It has been quiet here for a while but a lot has been happening in the background which we are now able to report.
RIGHT NOW NEW TOUR GUIDES ARE BEING TRAINED IN JANJANBUREH WITH FUNDING FROM WITHIN THE COUNTRY
It is exactly eight years ago that my first committee was submitting a constitution for charitable status for Just Act Gambia, reminding you that it stands for ‘Janjanbureh Uniting Sustainable Tourism And Community Training’. Our main aims were and still are as follows
It is exactly five years ago that the first photo books which I created were being sold to raise funds to train our first local tour guides for what finally cost so much.
Read about it here.
Opening of training with Chief, Sanna Sidibeh District youth chair for JJB, Lisa, YEP tourism consultant/trainer and Mo Conteh an elder from the community
This week, Tuesday November 21st, saw the beginning of a big initiative to develop Janjanbureh as a second destination for tourists, providing an alternative to the traditional coastal resorts, starting with fresh training of tour guides. Omar Jammeh, our Gambian Director gives a brief explanation.
“Training of 12 young people in Janjanbureh as official tour guides kicks start by ITTOG, (Institute of Travel and Tourism of The Gambia) NCAC (National Centre for Arts and Culture) and funded by Youth Empowerment Project (YEP), in trying to unlock potential opportunities........
The training objectives are to develop Janjanbureh to an appealing and second destination in The Gambia by shifting from the traditional form (Sun, Sand and Sea) to more of Nature, Heritage and Cultural tourism........ To minimise rural urban drift and maximise the economy of rural youths by creating and enabling the environment through capacity building in enhancing delivery of excellent services and adding value to guests’ experience…… led by ITTOG, (Institute of Travel and Tourism of The Gambia) funded by YEP, (Youth Enpowerment Project) in partnership with NYC (National Youth Council) Gambia, Ministry of Trade, NCAC, (National Centre for Arts and Culture) , GTB (Gambia Tourism Board) and The Gambia Government in Janjanbureh with the sole aim of creating employment for rural youths in tourism…….."
Last Thursday November 16th Omar was invited to a meeting held by YEP along with representatives from the above institutions and other institutions/associations representing the hotels and travel and tour groups, the purpose being to develop sustainable development of tourism in the Janjanbureh region. The plan is based upon a proposal put forward by JUST ACT to YEP. Just Act Gambia supported this by providing for the consultant and inevitable travel costs.
The training of tour guides is the initial stage of this big project and more updates will be posted as they develop.
To see this happening with funding from within the country is beyond my wildest dreams and I have shed tears of joy over the last few days. It is due to the relentless work of Omar and a solid core of JUST ACT members that this has come about. Many have stuck with it through very challenging times.
We know that
JJB has unique experiences to offer for more tourists and travellers
the community itself should benefit from their visits.
the youths deserve to be able to work in their home town and not have to migrate to the coast, or that perilous back way.
Thank you for your persistence all of you in helping this dream develop. Take every chance you can to see it through. And I want to go on a tour with you in January !
Through this development in particular two of our main aims are being met
• To enable Janjanbureh and surrounding areas to develop responsible, sustainable pro-poor tourism for the benefit of the community whilst respecting the local culture, traditions and the natural environment
• To enable rural regeneration so the school population of today is assured of a prospering town sufficient to reduce rural /urban/ illegal migration