Tag Archives: The Gambia

Digitizing Gambia’s Heritage: A workshop in Digital Tools for Cultural Heritage


HERITΛGE is pleased to announce the successful completion of a transformative workshop that trained heritage caretakers in The Gambia on the latest digital tools for cultural heritage management. Our “Digital Tools for Heritage Management” workshop took place in Barra, Gambia, from December 12th to 18th, 2023. It is part of the HerMaP Gambia program, co-funded by the European Union and implemented by HERITΛGE.

Led by HERITΛGE’s and HOGENT University’s Dr. Cornelis Stal, the week-long event was attended by 14 representatives from various leading heritage institutions in the country, including the National Center for Arts and Culture (NCAC), the National Environment Agency (NEA), ITTOG (The Institute of Tourism and Travel of The Gambia), the Gambia Youth Chamber of Commerce (GYCC), the Juffureh & Albreda Youth Society (JAYS), CityWide Ventures International, and community members from Barra.

“I am genuinely delighted by the wholehearted enthusiasm with which the participants immersed themselves in this innovative workshop,” said Mina Morou, Africa Programs Manager at HERITΛGE and Project Manager for HerMaP Gambia. “The culmination of the participants’ efforts resulted in the impressive 3D modeling of two significant heritage sites, Fort Bullen and Kuntah Kinteh Island, a testament to the success of the workshop in translating theoretical concepts into practical and valuable outcomes.”

Dr. Stal, his assistants, and our trainees.Copyright: HERITΛGE

Dr. Stal, assisted by two students from HOGENT University, laid the foundation for an enriching learning experience. Participants were introduced to a broad range of 3D recording and mapping techniques, as well as methodologies to use and analyze spatial data. Geographic Information Systems were utilized to acquire, manage, and integrate spatial data for management and analysis purposes, and to publish the resulting data in cartographic deliverables for Fort Bullen and Kuntah Kinteh Island. The video forms part of the 3D modeling of Fort Bullen.

The initial three days focused on GIS fundamentals, 3D recording, and mapping techniques. The subsequent three days delved into theoretical training in photogrammetry, image-based 3D modeling, camera models, optics, and data processing. Following this, participants applied their knowledge practically to heritage sites.

“Many thanks to The Heritage Management Organization and HerMaP Gambia for bringing digital technology to Gambian heritage,” said Hassoum Ceesay, Director General of NCAC.

HERITΛGE opens new office in The Gambia

Barra and Fort Bullen

The Heritage Management Organization (HERITΛGE) is happy to announce the opening of its local office and training centre in Barra, in The Gambia’s North Bank Region. The new office, part of HERITΛGE’s HerMaP Gambia Program that is co-financed by the European Union, opened its doors officially on October 27th

The launching of this brand-new office will help to further achieve the objectives of the HerMaP Gambia program,” said Enrica Pellacani, Head of Cooperation for the European Union Delegation in The Gambia. Pellacani noted over the past two years, the EU and HERITΛGE have been collaborating and empowering civil society organizations as essential partners in promoting social development, inclusive growth, and sustainability within the cultural and creative industries.

“Over 250 people from the heritage and tourism sectors, from 6 districts have received training on Community Engagement, Oral History, Museum Redesign, Heritage Interpretation as well as Community and Economic Development,” the official added, noting that as part of the EU-funded program, over 30 heritage managers were also trained to serve as trainers and thus “help manifest a creative wave that will enable The Gambia to preserve its heritage and leverage it to create great quality jobs for its youth”.

“Opening up our office in The Gambia is a very important development for us…everything we do is always centered around working with local communities,” said HERITΛGE Director, Dr. Evangelos Kyriakidis. “We hope that this office is more than a workplace or a training location. For us, this is a place that should be alive, engaged, and relevant to the whole community and ultimately to the whole country,” he added. 

Mamat Sallah from The Gambia’s National Centre for the Arts and Culture, in partnership with which the HerMaP Gambia program is being realized, pointed out that “our heritage connects us with our roots. It is a treasure of knowledge waiting to be unlocked and shared with the generations still to come.” 

“The Heritage Management Organization Office has been established with the simple ambition to train heritage managers to be the guardians of our collective memory and safeguard our historical treasures and to promote appreciation of the rich tapestry of our culture”  he added.

A number of esteemed guests attended the opening and addressed participants, including the Alkalo of Barra, Dr. Adama Bah, Director of ITTOG (Institute of Travel and Tourism of Gambia), Amadou Danso from the Jufureh Albreda Youth Society (JAYS). Aba Hydara (Barra Community Committee Member), Ismaila Sambou, Director of GYCC (Gambia Youth Chamber of Commerce), Ebrima Krubally form the Wassu Stone Circle Association, Fatoumatta Jatta representative of the Crafts Market Federation, HERITΛGE Focal Representatives Malick Kujabi, Khadijatou Badgie, and Ebrima JammehLumana Kamashi, Development Cooperation / International Aid Officer of the EU Delegation in The Gambia, and Representatives of Geniere, Janjanbureh, Basse, and the greater Banjul area.

To celebrate the opening of this brand new facility and showcase the region’s cultural heritage, the local community put together a dance and music performance and served local delicacies. 

About HerMaP Gambia: The program is aimed at developing the business skills of heritage and cultural managers to enable them to establish and better support heritage and cultural enterprises. Supporting The Gambia’s heritage sector will promote community solidarity and provide high-quality employment opportunities for local talent. 

The program is co-funded by the European Union

Strengthening Partnerships: HERITΛGE visit The Gambia

An extended HERITΛGE team was in The Gambia in August to  assess the progress of the Organization’s capacity development initiatives and explore how local communities are taking on board the heritage management training. HERITΛGE’s HerMaP Gambia program has delivered in the past three years, including HERITΛGE’s Training of Trainers (ToT) program that has been disseminating knowledge, and strengthening relationships with key stakeholders who play a vital role in cultural heritage management. 

“Meeting with stakeholders underscored the effectiveness of our training programs in empowering trainers to pass on their knowledge to a broader audience in the Gambia,” says Mina Morou, HERITΛGE’s Africa Projects Manager. “To build on this success, we have scheduled another cycle of the  “Train the Trainers” program for this autumn, aiming to continue expanding the reach of heritage management education in the region.”

During the visit, our team was happy to reconnect with a range of existing partners and new ones, who play pivotal roles in heritage management and preservation in The Gambia. These include the Institute of Travel and Tourism of The Gambia (ITTOG), the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC), the National Assembly and the Gambia Tourist Board, EU Delegation, the Juffureh Albreda Youths Society (JAYS), My Gambia, National Environment Agency (NEA) and more.

HERITΛGE is also happy to announce that our new Gambian office in Banjul is now operational and will soon start hosting activities.

The program is co-funded by the European Union.

Training the Trainers in The Gambia

HERITΛGE is very proud to have trained two groups of heritage practitioners during its Train the  Trainers workshop in The Gambia in June, in partnership with the Institute of Travel and Tourism of The Gambia. The 29 practitioners completed the first phase of their training and are now ready to go ahead and train a new generation of heritage managers in The Gambia.

“The Train the Trainers workshop is of great value as it promotes ownership among local people by creating an enabling environment that empowers them to design and deliver courses in heritage management, while at the same time encouraging community participation and ensuring the sustainability and significance of their contributions.,” said Mina Morou, Africa Programs Manager for HERITΛGE.

The Train the Trainers workshop is a transformative program that empowers participants to become influential multipliers in the field of heritage management. It provides participants with the essential skills and knowledge to design and deliver effective courses for adult learners in this domain.

The workshop covers various critical aspects including course design principles, assessing student needs, tailoring instruction, building trust with learners, providing feedback, and implementing continuous evaluation processes. It promotes a culture of critical thinking and highlights the significance of understanding cultural nuances in training delivery. Practical exercises and real-world examples are incorporated to facilitate meaningful learning experiences for the participants.

By the end of the workshop, participants are equipped to disseminate the acquired knowledge and make a positive impact in the field of heritage management.

During the training, HERITΛGE was happy to host the Honorable Omar Jatto Jammeh as a guest speaker. The workshop is part of HERITΛGE’s HerMaP Gambia program.

About HerMaP Gambia: The program is aimed at developing the business skills of heritage and cultural managers to enable them to establish and better support heritage and cultural enterprises. Supporting The Gambia’s heritage sector will promote community solidarity and provide high-quality employment opportunities for local talent.

The program is co-funded by the European Union.


Embracing Ownership and Driving Sustainable Development: Women’s Entrepreneurship in The Gambia

By Mina Morou*

Women’s entrepreneurship in The Gambia has experienced remarkable growth, empowering women and catalyzing positive societal change. From supportive collectives in rural areas to innovative ventures across sectors, women entrepreneurs are breaking barriers and leading the charge towards a more inclusive and prosperous future.

A noteworthy example of this progress is the establishment of supportive collectives in rural areas, where women pool funds from their entrepreneurial endeavors to provide support within their group. This fosters solidarity, sisterhood, and shared responsibility, offering not just financial aid but also emotional support and knowledge exchange. During our work for HerMaP Gambia, we witnessed firsthand the impactful role of women collectives in promoting women’s entrepreneurship in The Gambia. These collectives serve as networks of support, fostering collaboration, shared experiences, and mutual assistance. They create an enabling environment that empowers women entrepreneurs to thrive in their ventures.

It is very encouraging that recent research shows most women employed in Micro – SME’s state that a range of opportunities such as micro-financing and business development opportunities like training and coaching are available to them in the country.

Women’s entrepreneurship plays a pivotal role in driving sustainable development, contributing to economic growth, employment opportunities, and innovation. Moreover, women entrepreneurs prioritize community development by supporting local suppliers and investing in socially impactful initiatives such as sustainable agriculture and tourism.

However, women entrepreneurs in The Gambia face challenges including limited access to finance, cultural biases, and gender inequalities. Overcoming these obstacles requires collective efforts from the government, private sector, and civil society. It is crucial to provide targeted financial support, offer business training and mentorship programs, and promote gender-responsive policies.

Creating an enabling environment is essential for fostering women’s entrepreneurship. This involves ensuring equal opportunities for education and skills development, addressing infrastructural gaps, and challenging gender stereotypes. By encouraging women, fostering supportive networks, and creating favorable conditions, The Gambia can unlock the full potential of women entrepreneurs.

Women’s entrepreneurship in The Gambia is a potent catalyst for economic growth, social transformation, and sustainable development. By celebrating their achievements and continuously advocating for women’s entrepreneurship, we can build a more equitable and prosperous society for all. It is through the collective efforts of various stakeholders that we can ensure the thriving of women’s entrepreneurship, both within The Gambia and beyond its borders. HERITΛGE actively contributes to this mission by providing targeted training and mentorship programs that address the specific needs of women entrepreneurs, equipping them with the essential skills and knowledge for entrepreneurial success.

*Mina Morou is HERITΛGE’s African Programs Manager

HERITΛGE actively contributes to women entrepreneurship, through HerMaP Gambia, which is co – funded by the European Union.

HERITΛGE 2nd visit to The Gambia

58 heritage professionals trained, MOUs signed, meetings held with stakeholders 

Heritage Management Organization (HERITΛGE) Director, Dr. Evanghelos Kyriakidis, and HERITΛGE instructor Dr. Eleni Stefanou visited The Gambia on 24th November – 4th December to hold training workshops and meetings with stakeholders for the HerMaP Gambia program aimed at strengthening the country’s heritage sector.

58 heritage professionals were trained during in-person workshops on Community Engagement and Oral History. Oral History is a topic of specific interest to The Gambia’s heritage sector as the country is notably rich in cultural heritage conveyed orally from generation to generation.

Dr. Kyriakidis held a number of meetings with stakeholders, including General Assembly member, Omar Jammeh, National Centre for Arts and Culture Director General, Hassoum Ceesay, representatives of the Gambia Tourism Board, as well as representatives of the Youth Chamber of Commerce.

“The Gambia’s rich heritage is an incredible resource; at HERITΛGE we are very proud to be contributing to the country’s development by training local heritage managers, giving them the necessary tools to engage with and empower local communities,” said Kyriakidis.

Acknowledging the value of partnerships, HERITΛGE’s Director also signed MoUs with the Wassu Stone Circles Tour Guides Association and the Juffureh Albreda Youths Society, aimed at deepening and building upon HerMaP initiatives in The Gambia.

Finally, HERITΛGE had the opportunity to visit sites of cultural importance such as Kunta Kinteh Island, the Wassu Stone Circles, and the Geniere Cultural Museum among others, and to briefly attend the first day of the annual Niumi Fort Bullen Festival celebrating traditional arts and culture.

About HerMaP Gambia: The program is co-funded by the European Union and it aims at developing the business skills of heritage and cultural managers to enable them to establish and better support heritage and cultural enterprises. Supporting The Gambia’s heritage sector will promote community solidarity and provide high-quality employment opportunities for local talent.

This workshop is part of the HerMaP Gambia program with funding partly matched by the UN Economic Commission for Africa. It is being realized in partnership with the NCAC.


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