I have proudly told my supervisor that "i will do my research on a certain institution in the Gambia" more than six months ago. He looked at me said, "very good". He went on to say, he like such researches. It helps create new understandings on how the institutions in Africa are run. Any time he lectured us, he always make reference to my ambition to research a certain company. I will not name the company for certain reasons.
I approach them some months ago for data and my wish to conduct research on them. They give me all the assurance that, they will help in any way possible. We exchange several emails and i even spoke with the Director. He told me, "i will assign some one to help you get the facts you require".
Well, how sad. I did some background reading and checked lots of Internet information's on them. I then knew, it will be fantastic to find out new issues about the organisation. I finally wrote to them to pass me some list of data needed.
To my shock and horror, i got an email two days later saying "we are a private institution, we cannot give you some of the information you want". I said ok, what do they mean? This is a very hostile reply. I wrote to them with my University letter explaining the kind of research i was embarking and assuring them that, every data will be treated with strict confidence. I demanded to know which kind of information they wish to provide and which one they wouldn't from the list.
Well, i never heard from them since. I was shocked. I bypass them and went to regulatory authority for guidance in the Gambia. I wrote to them as well with the University covering letter explaining everything i needed. They never bother to respond either. I still persist. I contact a foreign company holding shares in this institutions. they immediately provided some information and stated that, that is all they have on the institution. Sadly, it is not enough to conduct a 15,000 words dissertation on.
My advice to every single Gambian student doing a postgraduate course not to bank on initial promise by our institutions. I am among a long list of people who have to change their dissertation topics on the Gambia. It is sad that, in this day and age, our managers feel suspicious of researchers. They don't value knowledge creation and new recommendations. There are many reasons why request for information's are refused. I cannot for obvious reason state them. I am now doing my dissertation on one British mega institution, 'as if they need it' but i need my marks.
God help us.