By Ndey Sowe
The National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) on Sunday concluded a three-day interface workshop for Tour Guides of Gambian UNESCO World Heritage Sites at Wassu Stone Circles Site in The Gambia.
The interface was supported by the German Commission for UNESCO and German Federal Foreign Office through the SOS African Heritage Project 2021.
In 2003, Kunta Kinteh Island and Related Sites were put on the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage Sites and in 2006, the Stone Circles of Senegambia were also put on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The workshop was meant to synergize the interpretative and conservation energies of the tour guides and site attendants of Gambian UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
In his address to the participants, Hassoum Ceesay, the Director General of NCAC, explained that tour guides play an important role in the interpretation and conservation of Gambian World Heritage because they are the ones who explain the outstanding universal values of the sites to visitors.
“It is these Outstanding Universal Values that qualify our Gambian sites as World Heritage status and should therefore always be understood and readily explained to visitors,” he said.
Mamat Sallah of the NCAC enjoined the participants to see themselves as frontline workers in the interpretation of the World Heritage Sites and should therefore be always familiar with the significance and authentic information about the sites and be ready to deliver it when required by ordinary visitors, researchers and students.
Lamin Trawalleh, a participant, thanked the NCAC for their strong community engagement activities in Albreda, Fort Bullen, Barra and also in Wassu which he described as the host communities of World Heritage. He tasked his colleagues in tour guiding to always see the interest of the sites and ensure that the right interpretive message is given out.
The workshop was attended by 20 tour guides from Wassu site, Kerr Batch site, Fort Bullen, Barra and Kunta Kinteh Island and also site attendants of these UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Alkalolu of Wassu village, Medina village and the Imam of Wassu and Chairman of Wassu Village Development Committee were present. Resource persons discussed themes like ‘Outstanding Universal Values of Gambian World Heritage Sites’; ‘Gambian UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Reconciliation, Jobs Creation and Environmental Protection’ and other subjects which were critically discussed by the participants.