The Covid-19 outbreak and the resultant Public Health Emergency affected activities to a great extend.
- On March 15, museums and sites were closed as advised by the Government of the Gambia. However, to ensure that museum collections did not deteriorate, museum staff on hand were advised to regularly open the doors and windows to allow aeration.
- Another result of the Emergency was the downsizing of staff in all NCAC posts, including especially at the National Museum Premises offices. Half of the staff were required to stay away to reduce overcrowding in the offices.
- Anti Covid-19 measures taken during this period were wide. First, wash tanks with liquid soap were purchased and distributed to all our posts: Arch 22, National Museum Premises, Fort Bullen, Wassu, Kerr Batch, Juffure, Maccarthy. This is meant to ensure sanitary requirements required by Government i.e, hand washing were met by all visitors.
- In conjunction with UNESCO in Dakar, NCAC organized the first RESILIART tele-conferencing in April to enable Gambian artists, NCAC and UNESCO to discuss the pandemic and how it has affected the sector.
- Other anti Covid-19 measures taken by NCAC are:
NCAC has mobilized The Gambia Writers Association(WAG) to compose poems and short stories to help in the public awareness campaigns against Covid-19. In April an anthology of two dozen anti Covid-19 poems was published in local Newspapers.
NCAC has launched a Short Story Contest on Covid-19 awareness for young Gambian writers aged between 12 to 30. Deadline for submission was May 12. Prizes will be awarded on July 2 2020.
NCAC has shared with the Ministry of Health via formal letter a full list of Gambian artists in all the sectors who are registered with NCAC to possibly engage them in the Ministry’s Risk Communication strategies.
NCAC has contacted The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry to recommend that they extend their Covid-19 Social Support to artists and cultural players who are adversely affected.
NCAC has worked with Ministry of Tourism and Culture to evolve a project proposal for Covid-19 response for the arts and tourism sector. This has been submitted by the Ministry to relevant authorities.
Through the UNESCO Resiliart Project, NCAC has mobilized Gambian artists and cultural players and administrators to dialogue on the impact of the pandemic on their work and chart a way forward. On May 6 and 7 Gambian artists will dialogue via teleconferencing with UNESCO officials and Gambian officials. A post Covid-19 framework for the arts sector is envisaged to come out of this dialogue.
In conjunction with YEP, NCAC participates in the Creative Arts Roadmap which is a multimillion dalasi grant to support youth active in fashion, literary arts, and performing arts. Developing The Gambia’s creative industries to foster sustainable socioeconomic development through youth empowerment is the aim of this new project. The first beneficiaries have been identified.
On June 29, D50,000 was distributed to 10 artistic groups as Covid-19 succour by the NCAC being monies raised from various sources including the Gambia Chamber of Commerce.
Other Current Activities
- Regular routine work has continued at fajara offices and National Museum Premises, including the digitizing project.
- In April Demba Baldeh, designated Regional Cultural Officer for CRR, URR finally took up postings at Maccarthy. A new motorbike was purchased for his mobility and the offices at Kankurang centre were furnished.
- Also, electricity was extended to the Kankurang centre in April 2020, after many months of struggle with NAWEC.
- In April, electricity was connected to Wassu Stone Circle site thanks to support of AFRICELL.
- In March, UNESCO Conveyed to us approval of USD29,000 for community based and conservation activities at Wassu and Kerr Batch sites.
- In May 2020, NCAC signed a Framework of Understanding with GT Board for the construction of a multimillion dollar eco-lodge at Fort Bullen site in Barra on profit sharing bases.
- A request for technical assistance for rehabilitation and sea defence for Kunta Kinte Island has been submitted to the US Embassy in Banjul and is currently under consideration in Washington, DC.