May 13, 2013, 10:43 AM
Semaine de la Francophonie was celebrated in The Gambia with the first lady Madam Zainab Yahya Jammeh opening the week long programme of activities, at a ceremony held at the Total petrol station.
Semaine de la Francophonie is meant to serve as a bridge to show unity in diversity and to expose the French culture and remind others that French is a living language.
The Projet d'Ancrage du Francais en Gambie (PAFEG), Alliance Franco-Gambienne, Saint Francophile Association (SFA) and the French Teachers Association (FRETA) were all involved in organising the event.
Society looks at the annual celebration, what French language can do, and why the celebration.
Dr. Gerard Chouin the project director of Projet D'Ancrage du Francais en Gambie (PAFEG) in collaboration with Alliance Franco - Gambienne, Saints Francophile Association and the French Teachers Association (FRETA) all joined hands to celebrate 'Semaine de la Francophonie' starting on 15th March 2010.
The day started with a procession from the Total petrol station to the Alliance Franco-Gambianne office along
Her Excellency the First Lady, Madam Zainab Yahya Jammeh, cut the ribbon at a spectacular opening ceremony to launch the Semaine de la Francophonie celebration.
Hundreds of school children, lovers of the French language, government dignitaries and students at Alliance Franco-Gambienne participated in the procession.
The first lady and other dignitaries marched alongside the students.
The day ended with eating and dancing by students from over 15 schools offering French language classes, which sent their French Club members.
Dr. Gerard Chouin, the head of the PAFEG project, responsible for the French cooperation with The Gambia said the Semaine de la Francophonie is a global event observed globally and annually.
"The event attracts students and a large number of the French-speaking community who come together to exchange ideas including cultural activities."
He said the PAFEG wants as many people as possible to learn and speak French.
"It is a week-long celebration by the French community around the world over.
It creates a true forum for participants to interact through several activities including processions, Oui je parle Francais in schools, school presentations in different cultural activities, conferences, and presentation of poems, drawings, theatre to be performed by
The programme will be taken up country from Region 3 to 6, he announced, pointing out that "the celebration is geared towards enriching different cultures."
Dr. Chouin further stressed that promotion of understanding between French speakers and Gambians is one of the objectives.
"We promote unity in diversity during the one week celebration, and we are pleased with the presence of the First Lady, Madam Zainab Yahya Jammeh," he said.
Adama Talla, the National Coordinator of Saint Francophile Association, praised the celebration, and said he was pleased with the turnout.
"This shows that we are working hard to promote the French language. We have a coordinated action with the French Teachers Association, Alliance Franco- Gambienne, and the project that is PAFEG headed by Dr. Chouin," he said.
According to Talla, the aim of the event is to gather students and share different cultures and ideas.
"The participants will share ideas on key ideas and themes. We shall organize quiz competitions among schools, including debates, poetry, drawing, as well as cultural presentations by individual school children from different schools.
The organizing body will go to the remaining Regions of 3 to 6. There will be activities there too to help them get a taste of the Semaine de la Franchophonie.