By Mamou M Mbenga
The National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) organised a Covid 19 campaign ceremony in Banjul on Tuesday 18th May 2021 which brought various stakeholders from the artistic associations and artistic institutions together. During the meeting, the NCAC revealed that they have secured D500,000 funding from the ECOWAS-UNESCO anti-Covid 19 Campaign Fund.
The participants in this project will raise awareness on the prevention of Covid 19 and counter Covid 19 vaccine Hesitancy campaign.
The NCAC will engage the Writers Association of the Gambia, The Gambia Theater Association, The Gambia Dance Association, The Gambia Film Producers Association and The Gambia Music Union who will task their members to create messages relevant to Covid 19 prevention and vaccination acceptance.
This theme will be branded under the hashtag; Arts Gambia against Covid 19.
NCAC Director-General, Mr Hassoum Ceesay highlighted that the NCAC has applied for UNESCO support in March 2021 in order to enable Gambian artists to contribute towards efforts to curb the Corona Virus pandemic.
During Mr Ceesay’s speech, he explained that NCAC managed to secure a total of Five Hundred Thousand Dalasis (D500,000) Grant from the ECOWAS-UNESCO Anti Covid 19 campaign fund for various artistic associations in order to implement an act based riposte to the deadly pandemic.
The theme for the campaign is captured in the quote: ‘keep safe by masking and stay alive by getting vaccinated’.
“The activities will be from 18th May 2021 through to 16th June 2021 when the artistic messages will be ready for consumption by the public through electronic media”.
“Our aim is to ensure that Gambian artistes have an opportunity to create [artistic messages] against Covid 19, and also to earn an income from their creation,” he said.
Mr Ceesay lauded the joint response of ECOWAS and UNESCO in supporting member states towards mitigating the negative effects of the Covid 19 pandemic which has sparked a global campaign of prevention and vaccination.
The Director of Performing and Fine art, Sheikh Omar Jallow urged artists that signed the Covid 19 campaign fund to conduct their work effectively in reaching out to their fans and audiences.
Director Jallow urged all artistes to take their Covid 19 vaccination for safety precautions.
Present at the ceremony was Dr Cherno Omar Barry, President of the Writers Association of the Gambia and the Collecting Society of The Gambia. He highlighted that his members have already started the Covid 19 campaign which will be presented to the general public.
The President of the Gambia Musicians Union (MUSIGAM) Momodou M Sarr signed a contract with NCAC on behalf of his organisation to finance their campaign to fight the spread of the virus and vaccine hesitancy.
MUSIGAM President explained that their Institution will produce three songs by selecting three Gambian artists who will record the song. Meanwhile, the messages in the songs will be developed by the Writers Association.
According to the project plan, the MUSIGAM will closely work with the Producers Association to take charge of all the studio production.
MUSIGAM disclosed that D75,000 has been provided to all the artistic associations.