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Hon Hamat Bah Vows To Engage Cabinet And NA To Get funds For NEF

By Yunus S Saliu

The Honorable Minister for Tourism and Culture has pledged to see the Gambian artists supported for economic upliftment and production of works that will reflect Gambian values and norms.

Minister Hamat NK Bah made this pledge at the recent closing ceremony of the UNESCO Aschberg project titled Improving The Status and Condition of Female Artists held at the National Museum, Banjul.

In his assurance words after signing the Regulation to operationalize the National Endowment Fund (NEF) for Arts and Culture to enhance the funding of artistic and cultural programs for the betterment of the economic and social status of artists, he said “the Regulation will be gazette and I will go to Cabinet and engage the National Assembly to get the funds needed to support the Fund.”

Minister Bah, therefore, stood tall in his sincere belief that “Gambian artists can do it better than artists in other countries when they get the needed funding support.

In his commitment to the realization of the artists’ dreams, the Minister also launched the 35 pages report on the Status of Women Artists and Cultural Professionals in The Gambia.

“This is the digest of the first countrywide study of its kind which interviewed 500 female artists throughout the country in late 2022. The study looked at the education and training, level of internet use, income levels, and employment status of the respondents. This important study will garner our utmost scrutiny so that we can outline correct strategies to support our female artists in line with the government’s desire to support women in all sectors,” he gave the synopsis of the final report.

The UNESCO Aschberg project – Improving The Status and Condition of Female Artists was fully funded by UNESCO at the sum of $30,000 and it is within the framework of the 2021 Call For Projects which the National Centre for Arts and Culture submitted and was selected by the Evaluation Committee in May 2022.

“Out of the dozens of countries that applied, The Gambia became three that were selected from Africa, this was described as a great source of pride to us all,” the Tourism and Culture Minister expressed delight over this.

Meanwhile, the project had several components which were met during the project and it includes the design of a Regulation from the existing NCAC Act, 2007 to operationalize the National Endowment Fund for Arts and Culture to enhance the funding of artistic and cultural programs for the betterment of the economic and social status of artists; improve the situation of female artists and cultural professionals in The Gambia through data collection on women artists and cultural professionals to guide further policymaking at improving their status; capacity building of 100 female artists and cultural professionals in the cultural and creative industries to improve their status and professionalization.

To realize this, the NCAC worked with partners and the Ministry and has successfully implemented all these activities as required.

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