I'm a Canadian Software Engineer who started working at the University of The Gambia (UTG) in September 2008 supporting the Computer Science program that was going into it's fourth year of existence. I was unable to work for a period of time since July 2009 term due to a foot injury and had been working from home freelancing first for an American startup to create a data standardization process using XProc, XSLT, regex for a public American text/html dataset and more recently automating processes for http://www.kode1100.com/
related to the effort to develop a Trade Mark Data Model
I have rejoined the university as of May 16th 2011 as an Instructor and University Technology Student Work Experience Building (UTSWEB)
The UTSWEB program is designed to allow an experienced technical person to work on and involve students in development projects, giving the university 30% of the revenue and lecture 2 courses per term. Due to my continued foot injury I've suspended my monthly salary for instruction and I'm focused soley on contracts and assigning proactive students tasks in self-study and development projects remotely from home.
A program like UTSWEB makes working at the university financially feasible for a foreigner and likely pays for the salary that UTG provides to the technical staff allowing the university to essentially get a resource for free other than than the support, transparency and accountability provided by the Finance Department which is highly valuable. In 2011 Students are involved in creating web applications, a java application and self-study. In 2012 proactive students will be involved in creating software to help organize the UTSWEB program.If you are an experienced software engineer and want help out and to have the experience of a lifetime, please come to UTG, join the UTSWEB program or create your own program and give a helping hand. No doubt the cultural experience you gain will be with you for a life time.
If you want to take a month or more out of your busy life relax in the slower Gambian pace and on beaches and visit West Africa while teaching a course to help out you would be highly welcome.
Supporting the education of Software Engineers in Gambia will go a long way towards supporting most every other Gambian industry and help reduce the need for foreign software solutions which are expensive to purchase and even more expensive to maintain to the point that companies and institutions cannot afford to fly someone into the country to fix bugs or give support. A local solution is best and the UTG Computer Science program is the best program in the Gambia to impart the required skills and has the best quality students of any technical program in the Gambia.
I resigned my position April 2012 to focus all my energy on healing a partial ligament tear in an ankle that I've found hard to fix. I decided it was time to end any responsibilities to focus on rest. Thus far it's proved helpful to do so. I return to Canada to see where life takes me. I'm so happy to have experienced Gambia, helped a few at the university, learned a tonne and made some music with the griots http://bafila.bandcamp.com/