In May 2015, Masifundise Development Trust entered into a partnership with the European Union.
The partnership will set out to create 2000 jobs within 20 small-scale fisher communities in South Africa and this was linked to the implementation of the Small-Scale Fisheries Policy (SSFP).
“The first year of the project, was challenging because of it being directly linked to the implementation of the Small-Scale Fisheries Policy,” commented Mandla Gqamlana, project manager for this partnership.
“We had to tweek and hold back on a number of activities as we did not want to shoot ourselves in the foot by implementing activities yet the policy has not even taken shape when it comes to implementation,” Gqamlana continued.
The first year of the partnership saw Masifundise, conducting a baseline survey of communities’ resources and skills, embarking on exchange visits, the production of a cooperative manual and a video on best practises of co-operatives.
“The activities that we undertook in the first year, were to prepare our stakeholders for what is to come,” Gqamlana said.
The Partnership, a three-year plan, is now in its second year of implementation and these are the expected outcomes.
With the aim to create jobs and securing sustainable livelihoods through the implementation of the policy, Masifundise will now embark on training workshops relating to small-scale fisher community based entities and co-management of resources.
Communities will receive training on how to start up and manage legal based entities. They will also be capacitated so that they can be able to engage in co-management of fisheries.
“Our main aim is to increase the skills capacity of our fishing communities, we need them to fully benefit from the SSFP” said Gqamlana. “We also need to make sure that the involvement of youth and women in fishing activity increases,” he continued.
The Partnership between Masifundise and the EU is set to end in 2017. The ultimate goal is to see Small-Scale Fishing communities having empowered cooperatives, scale up and fast track economic development and job creation and to improve cooperation with the Department of Agriculture and Forestry and the department of Trade and Industry.
These, will be achieved only if Masifundise, the small-scale fisheries communities and the above mentioned departments work together and assist each other in the effective implementation of the SSFP.