By Yunus S Saliu
The National Center for Arts and Culture, in collaboration with UNESCO and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, launched a week-long capacity-building workshop on Monday for government officials, technical actors and future Gambian trainers on the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH).
The week-long workshop from Monday July 18 to July 22, 2022 is currently being held at Baobab Hotel in Bijilo and brought together various relevant stakeholders from different ministries and institutions.
The theme for the participating government officials is Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH): importance and contribution to sustainable development, cultural diversity, while presenters and moderators included Adele Nibona, Regional Advisor for Culture, UNESCO Dakar; Emily Drani ICH facilitator; Hassoum Ceesay Director General NCAC; Gankhanani Moffat Moyo, ICH Support Facilitator; Sana Jarju Research Officer NCAC and others for the first day of the workshop.
Addressing the participants on behalf of the Minister of Tourism and Culture, Mamadi Dampha, Deputy Permanent Secretary at the MoTC welcomed the participants, in particular, “the good friends of UNESCO who had made the trip to the Smiling from Africa from Dakar and also the Intangible cultural heritage experts and facilitators who had come from Uganda and Zambia to be with us. »
Elaborating on ICH for Sustainable Development, DPS Dampha reminded the assembly that at the end of 2021, UNESCO had allocated $50,000 to the NCAC for the implementation of the two-year UNESCO-funded project. UNESCO within the framework of its 2003 Convention entitled “Strengthening national capacities for the safeguarding of intangible assets”. Cultural heritage for sustainable development in The Gambia.
He noted that the project aims to support The Gambia in its efforts to safeguard its living heritage, within the framework of the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
“The Gambia is a signatory to this convention and already since 2008 the Gambia and Senegal have inscribed the Kankurang Manding Initiatory Rite on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”, he revealed.
In partnership with the MoTC’s NCAC, he said that “UNESCO will provide technical support over the next two years and develop a capacity-building program based on the needs identified, in collaboration with partners, during an assessment needs realized in The Gambia”.
Meanwhile, he explained that the project will provide an opportunity to promote better visibility of ICH, awareness of its importance and function in society, and raise awareness among communities and the public about safeguarding heritage. living. While “the activities will be organized in close collaboration with the national institutions responsible for the safeguarding of ICH and will guarantee the involvement of local community organizations and the balanced participation of women, men and young people throughout the process”, a- he added.
He therefore ensured the preparation and execution of the project by the NCAC while describing several milestone projects that his ministry and the NCAC have carried out in the culture sector, noting that the next two years will be another busy period for all. , especially members of the NCAC. technical team, the technical actors participating in the project and the future ICH trainers who will be selected at the end of the training.
DPS Dampha, on behalf of the Minister of Tourism and Culture, Honorable Hamat NK Bah, commended the UNESCO Culture team in Dakar for their support while assuring them of the moral and financial support of the MoTC to the NCAC “so that the government’s heritage creation program applicable to national development issues such as tourism promotion, environmental protection and many others will be fully met.
Speaking virtually, Habibata Thienta, Head of Education at UNESCO Paris, said UNESCO, through its regional office in Dakar, is supporting Gambia’s role in safeguarding the PCI.
The activity launched, she noted, is part of the first systematic report to safeguard ICH “having all regions of the country through your project which is the first of its kind in The Gambia.”
She revealed that since the ratification of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2011 to a recent pilot activity conducted by NCAC and UNESCO with communities in LRR, Kiang West National Park , of the Baolong Wetland Reserve Area to inventory some of the intangible cultural heritage is related to the environmental projection.
Ms. Thienta revealed that the first national project on ICH in The Gambia has two main objectives, firstly to build national capacity to better identify the value of safeguarding ICH, and secondly to sensitize party opinion in The Gambia to make Gambians proud of their heritage.
Thus, “the training we are introducing which will run from today to Friday was aimed at addressing both objectives”, and “we are fortunate to have representatives from Gambian ministries and other institutions (to which) we are linked in one way or another intangible cultural heritage, education, environment, gender, children and social well-being among”.
She therefore noted that all these institutions could contribute to placing The Gambia’s living heritages at the heart of national policy since living heritage represents the spirit of the country and has “so much to teach us about our traditions, our identities and our sustainability”. “. ways of life which today are slowly being lost.
To this intention, to learn more about ICH and how to safeguard it, she urged everyone not to forget a cross-cutting culture for sustainable development, which, according to her, can contribute to a well-being and perfect health through the use of traditional medicinal products and can also contribute to social cohesion and to combat climate change and reduce disaster risk.
On behalf of the Director of the UNESCO Office in Dakar, NCAC under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, she thanked them for the great collaboration while thanking and congratulating the participants for this project through the next two years.
Hon. Fafa E Mbai, Esq, Chairman of the NCAC Board on behalf of the NCAC Board, welcomed participants to the week-long workshop, while acknowledging the consultant’s indelible support of the project.
The President expressed his certainty that all the participants will all be enriched in knowledge about ICH from another point of view through the exchange of ideas, experiences and aspirations while thanking the NCAC for the excruciating preparation in ensuring that the workshop is a great success.