About Us

About Us

Children see the world through a lens of possibility. Their optimism is contagious. That’s why they are at the core of our programs that deliver positive and healthy messages to communities all across The Gambia

Since 1985, the Nova Scotia-Gambia Association (NSGA) has worked with West Africans and Canadians to build healthy communities in The Gambia. Through education and health promotion initiatives, NSGA staff and volunteers have become a major force in youth and community education in West Africa.

NSGA works to foster youth leadership, develop skills, and encourage citizenship. Its programs feature interactive and multi-media techniques that demonstrate a positive spirit and creative energy

NSGA provides opportunities for youth, students, professionals, and community members to become involved in its projects at home and abroad. Over 700 work and volunteer placements have been created by NSGA since 1985. We invite you to learn more about our programs and to become involved!


Our People

Partner Organizations

Awards & Recognition


The Nova Scotia Gambia Association (NSGA) is a major force in youth education in The Gambia. NSGA projects emphasize the concept of learning through active involvement. It uses drama and theatre, radio and community video shows, and peer education techniques to build healthy communities and to introduce its programs. Program topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Gender equity
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Malaria prevention
  • Ebola prevention and education
  • Landmine sensitization and education
  • Sexual and reproductive health, including voluntary and confidential HIV testing and counselling
  • Environmental education
  • Illuminating the successes of Canadian-African development efforts and combating stereotypes

NSGA began in 1985 as a development education project for a high school involving the founding Executive Director, Burris Devanney, and his personal network of colleagues, friends, and acquaintances. Thirty years later NSGA is well-respected in Canada and West Africa. In addition to its programs in The Gambia, NSGA worked in Sierra Leone between 2002 and August 2010 as the Nova Scotia-Sierra Leone Programme on a wide variety of projects with at-risk communities and youth across the country. Linkages with local schools, universities, service clubs, church organizations, and bästa internet casino community groups in Nova Scotia have expanded over the years. Projects have received financial support from national and international funders, in addition to significant in-kind and fund raising contributions from individual participants. Currently, NSGA supports a busy field office in The Gambia and a head office in Halifax.

Our People

Board of Directors

  • Chair: Caitlin Regan-Cottreau
  • Treasurer: open
  • Secretary: Charlotte Cochran
  • Past Chair: John LeBlanc
  • Halifax West Member: open
  • Members-at-Large: Kathy Lea, David Fielding, Luke MacDonald, Dennis Heller, Ian McAllister

Senior Staff – The Gambia

  • National Program Manager: Abdou Kanteh
  • Senior Project Manager: Francois Mendy
  • Office Manager: Adama Suwareh
  • Head of Media Unit: Baba Jallow

Local Management Committee – The Gambia

  • Mrs. Baturu Camara Ceesay, Ministry of Trade and Regional Integration and Employment
  • Mrs Antoinette Corr Jack, General Secretary, Gambia Teachers Union
  • Mr. Serigne Faye, Director Radio, Gambia Radio and Television Services
  • Mr. Baboucarr Jeng, Secretary General, National Credit Cooperative Union
  • Mrs. Fanta Jatta-Sowe, Women’s Rights Coordinator, Action Aid Internantional The Gambia
  • Representative of Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education
  • Representative of Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare

Partner Organizations

NSGA works closely with grassroots organizations, coalitions, and governments at all levels in Canada and The Gambia to achieve positive development results. These partnerships are crucial to the success of the work of NSGA.

Some of our partners include:

  • Atlantic Council for International Cooperation, Canada
  • Catholic Relief Services
  • Commonwealth of Learning
  • Dalhousie University
  • Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, The Gambia
  • Ministry of Health, The Gambia
  • National AIDS Secretariat, The Gambia
  • National Malaria Control Program, The Gambia
  • Actionaid International The Gambia
  • UN System – The Gambia
  • Gambia Teacher’s Union (GTU)
  • Network Against Gender Based Violence
  • The Association of Non-Governmental Organizations Gambia (TANGO)
  • Medical Research Unit The Gambia (MRC)

Awards & Recognition

The Nova Scotia-Gambia Association has been recognized for its work in The Gambia with several prestigious awards presented to both the Association and to its Founding Director, Burris Devanney.

Halifax Mainland North Volunteer Recognition 2005
To Burris Devanney for his Outstanding Contribution to health and well being

Bill MacWhinney Award of Excellence 2004
Presented to the NSGA by The Hon. Aileen Carroll, Minister of International Cooperation, for an exceptional volunteer project in international development.

Honorary Degree to Burris Devanney 2004
Doctor of Civil Law (honoris causa) was conferred on Burris Devanney for his life time commitment to international development.

Lewis Perinbaum Award 2003
Presented to Burris Devanney in recognition of his contribution to health and education in The Gambia through the Nova Scotia-Gambia Association.

Order of The Gambia 2000
The insignia of Officer in the Order of the Republic of the Gambia was awarded to Burris Devanney in recognition of his foresight in contributing to the development of tertiary education in The Gambia attesting to the continuing positive working relationship between the NSGA and the Government of The Gambia.

Distinguished Community Service Award, Saint Mary’s University 1999
was conferred on Burris Devanney by Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia for his lifetime commitment. Saint Mary’s University Alumni Association recognized Burris Devanney for his professional and voluntary endeavors, in Canada and abroad.

Paul Harris Fellow 1998
The Rotary Foundation and Rotary International conferred the Paul Harris Fellowship on Burris Devanney, “in appreciation of tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relationship among people of the world.”

UNAC Halifax 50th Anniversary Global Citizenship Award 1995
Presented to Burris Devanney for his tireless work to educate Canadians about global issues and to encourage actions that lead to a better world for all.

Nomination for Commonwealth Youth Services Award 1992
The Peer Health Education Project of 1989-90 was nominated by the Government of Canada for the Commonwealth Youth Service Award

Nova Scotia Government Award 1991
The Minister of Education presented a special award to the NSGA in recognition of its “commitment and contribution towards an awareness that all peoples, nations and civilizations, face common challenges and should enjoy equal prospects on the planet we share.”

Award of Excellence, Atlantic Film Festival 1987
“ The Gambia Project”, a 105 minute video documenting NSGA’s second project won this award for the best English language video documentary at the Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax.

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