C o m m o n w e a l t h
A s s o c i a t i o n o f
M u s e u m s
CAM Bulletin Number 4 - May, 1998
GCAM Column #1
GCAM is intended to be a beginning for more programmes and projects that will encourage African children to enjoy and learn through museums and will give them confidence in their own rich cultural heritage along with a respect for all cultures. The unique ability of museums to provide education and enjoyment in multi-dimensional ways can serve them not only as children but also as adults in a contemporary world which demands learning throughout our lives.
The GCAM Column will help to share the activity and ideas of GCAM within the network and with others in the Commonwealth. This first column will outline briefly what is expected from the activities of the GCAM network and list the names of the National Co-ordinators of the programme.
As expressed in the Declaration GCAM will share ideas, initiate, link, encourage, support and monitor children's programmes across Africa to meet the needs and aspirations of young Africans.
This statement includes within it many of the tasks taken on by the GCAM members. They will:
- develop children's programmes for their own museums and share their ideas with others in their own countries and in the GCAM network
- as National Co-ordinators, develop the GCAM network nationally and internationally
- as National Co-ordinators, work to maintain contact with other museum educators and directors interested and involved in children and museums in their countries and encourage them to actively support children's programming; maintain and circulate a list of interested members and contact addresses, numbers, etc.
- as National Co-ordinators, actively share news about activities in their country with other GCAM Co-ordinators and members across Africa, particularly Commonwealth countries
- interact and talk directly with African children to find out about their needs and expectations and involve them in planning and carrying out programmes and in making museums more children friendly, i.e. more interesting, inviting and accessible
- establish and maintain ongoing contact and collaborate with teachers, parents and care-givers to develop the best programmes for children
- identify and collaborate with NGO's involved in children's rights and welfare issues to develop the best programmes for children
- work with community leaders, elders and others to develop children's programmes around community interests and concerns
- monitor and evaluate the success of GCAM activities and children's programmes
- publicize the successful programmes and activities of museums and GCAM through local and national press and through the CAM Bulletin
GCAM Co-ordinators and members can achieve more successful programmes with modest funding by being able to share ideas and in some cases resources to bring to Africa's children pride in their heritage and courage and understanding in meeting the challenges of their world.
In the eloquent words of one delgate: "I enjoyed each and every moment of the workshop. To me it was like a dream come true. I have always looked forward to a time when an African child will benefit from the history if his/her forefathers. In my opinion, the forgotten audience needs to be given the utmost attention it requires in order to promote the continuation of our forefathers African being, and museums are the most appropriate institutions to build and consolidate this idea."
Another is encouraged by the positive interest and response of the Minister who is promoting collaboration among ministries of the government and has asked the workshop participant to come up with ideas for implementation.
Still another began quickly to talk to the children that came to her museum and engage them in a simple questionnaire.
WE ARE ON OUR WAY
It is a commitment which will involve all of us in more work but, when we are successful, the rewards will so far outweigh the burden that we will be greatly encouraged and inspired. Those of us from outside Africa, Carole Mahoney, Robert Hall and myself will assist in any way that we can.
The Gambia: Baba Ceesay
Ghana: Joe Nkrumah, supported by Kofi Kpikpitse (to be confirmed)
Nigeria: Dorothy Elewachi Wamah, supported by Gloria Chuma-Ibe
Uganda: Rose Nkaale Mwanja
Kenya: Fredrick Karanja
Tanzania: Lucina Shayo
Zimbabwe: Rufaro Mahonde
Malawi: Michael Gondwe
Botswana: Nakiso Kubanji
Mozambique: Alda Costa
Namibia: Willa Le Roux
Zambia: Charity Manukoko Salasini
South Africa: Khanyile Jezi, supported by Graham Dominy
International Co-ordinator: Emmanuel Nnakenyi Arinze, Nigeria, supported by Lois Irvine, Canada.