The 7th General Assembly (GA7) of the World Forum of Fisher People (WFFP) is approaching and the National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF), the Indian organization who will host the assembly in Delhi, has organized a number of fundraising campaigns rooted in the principles of Food Sovereignty and grassroot activism that are central to WFFP’s political soul.
In order to raise the money necessary to host the hundreds of delegates coming from more than 40 countries for the GA7, the NFF promoted some initiatives, of which the most important is the “One Fish, One Fishworker Campaign”. The idea behind the campaign is simple, yet strong: during the campaign days, the NFF is asking to each fisher to donate one fish from their catch. The earning deriving from the selling of that fish will contribute to funding the GA7.
More than Rs 5 Lakhs, equivalent to hundred thousand rand, have already been raised through the “One Fish, One Fishworker” campaign. “The entire leadership is overwhelmed with the response from the community, especially the women, while some have pledged to contribute more, others have promised to be in Delhi on the 21st of November to celebrate the World Fisheries Day along with fishing community leaders from 40 countries from around the globe who will be the international delegates for the WFFP GA7”, said Narendra Patil, Chairperson of NFF to NP24.
NFF General Secretary T. Peter, who lead the collection in his home district, stated: “I am overwhelmed by the support extended by my brethren. They are donating their best catch. The campaign has found an instant connect with them”. The campaign build on the self-organization and mobilization of the fishing communities, who see the importance of a summit such as the WFFP GA7 and decided to contribute directly towards making it happen: “We are not approaching big shots for money. In fact, ours is an approach which was followed by the Communist parties in the past,” said Peter.
Another interesting fundraising initiative for the GA7 is the one promoted by Vijayan family in Delhi, who are producing pickled jumbo prawns, seer fish and chicken. The proceed from the sales will contribute to the organising the GA7. “My target is to raise Rs 1 Lakh from the sales of pickle. I received good responses from socially conscious people from across the country. Even the fish merchants in INA market in Delhi are keen to buy pickle from me after I told them about my intention”, said Mr Vijayan. Besides supporting NFF’s efforts, this initiative also builds on Food Sovereignty, promoting the consumption of local products and valuing the food producers.
Other fundraising actions organized by NFF include sea food festivals in Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi, to raise resources as well as create awareness about the issues faced by fishing communities, auctioning of paintings and sculptures, photo exhibitions and theatre performances.
All these events aim not only at raising money for the GA7, but also at giving profile to Small-Scale Fishers and the issues they face locally and globally. The fundraising campaigns of the NFF represent a good example that fisherfolk around the world can follow.