By Sariba Manneh
The Ministry of Tourism and Culture (MOTC) on Thursday, 21 December 2023 disbursed D410,000.00 to twenty-three festival organisers across the country, as part of its annual support initiative.
The money, which was shared among these festival organisers, is a contribution from the Ministry as support to the various festivals they will be organising in the coming weeks.
This year’s disbursement has increased from D350,000.00 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 President Adama Barrow’s government.
Handing over the cheques with various amounts to different festival organisers during an event held at the MOTC’s office in Quadrangle, Banjul, Hamat NK Bah, the Minister of Tourism and Culture said the disbursement is an indication that president Barrow’s government has been supporting the cultural sector, especially the festivals.
“In 2018, we disbursed D200,000. In 2019, it was D300,000.In 2021, it was D350,000.00 and this year, 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, noting that “the efforts of my Ministry in promoting eco-rural-based tourism will fit into this very well.”
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 where over 100 people will participate in a capacity-building workshop.He repotred that the aim of this technical training workshop will allow participants to improve their fundraising, programming and research skills for it to 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 to also contribute to showcasing cultural diversity for peaceful coexistence,” Minister Bah explained.
The Minister also disclosed that The Gambia through the NCAC, has 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, Mr Bah said he was in Paris last month to submit two UNESCO Conventions that The Gambia has ratified, which goes to show The Gambia’s commitment to the culture sector.
“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),” Mr Bah said.
However, Minister Hamat NK Bah used the occasion to invite all and sundry to the bicentenary commemoration of Janjangbureh Island from the 4th to 7th of January 2024.
Ebrima Jawo, the Administrative Governor for Banjul City Council on behalf of the recipients, thanked the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and its satellite institutions for the support.