The National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) with funding from UNESCO Intangible Heritage Section has commenced a field research project on role of culture in disaster risk reduction and environmental conservation.
The research is to discover how living culture can assist in mitigating and managing natural resources and disaster risk reduction; cultural practices such as rituals and religious beliefs contribute to strengthening the social capital, which can help communities build resilience against disaster induced by climate change or pandemics like Covid-19.
In a briefing with this medium, Hassoum Ceesay, director general of National Centre for Arts and Culture clarified that "what we want to do in this research is to strengthen the role of culture, especially intangible cultures such as rituals and beliefs, in fighting against disaster and environmental degradation. Culture is more than drumming and dancing, but can help to solve burning issues of today. "
DG Ceesay in his explanation, said the NCAC would use its research and documentation unit to do field work in areas around Kiang West National Park and Baobolong Wetland Reserve in Baddibu, which were selected as research sites "because they are protected sites which play important role in managing climate and conserving our environment."
"At the end of the research, we hope to have listed at least 6 elements of Gambian culture that can help to mitigate the impact of pandemics like Covid-19 and human-induced disasters such as floods and wind storms," he said.
At the end, "we will share this fact with the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) for possible inclusion in school curriculum so that this cultural knowledge will survive," NCAC DG added.