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Book entitled The Gambia Saga launched 

Sep 29, 2021, 10:32 AM | Article By: Yunus S. Saliu

After his 55 years work experience in Africa as a teacher, educational administrator, development worker and executive director of an NGO, Burris Devanney has again written a book entitled: The Gambia Saga – The Epic Tale of a Unique Canadian NGO and a Fearless Little Country in Africa.

” The book launched by the Nova Scotia Gambia Association (NSGA) for the use of the general public.

The Gambia Saga – The Epic Tale of a Unique Canadian NGO and a Fearless Little Country in Africa was published by New World Publishing (Canada) and it is 402 pages divided into three parts – part 1: An improbable Little Country in Africa: 1982-84 with 25 topics; part 2: A Unique NGO: 1985-2006 with 56 topics and part 3: The Joyless Interregnum: 2007 with 5 topics while other pages contain epilogue: 2008-19; postscript: family Ties; Endnotes; acknowledgements among others.

The book is a catalogue of history and the author’s Gambia experience and it was launched online by the Nova Scotia Gambia Association (NSGA) via virtual Zoom on Sunday at Baobab Holiday Inn, Senegambia.

Giving a short review of the book, Hassoum Ceesay, chairman of Board of Directors of the NSGA, said the author is the founder of Nova Scotia Gambia Association (NSGA).

He noted that the author, Burris Devanney was able to kill many birds with one stone by bringing out many important events in the book while the story of NSGA comes into a sharp focus from the embryonic stage of the association, “how he used to share hard works, dedications and supports. The association became bigger and bigger until it becomes a transnational association dedicated to peer-health education; youth development; women empowerment; environmental sustainability.”

Another aspect, he said, which the book addresses very well is contemporary Gambian history. “When Burris first arrived in The Gambia in autumn of 1981 then The Gambia government under His Excellency Alhaji Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara first president of the country, had made contact with the Canadian government in sort of upgrading the Banjul Technical Training Centre at Half Die into an institute to be called the Gambia Technical Training Institute (GTTI). So, because it was Canadian money and they wanted a Canadian man to lead the project that was how Burris came to The Gambia in 1981 - The opening chapter of the book describes his (the author’s) journey to the country.

The book, penned how GTTI started and the very good foresight that surrounded the whole GTTI project until today transformed to a university, the first Technical University of The Gambia.

In the book are “other contemporary issues like the 1994 coup; the study of the university education in The Gambia that also comes out clearly in the book. “Not only students, but everyone should read this book to know many things, which include NSGA started university education in the country through the university extension programme.”

He concluded that Burris Devanney is a good friend of The Gambia who has a very firm belief in the power of this country to grow, develop and accomplish, “I am happy, in the title of the book he called us a fearless little country in Africa, full of praise for the country.”

The launcher, Omar Badjie, executive director of ActionAid International – The Gambia, also member of the BoDs NSGA commended the author for a job well done. He tagged the work done as “a lesson for all as he’s able to document them into a book. So it is now left to us as Gambians to get the book and read.”

Mr. Badjie therefore appealed to all Gambians to encourage their children to go to school and let them not stop at the secondary school level assuring that “The opportunity is there and the doors are open. So let’s move on to higher education and this is the only way we can progress as a country.” 

Abdul A. Kanteh, executive director of NSGA chaired the event while Bertha Johnson, board member for NSGA who is also a lecturer at the University of The Gambia both made remarks at the occasion.

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