UNESCO: Gambia sets its course for the protection of “underwater cultural heritage”

EYEAFRICA TV: Dakar, SENEGAL:- UN educational and cultural agency, UNESCO, said The Gambia is setting its course for the protection of its underwater cultural heritage as four Gambian professionals took part in a first underwater archaeology training program.

The initiative according to officials, is aligned with the objectives of the UNESCO Dakar Office for the protection of the submerged cultural heritage of the Atlantic coast of Africa.

“From January 10 to 25, three other Gambian professionals have benefitted from a first underwater archaeology training on the basics for the protection of underwater heritage. Two of them came from the Gambian National Center for Arts and Culture (NCAC) and two from The Gambia Navy, key entities for the protection of underwater cultural goods,” the agency said.

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The training is said to have taken place in Dakar (Senegal), with the lead of the Gambian National Commission for UNESCO and the NCAC, and counting on the support of UNESCO and the Direction du patrimoine Culturel (DPC) of Senegal.

“It shows the importance of South-South collaboration, especially within Senegal and Gambia, two countries with a shared maritime history, and which are the owners of a rich underwater cultural heritage,” UNESCO said.

The training has been accomplished with the involvement of researchers in underwater archeology from Cheikh Anta Diop University leaded by Moussa WELE and instructors from the Oceanium diving center (Dakar).

“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, officer at the National Center for Arts and Culture (NCAC) said.

Sunkary Jarju, agent at Gambia Navy said: “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.”

This training activity, the agency adds, 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.”

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