The most significant achievement during this period was the leading role that the organisation played in the Joint National Task Team that drafted the first ever small-scale fisheries policy in South Africa.
During this period Masifundise remained committed to a vision where rural fishing communities are fully integrated into the mainstream of the country’s economy and where the natural resources upon which their livelihoods depend is sustainably utilised. In setting out to achieve this vision Masifundise has used a people-centred development approach to organise, lobby and advocate for the legal recognition and mainstreaming of small-scale fishing communities. We adopted the following core operational areas:
- Lobbying and advocacy
- Organisation building
- Information and awareness
These programme areas are designed to bring about food sovereignty, livelihoods protection and the sustainability of natural marine resources. It has a unique interplay between socio-economic development, human rights protection as well as the protection of natural resources.
Doing this work Masifundise take political direction from the members of Coastal Links through their organised structures. In this manner the functioning of Coastal Links and Masifundise is intertwined. The Masifundise team and office resources are effectively used as the ‘secretariat of Coastal Links. In return Coastal Links is able to nominate 70% of the Masifundise Board members thus formalising an integrated relationship between the two groups. This integration has created a greater impact of our advocacy work.
This year Masifundise, together with Coastal Links, also completed an intensive new five year strategic plan. This new plan contains four key goals which the organisation started to work towards. These are:
- Consolidating Coastal Links as an independent organisation;
- Forming a national forum of traditional fishing communities;
- Promoting the mobilisation and organisation of fishing communities across the continent; and
- Strengthening our organisational structure and internal capacity.
The year 2010 was the first year towards achieving these goals.
During the period under review the organization embarked on a number of programmatic activities. These included advocacy campaigns, leadership workshops, organising fieldtrips and various related activities that supported and built on the work and development of Coastal Links and its ability to deliver on its organisational and livelihoods protection objectives. The small-scale fisheries policy formulation processes as well as the draft small-scale fisheries policy was also the subject of numerous workshops.
BUILDING WOMEN'S PARTICIPATION
A three-day “Women in Fisheries Workshop” was convened in Lamberts Bay. The primary aim of the workshop was to critically review the history of women in fisheries in South Africa, including the history of women’s organisation in fisheries. It was also important for the workshop to analyse the impact of the current small-scale fisheries policy on women and small-scale fishing communities, whilst also identifying strategies that would ensure that the envisaged new policy transforms the existing male-dominated and exploitative approach to fisheries. As a community-based organization it was imperative for Coastal Links to identify strategies that would strengthen women’s organisation from within. The workshop would ultimately develop a “gender agenda” for Coastal Links advocacy at a national and international level.
At the end of the workshop the participants developed a statement and plan of action. The statement recognised the fact that women continued to play a particularly important role in nurturing their communities but that it was becoming increasingly difficult for them to continue playing that role in the face of the violence, marginalisation and exclusion. This they attributed to the failure by government to recognise the rights of small-scale fishing communities. In terms of the action plan it was agreed by the participants that there needed to be co-ordinated action at all levels, including national, provincial and local government, at community level and within Coastal Links.
Many of the women who took part in this workshop were young women who are participants in the Youth Development Programme.
BUILDING CAPACITY WITHIN FISHERS MOVEMENT
Marine Protected Areas Workshop
This was a two-day national level workshop on Marine Protected Areas (MPA) and the impact of these areas on small-scale fishing communities in South Africa. It was the first time that a workshop focused on the social and human dimensions of marine protected areas as they pertain to fishing communities. Furthermore, no work had been undertaken to build the awareness of fishing communities in relation to MPAs, and of the international legal instruments which protect them.
The workshop provided a platform for people living in or near MPAs to interrogate the challenges they are confronted with at a national level and to ask questions to the relevant authorities present. Most importantly was the fact that they had the opportunity to demonstrate to the authorities that they care about marine resources and its preservation, and that given the chance they would gladly share their indigenous knowledge. The workshop ended with an adoption of a declaration that depicted a South African perspective on the management of MPAs.
Draft Small-Scale Fisheries Policy Workshop
The workshop was held in Kleinmond and its primary aims were to give feedback to Coastal Links members on the progress made by the task team in drafting the Small-Scale Fishing policy. It also provided the space to unpack the contents of the draft policy in anticipation of the public participation process and to prepare for the imminent fifth interim relief dispensation.
The National Joint Task Team members expressed their satisfaction at the fact that the draft policy was biased towards traditional and small-scale fishers and that it sought to address the injustices of the past. Furthermore, the draft policy contained most of the key elements as proposed by Coastal Links members and articulated in our meetings and workshops over the past few years.
Coastal Links and Youth Development Programme Workshop:
The workshop was held at the Lutheran Centre in Athlone. The workshop was a response to the resolution that was adopted at the last Annual General Meeting of Coastal Links, which called for the youth development programme to be extended to all Coastal Links towns. This call was premised on the sterling outcomes of the program in the South Coast. The workshop sought to unpack the contents of the youth development program to Coastal Links Executive members so that they could have a better understanding of the programme’s goals and the methodology used in its implementation. The workshop also served as a platform for youth leaders to have a better understanding of Coastal Links and Masifundise.
It was also important for the workshop to explore ways in which the youth program could be integrated into Coastal Links and how this integration would unfold. The content of the youth programme also had to be interrogated with the view of ensuring that it would respond to the challenges confronting young people from these coastal fishing communities.
BUILDING INSTITUTIONAL CAPACITY AND STRENGTH - COASTAL LINKS
Coastal Links is a community-based organisation that has organisational branches in 20 fishing communities in the Western Cape. Coastal Links is divided into three regions namely the North West Coast, South West Coast and the South Coast. The province of the Northern Cape operates as one region. In each four of the regions Coastal Links has established branches, and each branch has a committee with elected officials who represent them on the regional committee. Each region elects a regional chairperson, secretary and regional co-ordinator who collectively form the Coastal Links Executive Committee. As a consequence of its effective local branches, Coastal Links functions as an established mass based organisation in the majority of the rural fishing communities of the Western and Northern Cape.
Coastal Links has grown considerably. It has a verified membership of 1 893. This membership is in the Western and Northern Cape. The Coastal links annual general meeting of 2009 resolved to actively recruit in the Northern Cape with the view of building local structures so that it could become one of the Coastal Links regions. That resolution was successfully implemented as the Northern Cape is currently an active region of Coastal Links with effective local structures.
Institutional capacity continues to be a challenge for the leadership of Coastal Links. It is for this reason that they are continuously empowered through workshops on the importance of convening local committee meetings, keeping updated membership lists and keeping minutes of meetings with external stakeholders. Building capacity in these areas is extremely important for Coastal Links as they are at the core of any functioning organisation.
Our awareness raising campaign intensified during the second half of 2010. The campaign is in line with our new five year strategic plan (2010-2015). In line with the strategic plan, the campaign has three key objectives:
- To inform general Coastal Links members of regular work, duties and achievements of its leaders and Masifundise staff in order to ensure an informed and active membership;
- To maintain, inform and continuously mobilise membership participation in the organisation and to ensure increased accountability of the leadership;
- To inform and trigger the interest of outside people and stakeholders about the work and achievements of Masifundise and Coastal Links;
- To generate interest and participation in our advocacy work.
In our attempts to get the initiative off the ground we gathered data and compiled a database of all Coastal Links leaders. This we did with the assistance of Coastal Links leaders. This enabled us to send regular sms messages to leaders informing of the progress of our work, over the period starting in July until early December.
This proved to be a very useful strategy for the dissemination of information and the response we received was indeed positive. It is our intention to continue with this form of information dissemination whilst we monitor its progress along the way. As a result of the effectiveness of the exercise, coupled with the positive responses we decided to subscribe as an organisation to a bulk sms service provider.
On the 1st December 2010 we produced a “Vissers Net” edition in English, Afrikaans, Xhosa and Zulu. A total of 10 000 copies was printed 4 000 printed in Afrikaans, 2500 in English, 1 500 in IsiXhosa and 1 500 in IsiZulu. Producing it in these different languages meant that fishing communities in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal had the benefit of reading the newsletter in their indigenous language. The newsletter had inputs from a wide spectrum of people ranging from the fishers themselves from all four coastal provinces, Masifundise field staff, the program coordinator, the Masifundise Director as well as academics. This enabled us to end up with a well-balanced editorial in terms of content. The newsletter predominantly zoomed in on critical aspects of the policy making process, the contents of the draft itself and the impact of the interim relief dispensation on communities. It also gave insight on the impact of the restoration of Net Fishing Rights on the affected communities.
During this year Masifundise consolidated its role on the Provincial Development Council. We were nominated to serve on the Economic Development Specialist Committee and in this position was able to secure provincial government commitment to develop a pilot modelling process for the implementation of the new draft small-scale fishery policy. This project is currently well underway and is expected to be completed early in the new year.
Masifundise and Coastal Links strengthened our leading role internationally. We hold the chair of the World Forum of Fisher people and are continually called upon as the voice for small-scale fishing communities globally. This year we took part in the following international events:
- The first ever conference of African Fishery Ministers, organised by the African Union and held in Banjul, Gambia;
- A small-scale fishery exchange programme with indigenous fishing communities in Canada;
- International Fishers day conference in Isle d’Yeu in France;
- Women in small-scale fishing workshop held in Chennai, India;
- United Nations Conference of the Parties on Biodiversity (COP 10) held in Nagoya in Japan;
- Food Security for Communities depending on Natural Resources workshop held in Mali;
- Continental forum of partners of the Swedish Association for Nature Conservation held in Thika, Kenya.
This has been a momentous year for both Masifundise and Coastal Links. While Coastal Links remains dependent on Masifundise they have shown a greater commitment to plan, implement and monitor their programme on the ground. Coastal Links local branches also cemented a close relationship with their municipalities thus opening the door for better chances of support.
This year major strides were made and the new five year strategic plan has mapped the way forward in an exciting manner.