By Shakira Thebus
Due to several threats facing the oceanic environment, an alternative form of livelihood and income will be offered through entrepreneurial and skills development as well as technical training. This week saw the official launch of the Ocean View Alternative Livelihoods Cooperative (OVAL), an initiative spearheaded by the Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Institute (FADI) and funded by the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) through its government-funded program Operation Phakisa. OVAL aims to create alternative livelihood opportunities for the mostly fishing community of Ocean View.
FADI’s project manager Suleiman Appoles said coastal communities are showing deeper levels of poverty due to a decline in fishing stock due illegal fishing, overfishing, poaching, and quotas not making it a viable income.
“We find that poor fishermen are becoming poorer, and alternative livelihoods is about creating an opportunity alternate to fishing. Its not to replace fishing as an income but as an alternative to supplement fishing,” added Appoles.
Appoles said that communities that have been left marginalized by the declines in the economic sector and have been targeted for the initiative.
CEO of FADI, Jeremy Marillier said the NGO was established over three years ago to provide alternative development interventions and capacity building to mostly coastal fishing communities.
“Governments small scale fisheries policy is definitely not the panacea to end poverty and other development challenges in communities and hence we’ve embarked on this pilot (project) within Ocean View, Saldanha Bay and Kenton on Sea.”
Participants have for the last 12 to 16 weeks have already received entrepreneurial training and the outcome will see participants start their own viable, value- added businesses to provide additional income to their family and communities.
Participants will also be taught scarce skills in construction work, such as bricklaying, basic paving and scaffolding.
Around 50 people were in attendance for launch of the OVAL cooperative program.
“With this project, we are taking back our community by uplifting it ourselves because we know and see what is happening in and around our communities and we know that we cannot always rely on the government. We need to find alternative ways of empowering ourselves and building our own communities up,” said one of the participants present at the launch.
The launch included addresses by Suleiman Appoles who provided an overview of the project, SAIMI’s Director of Operations, Soraya Aartman, and Gaamiem Thebus of the Ottery Skills Training Centre among others. The event concluded with a cultural display and spoken word poetry by international performer Nina Alexia Brazzo. VOC