In The Hands Of The Fisherfolk Workshop #10
Resolving The Issue Of Industrial Trawlers In Local Waters, Developing Sustainable Livelihood Alternatives, & Appropriate Technologies
The 10th In the Hands of the Fisherfolks Workshop (IHOF) is an outcome of recommendations by the participants of the 3rd IHOF held in Trang, Thailand in 2000 to hold a follow-up meeting in a different region. The central theme of IHOF #3 revolved around strategies for excluding industrial trawlers in local fishing waters. Participants of IHOF #3 were also introduced to various sustainable livelihood alternatives implemented by local fisherfolk communities in Trang, Thailand, as a means of supplementing their household incomes during times of decreasing fish catches. These two themes resolving the trawler issue and sharing livelihood options and hands-on learning of appropriate technologies for coastal communities were woven into the fabric of IHOF #10.
Although the major themes of IHOF #3 and #10 were the same the workshops differed in format and method of facilitation. Changes were made based on recommendations of IHOF #3 participants as well as participants in other IHOF workshops as well. The most notable difference was that IHOF #10 was held directly in the small fisherfolk village of Kuala Indah, Asahan Regency, North Sumatera, a 4-hour drive from the provincial capital of Medan. In order to facilitate such a workshop, participants boarded directly with local fisherfolk in their homes.
All preparations, food, transportation, etc. were provided by local villagers and a small meeting center with a public rest-room was constructed in the village prior to the workshop. By locating the workshop in the village, IHOF #10 played a direct role in community development, providing infrastructure for future meetings and direct economic benefit to the local community (money that would have gone to hotel owners and restaurants is redirected to the fishing village). There were also notable changes in demonstrating sustainable livelihood alternatives and appropriate technologies (which MAP calls its “Toolkit” program). At IHOF #3, participants had the opportunity to tour two different coastal villages (4 groups visiting a total of 8 villages) to witness local examples of coastal livelihood options. IHOF #10 involved participants in a more “handson” manner in the “toolkit” demonstrations.
Due to the lack of variety of local livelihood options, participants from Thailand and Malaysia were also asked to present hands-on livelihood demonstrations. Another change began a month before the IHOF workshop as an improved cookstove workshop was held in order to provide local villagers of Kuala Indah and Gombus Laut (a neighboring village) with new experiences using appropriate technologies. After only a month of familiarity with use, building and dissemination of improved cookstoves, two local groups were able to lead a wonderful demonstration of improved cookstoves during IHOF. Again in this scenario IHOF is contributing directly to local community development.
Although living conditions in a remote fishing village are obviously not as comfortable as an airconditioned hotel, the organizers felt that the trade-offs were worth the lost sleep. Financially, IHOF #10 cost less than most other IHOF workshops, and there was more of an opportunity for interaction with local community, as participants gained first-hand understanding of life in a remote fishing village in North Sumatera.