Birmingham City University (UK) has donated more than 350 books to a new research institute in The Gambia which is hoping to advance education and academic research in the African country.
The Institute for Academic Research is situated in the urban centre of Serekunda and has been set up by Birmingham City University postgraduate student and Visiting Lecturer Lamin Daffeh to support students and academics at the University of The Gambia.
The contribution from Birmingham City University’s School of Law will provide law students, bar students, lawyers and legal researchers in The Gambia with invaluable knowledge to help further their careers and academic output.
Elsewhere, the Institute holds academic books in the fields of agriculture, economics and medicine, for example, as well as materials relating to English language skills, research methods and statistical analysis. The Institute hopes to grow this collection through further acquisitions and donations going forward.
Created by the Alliance For International Development, Education and Research (AIDER), the Institute opened on 6 October 2017 and is the first independent research institute established in The Gambia.
Lamin Daffeh, a PhD candidate and Visiting Lecturer in International Business and Human Rights Law, Birmingham City University, said:
“This generous gift from my alma mater will make significant contributions towards education and research practice in The Gambia, and we are all truly grateful of this considerable gesture.
“Whether someone is a student wanting to pass their exam, write an excellent essay, conduct substantial research or just simply wants to be ahead of the game within their area of expertise, the Institute for Academic Research will play a significant role in supporting learners, researchers and other professionals in The Gambia to access substantial and current academic resources, computers and a reliable internet service for academic research purposes.
“The Institute encourages students and professionals to undertake extensive research in their areas of interest, to broaden their knowledge and understanding of their chosen subjects.”
Lamin graduated from Birmingham with a master’s degree in International Human Rights Law in 2014 and is now studying for his PhD at the institution, with his research addressing the cultural and political barriers preventing people in Ghana from accessing education.
Jon Yorke, Professor of Human Rights and Director of the Centre for Human Rights, School of Law, Birmingham City University, said:
“When we heard that Lamin was planning to open the Institute of Academic Research we wanted to help in whatever way we could and I immediately offered our surplus collection of legal literature. We hope this donation marks the start of a fruitful academic partnership with The Gambia.
“Lamin’s charity work outside academia is truly outstanding and it is very admirable that one of our fellow colleagues and students is having such a positive impact on the right to education in The Gambia.”
Born and raised in Kwinella in The Gambia, Lamin himself had to walk 10 miles a day for school. Recognising the importance of education from a young age, he moved to Worcester in 1999 where he studied towards a BSc in Crime and Criminolgy.
As a result of a trip to The Gambia in 2006 with his wife, Rebecca, Lamin set up the Fresh Start Foundation (FSF), which works to alleviate poverty and make access to education achievable to vulnerable children and young people in his native country.
Initially supporting one school in The Gambia, following an iconic appearance by Lamin on Channel 4’s ‘Deal or No Deal’ to raise awareness of the Foundation, the charity has gone on to support thousands of school children in The Gambia across 11 schools. With his charity a success, Lamin is now turning his attention to higher education and lifelong learning with the Institute for Academic Research.
The Institute for Academic Research is situated near the Brusubi “Turn Table” Tranquil, in The Gambia.
Future cooperative plans with Birmingham City University include potential student exchanges and co-taught postgraduate and professional development courses.