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Training of writers of The Gambia underway

May 10, 2011, 2:59 PM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

A five-day training for the Writers Association of The Gambia (WAG) is underway at the Senegambia Beach Hotel.

The training that brought participants from different areas across the country was funded by UNESCO and NATCOM.

Speaking on the occasion, Yahya Al Matarr Jobe, principal programme officer of the Gambia National Commission for UNESCO who represented the UNESCO Secretary General, said the training is part of a proposal submitted to NATCOM by WAG for funding.

He also informed the gathering that the project on capacity building in book development and collection, transcription and translation of proverbs in three significant Gambian local languages - Mandinka, Wolof and Pulaar, is funded by UNESCO under its participation programme 2010/2011 biennium, through the Gambia National Commission for UNESCO.

This workshop and its subsequent activities, therefore marks a significant and meaningful collaboration between the Gambia National Commission for UNESCO, NATCOM and WAG, he said.

Mr Jobe added that one of the mandates of UNESCO since its inception has been to engage all stakeholders in the promotion of education and cultural diversity under which the training programme falls.

"The UNESCO programme in this domain aims to support the action of every national and regional actors in the book chain," he said. "It is based on a participatory approach and on partnership with all professionals, political stakeholders and beneficiaries at both national and regional level. This is why UNESCO celebrates annually the World Book and Copyright Day, and the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.

"It is, therefore, our task to provide all available assistance for the promotion of knowledge production at all levels."

The workshop, initiated by WAG, intends to provide the required skills in fiction writing by putting special focus on short stories and at the same time build capacities of writers.

He added that UNESCO/NATCOM is proud to be associated with such an activity for diverse reasons.

Mr Jobe added that The Gambia has got many writers and poets and the number is increasing. "Whether the written products are ready by this generation or not is another question but the reality is that there are many writers," he said. "This is a clear manifestation that all of them are eager to find a seat in the literate platform."

The role or mission of the writers in the modern society is complex, he says, assuring members of WAG that UNESCO/NATCOM "will support them".

Other speakers on the occasion were the representative of Pearson in The Gambia, Said Usuf, who said: "This workshop will focus both on key techniques to creative writing, as it will discuss important issues every writer must know in relating to getting your work published."

In his officially remarks, Gibril John Robert, veteran writer for years, expressed delight about the training. "This is an opportunity for the writers to express their views," he said, urging them to make the best use of the training.