At least one hundred students took part in this year’s edition which again enabled this multi-cultural mix of young people to engage in cross-cultural dialogue, community focused activities as well as tour areas of interest to their course which included visits to Tanka-Tanka mental healing centre, Tumani-Tenda and Sandele, among others.
Speaking to The Standard on this year’s event, Mr Modou Dimbalane, Camp Africa coordinator, said the Camp provided a unique opportunity for the participants to build bridges across cultural and geographical differences, and therefore contributed to the building of world peace. “When young people get to understand each other, the prospect for a peaceful world order is good since they are the ones going to assume leadership roles in the future,” he said.
Dimbalane said since its inception in 2010, Camp Africa has grown in popularity and they are thankful that despite the Ebola scare in the region, a good number of participants made it to the Camp this year.
A student from Nottingham said she enjoyed every bit of the camp, learning about the cultures of Gambia and Senegal in just a few days. “I think we in the UK need to learn from the people of Gambia and Senegal,” she told The Standard.
Edmond Shonoibi, a Gambian participant, said Camp Africa enabled them to learn about the social impact of tourism in The Gambia. “Camp Africa is great. We got to know the positive and negative impacts of tourism and know about the cultures of each other. It is amazing,” he said.
The Camp’s popular ‘Africa Got Souls’ competition was won by The Gambia, which came first, followed by the UK and then the former champions Senegal.
Camp Africa is an innovative project dedicated to fostering sustainable development activities and responsible tourism. It does this by bringing local, regional and international youth together on an annual basis to encourage integration and cross-cultural dialogue. The campers engage in multi-faceted sporting, cultural, educational and community focused activities organised each year.
As a registered charity in The Gambia, Camp Africa has a board of directors and is overseen by a coalition of organisations in The Gambia with rich experience in sustainable tourism, sports development and issues of cultural integration. These organisations are the trustees of Plymouth Banjul, a successful charity with a strong existing structure and the main provider of funds to Camp Africa, the Association of Small Scale Enterprises in Tourism (ASSET), and the International Centre for Responsible Tourism- West Africa (ICRT- WA).
Government institutions like the Ministry of Tourism and Culture (MOTC), The Gambia Tourism Board (GTB) and The National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) also provide support to the Camp.
The camp is overseen by its board of directors, Adama Bah, George Gomez and Geri Michell, and assisted by an administrative secretary Momodou Ndimbalan who coordinated the camp while Lamin Bojang was responsible for the excursions.]]>