By Yunus S Saliu
The Gambia National Centre for Arts and Culture together with the Department of Cultural Heritage of Senegal are currently holding a six-day training workshop on tour guiding of the stone circles of Senegambia UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The six-day training underway takes place in Wassu Stones Circle in Central River Region, The Gambia.
The trainees – tour guides attending the weeklong training were selected from the two sister countries, 16 from The Gambia and 5 from Senegal and the training was fully sponsored by the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO and it is part of a project called Strengthening the Valorization of Stones Circle of Senegambia funded by UNESCO.
The Stones Circle of Senegambia were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2006 and it is a trans-boundary inscription by The Gambia and Senegal. Since that time The Gambia and Senegal have worked together with the support of UNESCO to strengthen the contravention, preservation and interpretation of the Stones Circle of Senegambia.
Commenting on the training in Wassu, Hassoum Ceesay Director General of NCAC said the project as sponsored by the UNESCO is meant to support the conservation, interpretation of the stones circle as the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and also to optimize the participation of communities around the Stones Circle Sites in the management, development and conservation of the sites.
DG Ceesay, disclosed that the trainees are currently studying different modules which include the importance of the stones circle, who built the stones circle, dating the stones circle, conservation and the stones circle, community participation and the stones circle.
More so, a prepared modules on tour guiding to enable the trainees to become future tour guides of the stones circle to give a comprehensive and reliable interpretation of the sites to researchers, school children and tourists to the sites.
Seydou Kan, Head of the Senegalese delegation to the training also expressed satisfaction about The Gambia for hosting the important training.
He hoped trainees from both would benefit a lot from the training now and after the training they will be able to add values to the stones circle in their communities.
However, there are over 1000 stones circle sites in The Gambia and Senegal, in The Gambia, Wassu and Kerbatch has been selected as the major sites and this have been developed with site museums and currently a new site museum is also completed at Kerbatch to add values to the Stones Circle Sites. While in Senegal, there are two sites, too, identified by UNESCO this are this are Wanarr, Sine Ngayene .