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Heritage Management Organisation Opens an Office in Barra

My Magazine 2023/11
3 min
On the 27th of October, Barra officially became a centre point for activities of heritage management training of the North Bank Region of The Gambia. With the support of the EU, the Heritage Management Organisation also referred to as simply HERITΛGE, opened an office that will serve not only for training in heritage management but also as a community centre, and creative space for local representatives, community members and other essential players in the area of preservation of the heritage of The Gambia. Its design and purpose reflects the direct involvement of the locals and is open to dynamic interpretation, reflecting their evolving needs and understanding.

Heritage Management Organisation is a non-profit organisation which has been actively involved in heritage management by providing targeted training, especially to the key heritage managers, to ensure that the value and importance of heritage assets are known. Furthermore, the aim is for the key players to learn about the preservation and possible transformation of the legacy into indicators of the community identity and, with proper management, bring economic development, which would contribute to further conservation and research around the assets.

In the past 15 years, the organisation has been actively partnering up and conducting training in countries worldwide. Today, they can proudly say they are present in over 10 African countries, one of which is also The Gambia, which is part of 90+ countries in total.

Meeting representatives of HERITΛGE this year, My Gambia team felt our mission and vision towards the preservation and elevated management of what has been left for us to preserve was very much the same. We are proud to say that we have started and will continue collaborating with HERITΛGE in future projects towards heritage management.

As we (My Gambia Team) travelled back to our beloved Barra on the day of the opening ceremony, we were again reminded the journey there was not so easy but yet again worth it. There are many heritage hotspots, one of which is Fort Bullen, not to mention Kunta Kinteh Island, which are invaluable assets in the history of The Gambia, and they need to be taken care of. And this is where HERITΛGE comes in. With the joint academic knowledge of their lecturers, they can provide much-needed support for the local community to recognise the benefits and importance of historical sights.

The new office will now offer space where young and old enthusiasts, local representatives of HERITΛGE, community members, and representatives of organisations which have been long collaborating with HERITΛGE or just started collaborating freshly can come together in a shared space that should eventually become not only space for training but tourist information centre for the North Bank Region.

The new office space is part of the HERITΛGE project HerMaP Gambia, which is co-financed by the European Union and is being realised in partnership with NCAC.

"The program aims to develop the business skills of heritage and cultural managers to enable them to establish and better support heritage and cultural enterprises. Supporting The Gambia's heritage sector will promote community solidarity and provide high-quality employment opportunities for local talent" (HERITΛGE).

The opening ceremony was graced by the Head of Cooperation, Enrica Pellacani, and the Development Cooperation / International Aid Office for the European Union Delegation in The Gambia, Lumana Kamashi. The director of Heritage Management Organisation, Dr Evangelos Kyriakidis, who addressed the present through voice message, was represented by communications manager Maria Kagkelidou and focal Representatives Malick Kujabi, Khadijatou Badgie, and Ebrima Jammeh. Representatives from partner organisations were Mamat Sallah from NCAC (National Centre for Arts and Culture), Dr Adama Bah from ITTOG (Institute of Travel and Tourism of Gambia), Amadou Danso from the Jufureh Albreda Youth Society (JAYS), Ismaila Sambou, Director of GYCC (Gambia Youth Chamber of Commerce), Ebrima Krubally form the Wassu Stone Circle Association, and Fatoumatta Jatta - representative of the Crafts Market Federation. Barra community was represented by Alagie Baboucarr Faye - the Alkalo of Barra, Aba Hydara - Barra Community Committee Member, and other esteemed members. Amongst others, the event was graced also by the representatives of Geniere, Janjanbureh, Basse, and the greater Banjul area.

My Gambia wishes HERITΛGE and their partners a successful beginning of the creative hub in Barra, leading towards greater community development and better preservation of our historical treasures.

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