The research trip undertaken by the University of The Gambia Economic and Management Students' Association (ECOMANSA) to Mauritania was a resounding success, the students said.
"The ECOMANSA trip to Mauritania 2017 was the most successful trip ever organised by ECOMANSA and the university at large," ECOMANSA executive said in a report of the trip sent to this paper.
In the report, the executive said the journey to and from Mauritania was hitch-free and the "reception by the Mauritanians was just amazing" and the research was conducted smoothly.
Below is the verbatim report of ECOMANSA's trip to Mauritania in August 2017.
THE REPORT OF ECOMANSA RESEARCH TRIP TO THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF MAURITANIA AUGUST 2017
On 19 August 2017, exactly at 22:00 hours, 79 students majority of whom are from the School of Business and Public Administration of the University of The Gambia left the shore of the Republic of The Gambia for the Islamic Republic of Mauritania for a research on the theme "The Role of Aquaculture in Sustainable Development".
According to the Economic and Management Students' Association's (ECOMANSA) constitution, Article 11.1.1 the association shall embark on Academic and Social Research. Therefore, the 14th Executives of ECOMANSA led by His Excellency Sheikh Hydara chose the Islamic Republic of Mauritania for this year's research trip. The research is meant to seek for data that will seek to help contribute to nation building by advising policy makers in the fishing sector of The Gambia.
The research looks at the systematic methods of management that the Mauritania government uses to manage their fishing sector, especially the Aqua cultural sector. The Mauritania society mainly depends on meat as their source of protein. Apart from that the research also seeks to check the contribution level of the fishing sector to the Mauritanian Economy.
The trip which composed of the different students' from the Schools of Business and Public Administration, Journalism, Engineering, Medicine, ICT, Education, Arts and Science, and a student representative of the American International University were among the delegates that travelled to Mauritania for the research. The trip was in two folds, the actual research and an excursion to discover new places. Prior to our departure the Hon. Minister of Youth and Sports Henry Gomez and his wife came to the Gambia Ports Ferry Terminal to address the delegates. In his own words "you guys are my responsibility and I want you guys to know that you are traveling to a foreign land and you are expected to be good ambassadors of The Gambia". He continued to state that we are the future of the country and our mission is important because no country can grow without research and his office is always open to us should we need any help. He stayed with us until we boarded the ferry to Barra.
The delegates arrived in the capital city of Mauritania, Nouakchott at exactly 02:15am of the morning of Monday the 21th of August, 2017. Then the delegates were lodged at a hotel called Sahari Residence at the heart of the capital called Tavra Zeina. The student's expectations were met regarding the accommodation and the necessary facilities for their comfort.
The reception by the Mauritanians was just amazing, as we were received at the entrance of the city by an escort to our hotel, then we served a delicious dinner. The next morning, the 22th of August, the delegates received a journalist from the Mauritanian Nation TV Station. In his words he said "I was personally contacted by the president of The Mauritanian Community in The Gambia to personally welcome you guys formally to your second home and please you guys should feel at home". He continued to state that our visit was timely as it shows and strengthens the diplomatic ties between our two nations and he shall be at our disposal to help us with any contact we may need for the success of our research and our stay in the country.
On the 23th August 2017, the president and vice president in the persons of Sheikh Hydara and Lalo Bayo were invited for an interview with the Mauritanian National Television and Sahel TV. The interviews were based on our reasons of choosing Mauritania for our research and what are the benefits of the research. The presenter in her owns words said that we are welcome to her country and we should be at home. She said it is a right step in the right direction in trying to strengthen the ties between our two nations. The interview was a success as every citizen of Mauritania watched it even the president of the republic.
Thursday 24th August, a five-man committee when to the Mauritanian Ministry of Fisheries to collect secondary data on Aquaculture through a process called Focus Group Discussion (FGD). Committee was headed by the research minister Mr. Momodou Barry, Mr. Jesse J. Dacosta, Mr. Sheikh Hydara, Mr. Kutubo Jarju and Mr. Ebrima Jaw. We met the director in charging of fishing, who came to our aid and gave us all the information we needed. The questionnaires we had were also filled and returned. Visual data was also give and the team was assured of the director's support at anytime.
THE DESERT TRIP
On the 24th August, the delegates were taken the desert to witness and experience the beauty of the sand dooms and see for themselves firsthand what people who live in desert experience and as well our brothers who travel to Europe using the desert. The students described it as an experience of a life time. Students took a lot of photos and then we got back to the hotel and rested for the day.
Later in the day, the delegates were taken out again to visit and explore the beauty and the architectural exposition of Mauritanian of the city and the Nouakchott University which was located outside the capital. Students were amazed at the size and quality of the structures, the facilities of each department of the university. The university was built by the Chinese government.
THE MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING
On Friday the 25th of August 2017, the Student Union president of The University of Nouakchott Mr. Elghowth Begali invited the delegates to a meeting at the Atlantic Hotel in the capital. The MOU was centered on trying to establish a bilateral agreement between the two universities. The MOU will entail when sign by the two universities exchange programs, where graduates of both universities will travel and work in the both universities whiles pursuing their Masters. The two universities will organize international educational conferences on students' affairs and activities. The meeting was attended by both executives of ECOMANSA and Student Union of Nouakchott with our own administrative staff in the persons of Mr. Remi Colley and Mr. Lamin F. Bayo.
The meet was a success and the final process and the signing shall be done by the main student union of the University of The Gambia.
Our final activity of the trip was a visit to the biggest market in the capital which is found in the capital. Each student went to buy things for themselves and family back home. Delegates we escorted by the president and he made sure they got all they needed and they were all transport back to the hotel. Among things bought were cloths, bags and others wears of both male and female.
The ECOMANSA trip to Mauritania 2017 was describe by students as the most successful trip ever organized by ECOMANSA and the university at large because all necessary logistics were in place before we left. The accommodation was of high standards with Wi-Fi for students to use during their stay in the hotel. Feeding was never a problem as each delegate was catered for. They had three square meals a day with enough refreshments on a daily bases. None was reported sick till we came back and we had no problems or been stranded along the journey.
The trip would not been a reality without the following institutions who gave their support to our venture.
1. The Mauritanian community in The Gambia.
2. The Office of the Vice Chancellor of The University of The Gambia.
3. Guaranty Trust Bank Gambia limited.
4. Gamtel and Gamcel
5. Gambia Printing and Publishing Cooperation.
6. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, international Cooperations and Gambian Abroad
We want to say thank for your support and we are most grateful for what you guys have done. We are indebted to you and we shall do our best in fulfilling all we promised regarding this research trip. A special thank you to the president of the Republic His Excellency Adama Barrow for allowing us to represent our country in the quest for knowledge.