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NCAC holds Intangible Cultural Heritage Workshop

The National Centre for Arts and Culture in collaboration with UNESCO and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, in July 2022 held a weeklong capacity-building workshop for government officials, technical stakeholders, and future Gambian trainers on the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Culture Heritage (ICH).

National Centre for Arts and Culture in collaboration holds weeklong capacity-building workshop for government officials

The workshop brought together various relevant stakeholders from different ministries and institutions.
Addressing the participants on behalf of Minister of Tourism and Culture, Mamadi Dampha, Deputy Permanent Secretary at the MoTC welcomed the participants, in particular, ‘good friends from the UNESCO who had made the journey to the Smiling Coast of Africa from Dakar and also the Intangible Cultural Heritage experts and facilitators who had traveled from Uganda and Zambia to be with us.”
In his speech, DPS Dampha said in late 2021, UNESCO earmarked $50,000 towards the NCAC for the implementation of the two-year-long project funded by UNESCO under its 2003 Convention titled ‘Strengthening National Capacities for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage for Sustainable Development in The Gambia.

It is a project aims at supporting the Gambia in its efforts to safeguard its living heritage, under the UNESCO 2003 Convention for the safeguarding of the 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 into the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity,” he disclosed.

In partnership with the NCAC of MoTC, he said “UNESCO will be in the coming two years provide technical support and develop a capacity building program based on the needs identified, in collaboration with partners, during a Needs Assessment carried out in The Gambia.”

He, therefore, assured of NCAC’s readiness and fulfillment on the project while he outlined several milestones project which his Ministry and NCAC have fulfilled in the culture sector, noting that the next two years will be another busy period for all especially the members of the NCAC technical team, technical stakeholders participating in the project and the future ICH trainers who will be selected from the training.
Speaking through virtual, Habibata Thienta, UNESCO Paris Education Officer said the UNESCO through its regional office in Dakar is been accompanying the role in The Gambia to safeguard ICH. The activity, she noted, is part of the first systematic report to safeguard ICH “having all the country’s regions through your project which is first of its kind in The Gambia.”

She disclosed that from the ratification of the UNESCO Convention for the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage in 2011 to a recent pilot activity done by NCAC and UNESCO together with the communities in LRR, Kiang West National Park, Baolong Wetland Reserves Area to inventory some of the intangible cultural heritage links to environmental projection.

Madam Thienta disclosed that the first national ICH project in The Gambia is two main goals, first to reinforce national capacity to better identify value in safeguarding ICH, and second to raise awareness among the party opinion in the Gambia to make Gambians proud of their heritages.

So, “the training we are introducing which will be on from today till Friday aimed to tackle the two goals,” and “we are lucky to have representatives from the Gambia ministries and other institutions (which) we are linked one way or another to intangible cultural heritage, education, environment, gender children and social welfare among.”

She, therefore, noted that all these institutions might contribute to placing the living heritages of Gambia at the heart of national policy since living heritage represent the spirit of the country and had “so much to teach us about our traditions, our identities, and sustainable ways of living that is today slowly getting lost.”
For this intention, to learn more about ICH and how to safeguard it, she urged everyone not to forget a culture crosscutting for sustainable development, which she said can contribute to perfect wellness and health through the use of traditional medicinal requisites and can also contribute to social cohesion and to fight the climate change and reducing the risk of disaster.


Yunus S Saliu

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