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“Engaging Communities Cultural Heritage” in The Gambia 

On World African Heritage Day, the Heritage Management Organization is happy to announce that 41 heritage and cultural managers in Banjul, Barra and Janjanbureh attended its 3-day “Engaging Communities in Cultural Heritage” workshops.

“This workshop addresses the needs of the country’s heritage organizations and local groups as they themselves set them out in a survey we conducted to establish the sector’s specific training needs. As a result, we are delighted to be offering this workshop and to be working with multiple and very diverse stakeholders including the NCAC, Banjul, Janjanbureh, Lower Niumi, and Basse local communities, as well as the festival committees of Barra and Janjanbureh, tour guide groups and local heritage-related business managers,” said Evangelos Kyriakidis, the Heritage Organization’s Director.

The workshops, which are held online, are part of the Heritage Management Organization’s “HerMaP Gambia” program, which aims to develop the business skills of heritage and cultural managers working for civil society organizations in The Gambia. The aim is to enable them to establish and better support heritage and cultural enterprises. It is hoped that supporting enterprise-building based on the Gambia’s cultural heritage will promote greater community solidarity and eventually provide opportunities that will help reduce the number of people being lost to The Gambia through brain drain.

“The HerMaP project is a unique opportunity for us to engage with the incredibly diverse heritage sector of the Gambia, a country extremely rich in traditions, oral history, poetry, song, and dance among others. It is extremely encouraging to see the engagement of the Gambian stakeholders who ultimately will have ownership of this program. It is here important to thank all stakeholders in this program, and the European Commission for making it possible,” Kyriakidis added.

During the workshop, which was held online, participants familiarized themselves with the context of community engagement through heritage, the importance of values in community initiatives, discussed methodologies based on ethnography and oral history, and engaged in practical exercises aimed at understanding the communities they work with and producing multimedia content with the guidance of the instructors.

“We need to redouble our efforts at proper management of our cultural heritage. This will enable our younger generation to benefit from it since it will also promote tourism’’, said Saloum Sheriff Janko program manager Artists in Alliance for Arts and Culture.

The project is co-funded by the European Union with  some funding partly matched by the UN Economic Commission for Africa. It is being realized in partnership with the National Centre for Arts and Culture.

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