Minister Bah unveils Gambian artists’ music videos awareness campaign against Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy

Aug 20, 2021, 2:22 PM | Article By: Yunus S Saliu

The minister of Tourism and Culture has officially launched the Gambian artists’ music videos on awareness campaign against Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy.

The launched music videos are meant for raising awareness on prevention, and against Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy under a theme: ‘Keep safe by masking and stay alive by getting vaccinated’. It was organised by the National Centre for Arts and Culture in partnership with the ECOWAS and UNESCO on awareness raising campaign with Gambian artists on Covid-19 prevention, and against vaccine hesitancy.

Launching the music videos, Hamat N.K. Bah disclosed that in March 2020, Covid-19 struck the shores of this country and since then “we have been battling with this great pandemic which has affected The Gambia and the world at large.”

Since that March 2020, he noted that no segment of Gambian life has remained unaffected by the pandemic, as the “government of His Excellency President Adama Barrow took strong and right but sometimes painful measures to combat the pandemic.”

These measures included the partial closure of entertainment events and spectacles which have severely affected the arts and culture sector. Museums, galleries and heritage sites were also affected and many young Gambians dutifully engaged in the arts sector were left in very hard conditions, he explained.

To offset this dire situation and alleviate the suffering of Gambian artists, he said “My Ministry instructed the NCAC to do whatever possible to support the Gambian artists during this difficult period.”

Minister Bah went further dilated on other positive step taken to offset the situation which includes UNESCO Resliart project, disbursement of  D5 million to NCAC as Covid-19 relief package to artists and players in the culture sector whereby over 200 registered artists and artistic groups among others benefitted.

And the recent one, he said is the UNESCO-ECOWAS  USD10,000.00 “to harness our artists to create material to promote the vaccination campaign against covid-19 and also to promote prevention measures like wearing of masks and I am happy that the bulk of  this money has gone into the pockets of artists, the essence of this launched.”

However, “this government wants to partner with our artists to not only improve their economic well being, but to also play a bigger role in the realisation of the government targets as envisioned in the NDP 2018-2021. This is why my Ministry will continue to support the NCAC so that our artists will continue to enjoy opportunities like this one, and many more,” he amplified.

Minister Bah therefore thanked the UNESCO Dakar office and ECOWAS for choosing The Gambia to be one of the few countries in the region to have engaged in this activity, noting that UNESCO has remain a reliable partner to Gambian arts and culture.

The UNFPA Resident Coordinator in The Gambia, Adekunle Adeniyi, dilated on how Covid-19 continues to play havoc around the world which The Gambia is not an exception but congratulated the government of The Gambia for the good work done in waging war against the pandemic in the country.

To curb the pandemic he encouraged everyone to take the vaccine and as well continue to follow the laid down measures.

Hassoum Ceesay, director general of NCAC, said the launched three music videos was as a result of about four months of hard works supported by the UNESCO-ECOWAS and in partnership with the artistic associations and Gambia Artists to sensitise people on the pandemic and encourage taking of the vaccine.

He noted that the music videos unveiled are UNESCO standard and through this, the artists have gained a lot in “working with such perfection that international body like UNESCO accepted their works (launched music/videos) as they met the UNESCO laid down criteria.”

DG Ceesay thanked the minister of Tourism and Culture for his all times support, saying; “we appreciate this.”