By Ndey Sowe
The National Centre for Arts and Culture together with the Department of Cultural Heritage of Senegal is currently training sixteen Gambians and five Senegalese on tour guiding for the Stone Circles of Senegambia UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The six-day training workshop on tour guiding for the Stone Circles of Senegambia UNESCO World Heritage Sites is funded by the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO, as part of a project dubbed: “The strengthening Devulcanization of Senegambia.”
The training ceremony will take place at the WASSU Stone Circle Site in Central River Region (CRR). The project is meant to support the conservation, interpretation of the Stone Circles as UNESCO World Heritage Sites and also to optimize the participation of communities around the stone circle sites in the management, development and conservation of the site.
Hassoum Cessay, Director General of National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC), said the trainees will go through several modules or courses such as the importance of the stone circles, dating, conservation, community participation, basic tour guiding to enable trainees to become future tour guides of the stone circles as well as give comprehensive and reliable interpretation of the site to researchers, school children, and tourists.
According to the renowned historian, the Stone Circles of Senegambia were inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2006, adding that it is a trans-boundary inscription by the Gambia and Senegal respectively.
He remarked: “Since that time, the two countries have worked together with the support of UNESCO to strengthen the conservation, preservation and the interpretation of the Stone Circles of Senegambia. There are over one thousand stone circles sites in The Gambia and Senegal.”
Ceesay said in The Gambia, WASSU and Kerr Batch have been selected as the major sites. He said this has been developed with site museums, saying currently, a new site museum is completed at Kerr Batch; to add value to the stone circles.
“In Senegal, you have two sites identified by UNESCO, the Wanarr and Sine Ngayene,” he said.
Seydou Kane, Head of Senegalese Delegation, expressed satisfaction that the Gambia is hosting the training.
He hoped that participants from both The Gambia and Senegal would benefit a lot from the training, so that when they go back to their respective communities, they will be able to add value to the stone circles.