Nancy Gakahu


I am a commonwealth scholar and a PhD fellow at the school of Media and Communication, University of Leeds, UK where I double up as a Teaching Assistant (TA) in Communication Research Methods. The focus of my doctoral study is on the potentiality and impact of digital technologies in facilitating political engagement. Specifically, my doctoral study explores the use of social media for political representation by women political leaders in Kenya. 

My research interests include,

  1. The place of social media in political conversations and behaviour
  2. Media, gender and politics in the democratic processes of hybrid/transitional democracies.   

In Autumn 2022, I was IAMCR's presenter and convener of the first ever international presidential PhD research webinar where I hosted conference presentations that were geared towards my proposed topic - "Communication, Citizenship and Representative Democray: Theoretical and Practical Approaches". In January 2023, I was a reviewer of  IAMCR's 2nd International presidential PhD webinar on Media Literacy: A Critical Pedagogy in Difficult Times of war, Pandemic and Beyond, convened by Dr Priyanka Sachdeva and Atashi Bhattacharya 

My research manuscript, Image-Centrism in Political Communication: An Analysis of Self-Framing Practices by Women Political Candidates in Social Media During Kenya's National Campaigns of 2022 has been considered for publication by the Journal of Information, Communcation and Society

Besides being a beneficiary of the Commonwealth Scholarship (2020), I was also awarded the Newcastle University Overseas Research Scholarship (NUORS, 2020), which I forfeited in favour of the Commonwealth Scholarship. I am a member of several professional and academic bodies which include:

  • The International Communication Association (ICA)
  • The International Association of Media and Communication Research (IAMCR)
  • The Forum for African Women Educationalists – Kenya Chapter (FAWE-KE)
  • The Academic Council of the United Nations System (ACUNS)
  • The European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA)
  • The Communication and Media Studies Research Network

Research interests

Publications and research

  • Gakahu, N. 2017. “Lyrics of Protest: Music and Political Communication in Kenya.” In Onyebadi, U (Ed). Music as a Platform for Political Communication. Hershey, P.A.: IGI Global, Pp 257–273. ISSBN 1522519866
  • Gakahu, N. 2010. “The Role of Broadcast Media in Behaviour Change and HIV/AIDS Communication to the Youth: A Focus on Kenya’s Music Industry”. In Journal of Media and Communication Studies, Vol 2(7), pp 154–158.August 2010. ISSN 2141-2545@2010 Academic Journals.  
  • Gakahu, N. and Lusike, L.M. (2007) “Women’s Pages” in Kenya’s Mainstream Newspapers: Implications on the Country’s Development. In Gender and Development”, an Oxfam Journal, Vol. 15 No. 3, Pp 423–435. Great Britain: Taylor and Francis. (Also available online)
  • Gakahu, N.W. (2006). “The Hidden Curriculum: The Psychological Chain for Disempowering Female Students in Kenyan Universities” in The Role of Universities in the Attainment of Millennium Development Goals.  Chapter 12, Pp.108 –113. Nairobi: Kenyatta University

Orcid id: 0000-0003-0702-6337.


  • PhD - Media and Communication (ongoing)
  • MPhil - Communication Studies
  • PGD - Strategic Communication and Public Relations
  • B/ED - English and Literature