By Yunus S Saliu
The National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) with support from the UNESCO-ASCHBERG program, on Tuesday, held a daylong stakeholder meeting to deliberate on operationalising the National Endowment Fund for the Gambia Arts and Culture sector.
The utmost aims of the forum are to articulate the needs of the sector to be considered in operationalising the National Endowment Fund for Arts and Culture; brainstorm on general principles for the National Endowment Fund for Arts and Culture regulation and agree on a high-level plan for consultations throughout the development of the regulation.
In his opening remarks, Hassoum Ceesay, Director General of the National Centre for Arts and Culture welcomed the participants and reflected their minds to the Quadrennial Periodic Reports to the 2005 Convention exercise organized by the center in 2019.
He applauded the international expert, Ms. Ojoma Ochai, for her support during the exercise and “because we were successful in our reporting for the first time the Gambia submitted the report on the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the promotion of cultural diversity in cultural expressions. With that UNESCO has disclosed its readiness to assist us to upgrade the status of the Gambia artists.”
He went on that The Gambia was successful alongside two other countries, Cape Verde and Romania, while he noted that the project is of three components which are first, a nationwide survey on the involvement of female artists in the various artistic sector, second the national endowment fund and the third one is the upgrading and building capacity of the artists.
The director general highlighted the importance of the National Endowment Fund for the artists and therefore enjoined the stakeholders to work hard toward this to allow access to funds.
More so, he said after the validation of the National Endowment fund whoever that meets the criteria after filling the form as required will have access to the fund while he urged stakeholders in the sector to have hope and be positive on this “because it is time to work together with the necessary authorities to make it a reality.”
The Director General on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and NCAC thanked the UNESCO-ASCHBERG program for the support.
Dimitiri Sanga, Head of UNESCO Dakar addressed the forum online from his office in Dakar, while the international expert, Ojoma Ochai guided participants through the arts endowment funds from around the world; brainstorming about what should the Gambia Endowment Fund for Arts and Culture should cover, adopt and among other exercises.