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Education for a sustainable future in Gambia

The University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer is expanding its initiatives in sustainability and social responsibility on an international level. Since 2019, the university has been active in a project in Gambia (West Africa).

Gambia is ranked by the UN as one of the 20 poorest countries in the world. The proportion of children and young people under 14 years of age is 45%. Unemployment, especially youth unemployment, is high, which means that many young men make the long and dangerous trip to reach Europe.  For a while, Gambia provided the third largest contingent of refugees to Germany from Africa.

The project

The university, together with two support associations and in cooperation with  Cirksena Grundschule (primary school) in Emden, the university wants to help young people in Gambia to build a future worth living for themselves. The aim is to support education from primary school (the Sukuta Lower Basic School), Sukuta Upper Basic School and the Sukuta Senior Secondary School (SUSSS), to further technical education.


The contribution by the University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer

The University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer would like to help with teams of students and with partners to provide the schools with computers and PV systems. The local electricity supply is unreliable and too expensive for the schools. 

The project is offered as part of the student projects, but can also be used for the sustainability certificate that accompanies the course. Interested students can contact the sustainability office (Anna Gerritzen ) or Prof. Schlaak.

In the first phase of the project, a group of students developed the concept for a PV system at the SULB. A team from this group flew to Sukuta at Easter in 2019 to explore the possibilities for realisation on the ground.

The investments on the ground must be handled by development associations, which also raise the corresponding funds.

The project at Sukuta Lower Basic School (SLBS)

The SLBS has had good contact with the Cirksena Grundschule in Emden for a long time. As part of the project, the antiquated and energy-guzzling computers will be replaced with small, efficient computers, and a PV system will be installed to power these computers. The appropriate IT installation for the communication of the pupils at the SLBS and Cirksena Grundschule is being developed as a sample installation as part of a student project via the university institute IproL. You can find a video report from Tv channel Sat.1 here.

The realisation on site is supported by funding association NEOW (Nachhaltige Entwicklung in Ostfriesland und der Welt), (in English, sustainable development in East Frisia and the world), which collects donations for this goal.

The project at Sukuta Upper Basic and Senior Secondary School (SUSSS)

The Freundeskreis Sukuta-Moormerland e.V. has been supporting the SUSSS since 1988 by building classrooms and specialist rooms, and administration and the assembly hall, among other things. The association is currently financing the construction of a library building. In another project, the library is to be equipped with computers that will be available for both library administration staff and students. This is to be powered via a photovoltaic system.


Impressions of the university team’s visit to Gambia