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MOTC Gives Over D400,000 To Organisers of Community Festivals

By Yunus S Saliu

As part of its annual support to the community festivals across the country, the Ministry of Tourism and Culture (MOTC), on Thursday, 21st December 2023 disbursed D410,000.00 to twenty-three festival organisers from different communities for the preparation for their festivals.

The money shared with these festival organisers is a contribution from the Ministry supporting them in the various festivals they are organising in the coming weeks.

This year’s disbursement has increased amount from D350,000 to D410,000.00 and it is the fourth time the Ministry of Tourism and Culture is doing this since the coming into power of this present regime led by His Excellency Adama Barrow.

Handing over cheques to different festival organisers during an event held at the MOTC’s office in Quadrangle, Banjul, Honourable Hamat NK Bah, Minister of Tourism and Culture said the disbursement is an indication of the deep interest that His Excellency’s government has supported the sector of culture, especially the festivals.

“In 2018, we disbursed D200,000, in 2019 D300,000, in 2021 it was D350,000 and now it is D410,000.00. This progress should be seen in the light of our earnest desire to support your festivals as vehicles of cultural revival,” Minister Bah stated.

Meanwhile, he said they have foreseen that very shortly, some of the festivals which are regular and have great potential can be moved into the National Calendar of Festivals to become good tourism products, and “the efforts of my Ministry in promoting eco rural-based tourism will fit into this very well,” he noted.

Minister Bah disclosed to them that aside from the cash support, the Gambia Tourism Board will in due time disburse money to the NCAC for the first-ever technical workshop for festival organisers which over 100 people will participate in a capacity-building workshop.

The aim of this technical training workshop, the Minister stated, is to allow participants to improve their fundraising, programming, and research and be more authentic and attractive.

“Festivals are under the 2003 UNESCO Convention domain number 3 and they serve as not only avenues to exhibit culture but also contribute to showcasing cultural diversity for peaceful coexistence,” The Minister explained.

Given good news, the Minister disclosed that The Gambia through the NCAC has recently successfully submitted its 2003 UNESCO Convention Period Report for the first time since ratifying the Convention with a 97 percent success rate.

In addition to that “Last month, I was in Paris to submit two UNESCO Conventions that The Gambia has ratified. All of these go to show The Gambia’s commitment to the culture sector,” he added.

Therefore, “The token you received will go a long way in complimenting your efforts in safeguarding the Gambia’s Intangible Cultural Heritage in line with the objectives of the National Development Plan (UNDP).”

However, Minister Hamat NK Bah used the occasion to invite all and sundry to the Bicentenary commemoration of McCarthy Island to take place on the 4th to 7th of January 2024.

Ebrima Jawo, the Executive Coordinator of the City of Banjul, on behalf of the recipients, thanked the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and its satellite institutions for this support to the community festival organisers across the across.

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Yunus S Saliu

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