Our journey to the Gambia

Part two of Jimmy's story.

Together with the support of VUB and University of the Gambia, Jimmy, as a PhD student at VUB, organized a special trip to his home country. Together with four Computer Science and Engineering students from the VUB, Jimmy travelled to the Gambia to install computers at the University the Gambia. These computers were provided by Close the Gap.

The students that joined Jimmy on his trip were all doing their Master’s degree in Computer Science. The delegation consisted of: Steven Denys and Alexandre Kahn, both doing their Master of Applied Sciences and Engineering: Computer Science. Steven is specialising in Artificial Intelligence, while Alexandre is in the Software Languages and Software Engineering track. The two other students that joined were Elnur Abdullayev en Eleni Ilkou, who are doing a Master in Applied Sciences and Engineering: Applied Computer Science.

“We were all enthusiastic when we heard about this project Jimmy Hendry Nzally was organising. The possibility to help other students, while being able to taste another culture seemed great.” Alexandre Kahn.

Once they arrived in the Gambia, they directly went to work, meeting the local students who were volunteering during their vacation to help with the project. First they made sure that all the computers and their peripherals were present in the classes. The next step was ensuring the networking of the computers.

The idea was to not only install the computers, but also to provide the necessary tools and know-how to keep them up and running. Once the network was working, two computers were installed with the correct images. One would be a machine specific for ICT students, where they can boot in both Windows and Linux and have all the needed software to develop and program. The other machine would be the one used in the library, this computer will be connected to the e-library software and will be a great tool for students to do research and work on assignments.

Another important thing was to not only install computers, but to make sure the IT staff at the UTG was capable of keeping the machines updated. To achieve this it was important to work together with the IT staff and in the end to teach them how to use the software the VUB students used and wrote.

Being able to provide so many students with the possibility to work on assignments and give them the opportunity to develop themselves had a great impact. Not only for the students of UTG, but also for the four VUB students embarked on this project. The feeling to enter one of the classes and see all the computers being used by students really showed how impactful this project is.” Jimmy Hendry Nzally.


We would like to thank Jimmy for telling us his inspiring story about his impactful trip to the Gambia with four fellow VUB students!