In The Hands of The Fishers Workshop #12
Simeulue Island Aceh
The In The Hands of the Fishers (IHOF) workshop is a fisherfolk to fisherfolk environmental education programme that promotes sustainable development through the empowerment of fisherfolk to manage coastal resources in a sustainable manner. IHOF promotes coastal resource conservation and wise use of resources for the improvement of fishers’ livelihoods utilizing community-based or collaborative management arrangements. IHOF participants are selected from local community fisher leaders, grassroots NGOs and occasionally local government officials, from various nations, which contain mangrove forests and face the threats of unsustainable developments, such as industrial shrimp aquaculture and over fishing by commercial trawlers.
Participants attend a four to six day workshop in order to exchange ideas, share experiences and skills, and help design and later implement those various options or solutions which are reached during these workshops.
To date, twelve IHOF workshops have been held in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The workshops are continually being refined and are evolving to becoming more participatory, informal, regional and topic focused. Major topics from IHOF workshops have included mangrove restoration, overcoming illegal trawler fishing, consortium forming, community involvement in marine protected area management, and development of sustainable livelihood alternatives. There has been an attempt to move the workshop setting from hotels to rural settings near the participating communities, or even into the community itself.
There is also a greater focus on field-based learning, both viewing successful working models as well as participating in hands-on learning activities. Facilitators oten include fisherfolk themselves, to encourage fisherfolk to fisherfolk sharing and exchange. There has also been a realization of the need to incorporate seed funds for follow-up projects, allowing participants to test newly learned skills by practical application in their village setting. In summary, the workshops are sensitively adjusted to make the training experience “In the Hands of the Fishers” more suitable to the needs of the fisher participants.