Mr. Kurang at SOAS University in London

Abdoulie Kurang, a native of Kudang in Central River Region and young academician, has become the first Gambian to receive the prestigious Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s (MIF) Governance for Development in Africa PhD scholarship at SOAS University of London.

The program is a merit-based scholarship open to African nationals to pursue doctoral studies at the said university. Specifically, the Foundation awards scholarships to students with outstanding academic achievements, and research proposal pertaining to governance and development in Africa.

After a very competitive process, Abdoulie Kurang, who until awarded the scholarship, lectures development studies at the University of The Gambia, emerged as one of the 2021 winners of this prestigious scholarship program.

In the same period, he was also awarded the Commonwealth PhD scholarship. Kurang however opted for the MIF scholarship, given his interest in the foundation’s interventions in Africa-related governance and development issues.

Reacting to the news, the Kudang-born academician told The Alkamba Times from London: “It’s a very uplifting feeling, given that I never dreamt of being able to attain university education in the first place. Considering my personal background and being the first-generation university student in my family, winning such a prestigious opportunity means a lot to me.

Elated to begin my PhD program in Development Studies at SOAS University of London. I am honored to be among the two recipients of the 2021 Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s Governance for Development in Africa PhD scholarship at SOAS. Joining SOAS has been a longstanding dream given its multi-cultural environment and diverse resources in Southern and (de)coloniality studies. This clearly meets my ambition!”.

Abdoulie grew up in Konjo, a small village near Farafenni. His father, Lamin Kurang originated from Kudang Village. Abdoulie underwent primary school in Challa village (nearby Konjo), and junior and high schools at Farafenni. Immediately after completing high school in 2010, he moved to the Kombos to pursue undergraduate studies at the University of The Gambia. Upon completion of this program in 2014, he won the Collegio Carlo Alberto scholarship program to pursue Master in Public Policy and Social Change in Italy. After the completion of this program in 2015, he returned to The Gambia and served as a lecturer in Development Studies at the University of The Gambia. In 2019, he was awarded the Chevening FCO scholarship to pursue a second Master’s degree in Social Development at the University of Sussex. Upon completion of this program in 2020, he took up a one-year contract as Head of Solutions Mapping with the United Nations Development Programme in The Gambia.

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Mr. Sainey M.K. Marenah is a Prominent Gambian journalist, founding editor The Alkamba Times and formerly head of communications at the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) and Communications and PR Consultant for The Gambia Pilot Program, under Gamworks. Mr. Marenah served as the Social media Strategist and Editor at Gambia Radio and Television Services. He is also the Banjul Correspondent for Voice of America Radio. Sainey is a human rights and developmental journalist who has carved a strong niche particularly in new media environments in the Gambian media industry. Mr. Marenah began his career as a junior reporter with the Point Newspaper in the Gambia in 2008 and rose through the ranks to become Chief correspondent before moving to The Standard Newspaper also in Banjul as Editorial Assistant and head of News. He is a household name in the Gambia’s media industry having covered some of the most important stories in the former and current government. These include the high profile treason cases including the Trial of Former military chiefs in Banjul in 2009 to 2012. Following his arrest and imprisonment by the former regime of President, Yahya Jammeh in 2014, Marenah moved to Dakar Senegal where he continues to practice Journalism freelancing for various local and international Media organization’s including the BBC, Al-Jazeera, VOA, and ZDF TV in Germany among others. He is the co-Founder of the Banjul Based Media Center for Research and Development; an institution specialized in research and development undertakings. As a journalist and Communication Expert, focused on supporting the Gambia's transitional process, Mr Marenah continues to play a pivotal role in shaping a viable media and communications platform that engages necessary tools and action to increase civic participation and awareness of the needs of transitional governance to strengthen the current move towards democratization. Mr. Marenah has traveled extensively as a professional journalist in both Europe, Africa and United States and attended several local and international media trainings.

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