The West African Museums Programme commonly called WAMP is an independent regional Non-Governmental Organisation whose mission is to contribute to the development of museums in West Africa through capacity building, the development of a network of museum professionals cutting across language and geographic barriers. It was created in 1982 in Abidjan under the initiative of the late Philip RAVENHILL who was the first Executive Director until 1987. That year, WAMPS Headquarters was transferred to Dakar and Dr. Claude Daniel ARDOUIN, former Director of the National Museum of Mali became its director. The Headquarters is relocated to Niamey (NIGER) from January, 2009 to may 2013.
In 1992, the West African Museums Project became a full-fledged Programme and in 1995 Dr Alexis Adande, Professor at the National University of Benin, succeeded Claude Ardouin. The transition from a project to a programme marked the expansion of WAMP’s activities. Its current Executive Director, Dr Boureima Tiékoroni Diamitani, art historian, former Director of Burkina Faso Cultural Heritage came into office in May 2001.
Since its inception in 1982 as a project, WAMP has achieved remarkable recognition through assisting museums in West Africa. Cumulated results of the last twenty eight (28) years have had a great impact on museum professionals in West Africa. The successes of WAMP during these years include thirty seven (37) national projects and twenty (20) regional projects. WAMP is actively engaged in the publication of a series of annual bulletins, seminar activities and video recordings of WAMP projects. WAMP was the first African organisation based in Africa and specifically aimed at developing private, community, specialist and public museums in West Africa.
WAMP maintains relations with more than 200 museums of all the West Africa countries (Benin, Burkina, Cape Verde, Cote d’ivoire, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo. Cameroon is also part of the WAMP countries of action. The organization also collaborates with museums and institutions outside these countries). WAMP is an active partner in African and cultural initiatives. WAMP has acquired a world reputation as a known institution, a leader in the system of assistance to West African museums and a worthy partner.
This is how the organisation has contributed to the establishment of dynamic networks and is today recognised as an instrument of regional integration as attested by its status as an observer in ECOWAS and its partnership with the African Union on cultural issues. It is an active partner in the continent’s cultural initiatives. All its action in favour of museums and their professionals have been made possible by financial support from partners like FORD FOUNDATION, ROCKEFELLER FOUNDATION, SWEDISH INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY (SIDA), GETTY FOUNDATION, UNESCO, OSIWA EUROPEAN UNION. Through its programmes, WAMP was able to develop advisory and expertise tools for different institutions and stakeholders; and updating the qualifications of professionals through conferences and workshops.