Between 2007- 2010, our work with fishing communities in the Eastern and KwaZulu Natal Provinces included four provincial workshops with leaders from more that 40 fishing communities; one national conference hosted by government in 2007 with representatives from more than 60 fishing communities; and five national workshops hosted by ourselves with representatives from more than 70 fishing communities. Furthermore, we have conducted initial fieldwork in ten out of the approximately 90 fishing communities in the Eastern and KwaZulu Natal Provinces, and we work closely together with researchers and organisations involved with the communities in these provinces.
In order to ensure the rights of fishing communities at the national level, it has became imperative that we intensify our work in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal Provinces. The level of mobilisation and organisation in these provinces is at an embryonic stage, and we believe that we have a moral and ethical obligation as a development organisation to provide support in these communities so that they can reclaim the right to access their marine resources.
Earlier this year, we secured funding from a Danish funder to offer a more substantial programme and to have a stronger presence in both KZN and the EC.
Sithembiso Gwaza is heading up this programme and we are pleased to announce that we have appointed two (2) Community Development Workers to work with us. Sam Simangaliso Masingo from Kosi – Bay in KZN, will be based in Kosi Bay and will work along the coast to Port Shepstone. Arch- Advisor Mcebisi Kraai from Mthatha in the Eastern Cape will be based in Mthatha and his work will cover the Eastern Cape coastline, from Port St John’s to Cape St Francis. Both Sam and Mcebisi joint the Masifundise team on the 20 June 2011.
Over the next few weeks, the programme will include field trips to some communities in the Eastern Cape and KZN areas, to introduce the programme and the new staff and to complete a base- line study. The next edition in September will offer more information and an update on how the programme is progressing.