexual and reproductive health, as well as two University of Namibia environmental impact assessment publications. She has sat on the University of Namibia Press executive committee and is currently on the editorial board for the African Journal of Political and Social Research (AJPSR).

Social Development Research in Namibia

Dr. Debie LeBeau and Dr. Carolyn Nordstrom interviewing informants in northern NamibiaNamibian ex-fighters and their families fifteen years after Independence
This internet book investigates the post-independence situation of those who fought on both sides of the Namibian liberation war. The findings are being used to develop community based, empowerment driven interventions aimed at improving the quality of life for ex-fighters and their families. The research was funded by the Brot fuer die Welt. Data from this research indicate that 15 years after the Namibian war for independence, ex-fighters still exhibit symptoms of long-term psychological distress with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The findings indicate there is a correlation between the life circumstances of ex-fighters and their lack of resilience to traumatic war experiences, with resiliency being linked to a number of protective factors such as the socio-economic situation of the survivors, their socio-political environment, their social support networks and their cognitive processes. It is argued that in the case of Namibian ex-fighters, long term psychological distress is different from a simple PTSD diagnosis because the survivor has almost invariably gone almost two decades without seeking treatment. Moreover, during this time, the ex-fighter has also been exposed to additional social and psychological stressors which, for a person not suffering from long-term psychological distress would only have a fleeting impact, but for a sufferer of long-term psychological distress, each life incident could reduce the survivor's resilience to trauma as well as triggering flashbacks.

Click here to go to the PEACE Centre's site for a full copy of this text

Dr. Debie LeBeau's husband, Grant, takes part in Namibian community building development projectBuilding community philanthropy in Namibia
This two region study utilizes grounded theory to understand community members' roles and perceptions relating to the provision of 'help' at the community level. This was a collaborative effort between the University of Cape Town (South Africa), the GTRP at the University of Namibia and the Institute for Public Policy Research; while funded by the Ford Foundation. This research shows that there are very few instances of random altruistic giving, but philanthropy within the low wealth community environment occurs in a predictable, reciprocal manner. The motivations for help are constant across all research sites: reciprocity is aimed not only at survival, but at personal and business capital formation.

Click here to go to the BCP's site for a full copy of this text

Towards the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour in Namibia by Dr Debie LeBeau with Dawie Bosch, Debbie Budlender, Annalize ForuieEliminating child labor in Namibia 
This was a preliminary study for The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) with Dawie Bosch and Associates. This report found that, as is common around the world, children in Namibia perform chores as part of their contribution to the household. Of concern are situations where household chores interfere with education or are hazardous to the child's well-being. Of greater concern are children whose adult family members are HIV positive and who may eventually need to be cared for by their children, or children whose household tasks have increased due to adult family members being incapacitated by AIDS. Although little data exist on child labor in Namibia, this preliminary study found that commercial farmers and domestic employers may force children to work as part of their parents' terms of employment. Some commercial farms also have charcoal production where a number of children work. In addition, commercial sexual exploitation of children occurs but is rarely reported, while children are sometimes recruited by adults for involvement in illegal activities. Based on the findings of this preliminary study, a more comprehensive research study has been undertaken by the ILO. Dr LeBeau is the technical expert consultant for the subsequent study.

Multi Party Democracy and Elections in Namibia by Dr. Debie LeBeau and Edith DimaMulti-party democracy in Namibia
This research was undertaken for the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA) on issues relating to the 2004 local, regional and national elections in Namibia. This publication reports that Namibia is still a country with political and ethnic divisions, as well as a general lack of understanding and acceptance of democracy. These factors could be a potential obstacle to democratic consolidation. However, there are also positive attributes for the consolidation of democracy such as Namibia's high literacy rates, high levels of trust in elected representatives and a strong belief that the democratic process is responsive to the needs of the people. To continue to consolidate democracy, Namibia will have to face voter apathy, rising rates of tolerance for other forms of government and plummeting voter confidence in the very officials they have elected. This report concludes that one of the best ways to consolidate democracy is through civic and voter education, which should be an ongoing process that reinforces citizens as well as politicians demand for democracy. In addition, there are certain groups that are either marginalized from the democratic process or on the brink of marginalization. These groups require special attention to ensure that all Namibians participate equally in the democratic process.

Click here to go to the EISA's site for a full copy of this text

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Contact Dr. Debie LeBeau
For further information and copies of publications contact:

By Phone or email:                                By Surface Mail:
                                                                         Debie LeBeau
PHONE: +1-915-258-3714                                     Silver Fern Ranch
EMAIL: lebeau@developmentafrica.com                   55013-B 62/180 HWY
                          or                                                   El Paso, Tx 79938
           dr_lebeau@yahoo.com (dr_lebeau)

This page last updated Januarry 30, 2015
© D LeBeau 2015