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Alliance Francaise de Banjul celebrates Francophonie Week

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By Tabora Bojang

Over 400 students from schools in The Gambia celebrated this year’s  Francophonie Week in grand style with a diverse series of events at the Alliance Francaise along Kairaba Avenue Wednesday.

The event is organised by the Alliance Francaise office in Banjul in partnership with the French Embassy, Campus France and several other partners.

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The Francophonie festival is an annual event celebrating the French language, diversity and Francophonie cultures, and is celebrated around the world.

Students from schools such as University of The Gambia, Nusrat, Sbec International, Marina International, Lycée Sénégalais, Charles Jow, Glory Baptist, Latri-Kunda and Bakau Upper basic school and many others participated and showcased different talents in drama competitions, concerts,poetry, play, dance and other competitions. The daylong program began with a march-past of students, teachers, parents and other invited guests from the Traffic Lights to the Alliance Francaise.

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Winners in various categories of competitions also received awards including cash prizes. 

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The Vice President of Alliance Francaise de Banjul Fatou Jagne-Senghore, said the management and the board are excited in organising this annual event to celebrate and promote language and cultural diversity. “I am very pleased and proud of these students. All of them are doing well, speaking French very well. There is a lot of improvement and interest in learning and appreciating the French language. All of them I am impressed with. We want to encourage all parents to support their children. Francophonie is also promoting local language multilingualism,” she urged.

Madam Jagne, former West Africa director of Article 19, stated that since the change in the Gambia with the country becoming an observer member of the Francophonie, it created the opening of more opportunities for deepened engagement and collaboration in terms of bilateral and cultural exchanges, education, business and women empowerment. 

She welcomed plans by the Ministry of Education to include the French Language in the school curriculum.

According to her, the Alliance Management and Board will do everything possible to bring more opportunities to the Gambia in terms of scholarships, citing the recent developments on exchange programs, and scholarships opportunities given by Campus France for Gambians to pursue masters programs in France.

“We will continue to open up this space to bring more investors, more collaboration between Banjul and Paris,” Jagne pledged.

Seydi Ababacar Dieng, French teacher from Sbec International said; “Having such a celebration is very important. Gambia is surrounded by Francophone countries, And getting students to such places to learn and get used to this kind of environment will only help strengthen their understanding and appreciation of the French language and culture. These kids are extremely good and we need to work hard to get French improved at all levels in our schools.

Francophonie Attache at French Embassy in Gambia and Senegal, Chandra Maisonnier, stressed that Francophonie is not just France but a community of people from 88 countries around the world gathering them around economic, social and linguistic promotion and exchanges.

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