By Olimatou Coker
The Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) has awarded musicians for their roles in the fight against Covid-19.
The event included the handing over of prizes to participants in the poetry and music video challenge, held at Niro Bar and Restaurant on Kairaba Avenue.
Gambian musicians, poets, writers, association and promotional companies engaged the public on Covid-19 prevention, debunking myths and informing about support measures available using culture and innovation messaging to get the word out.
The initiative is supported by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa through YEP and being implemented by the International Trade Center (ITC) in collaboration with the Government of the Gambia.
Meanwhile, designers in the fashion industry rallied to produce equipment for the Gambian population. The ceremony also recognizes the essential role the Gambian artists play in the fight against Covid-19 and the broader socio-economic development of the Gambia.
Fatim Badjie Sinyan, the National Creative Art and Tourism Consultant, YEP, said: “We developed the roadmap together, we were mindful that the digital world is opening wide fields of opportunity and the digital modernization became integral for the roadmap and its success,” she noted.
She encouraged youths to keep active, contribute to inspire and use their creativity to address the challenges in the industry and pave opportunities for themselves.
Attila Lajos, the European Union Ambassador to the Gambia said the creative industries were hit immediately and brutally hard.
He remarked: “In the tourism sector alone, the crisis resulted in the loss of revenue amounting to billions of dalasis, and there is no doubt of the severe impact that the crisis is having on the creative industries”.
He is confident that the sector will be able to adjust and emerge stronger and more resilient from the crisis. He said the industry requires reaching its full potential that is why the EU and its partners will remain supportive as they navigate these troubled waters.
Sheikh Omar Jallow, the Director for Creative and performing arts at the National Center for Arts and Culture (NCAC) spoke on behalf of the director. He said his institution is very pleased and commended the initiators for the support.
“Once again you have underlined the need to involve in the promotion and in the creative arts in all activities related to the NDP of the Gambia”.
Other speakers included Ndey Fatou Njie founder of “TIKA”, Wagan Faye CEO Blacklynx, Modou Lamin Sowe from the Writers’ Association of the Gambia.
Enterprise in the creative industries has been hit particularly hard as events were suspended, markets closed and the demand for goods and services has dropped.
While the entrepreneurs and artists require economic support to stay afloat during the crisis, they have also provided unique support to the country to cope with the health pandemic.