The Gambia sets its course for the protection of underwater cultural heritage through a capacity building activity
’I am delighted to participate in this very first training as a woman. This experience has given me a better understanding of our role as a security force for the preservation of our submerged heritage.” Sunkary Jarju, agent at Gambia Navy
From January 10 to 25, three young Gambian professionals benefitted from a first-time-ever underwater archaeology training on the basics for the protection of underwater cultural heritage – UHC. Two of the trainees came from the Gambian National Center for Arts and Culture (NCAC) and the other two from The Gambia Navy, key entities for the protection of underwater cultural artifacts.
The training which took place in Dakar, Senegal is one of the activities of the culture project funded under the UNESCO Participation Programme 2020 – 2021 and is being implemented by the Gambian National Commission for UNESCO and the NCAC. The Direction du Patrimoine (DPC), Senegal provided technical support while the lead trainer Moussa Wele is a UHC expert. It shows the importance of South-South collaboration, especially between Senegal and Gambia, two countries with a shared maritime history that are the owners of a rich underwater cultural heritage.
The decision to hold this project with Senegal is justified by its experience and advancement in the management of this lesser-known heritage. As mentioned earlier the training had been accomplished with the involvement of researchers in underwater archeology from Cheikh Anta Diop University and instructors from the Oceanium diving center (Dakar). It took place in various sites of Dakar and Gorée.
“I really appreciated the collaboration with our Senegalese brothers who spared no effort to share their experience with us in this totally new field. The experience acquired will allow me as a museum agent to participate in raising awareness among the Gambian public about the promotion and preservation of our submerged heritage.” Musa Foon, an officer at the National Center for Arts and Culture (NCAC)
This training activity is part of the project ‘Sensitization and Capacity Building on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage in The Gambia’, the very first of its kind in the country. It aims not only at building capacities for the preservation of underwater cultural heritage, but also to raise awareness on the value of underwater heritage and the importance of preserving it through the ratification of the 2001 UNESCO Convention.
This initiative is aligned with the objectives of the UNESCO Dakar Office for the protection of the submerged cultural heritage of the Atlantic coast of Africa.
For more information:
Read the 2001 UNESCO Convention.