ICT4D Seminars - Abalobi

At latst month's ICT4D SeminarDr. Serge Raemaekers from the department of Environment and Geographical Sciences at UCT had the pleasure of presenting on the Abalobi initiative. Abalobi means 'fisher' in isiXhosa, it is an open, transdisciplinary and social learning project, bringing together various stakeholders. The initiative aims at developing and providing a set of pratical tools to enable and empower the governence of small-scale fisheries by the community members themselves.

Dr. Raemaekers together with many other members, incluing members of small-scale fisheries throughout South Africa, played an influential role in taking the government to Equality Court in 2005, fighting for the rights of small-scale fishers who had previously been excluded from the Marine Linving Resources Act, 1998. This eventually resulted in the creation of the Small-scale Fisheries Policy in 2012, which finally provide small-scale fishers with legal recognition. The policy places the management of fisher communities and their resources in the hands of the community members as a form of empowering members as well as promoting the self-development of fisher communities. The recently signed Marine Living Resources Amendment Act of 2014, lays the foundation for the implementation of the small-scale fisheries policy.

Abalobi is an intergrated catch management system for small-scale fisheries, built using the OpenDataKit platform. It aims to replace the current paper based collection method, by making use of mobile phones as tools for data collection. The current application was developed and designed with the involvement of several fisher communites in South Africa and is currently being piloted in 5 fisher communites along the coasts of the Northern and Western Cape. There are plans to expand on the functionality of the application which include a means of putting fishers in contact with retailers, in order for fishers to able to sell any excess catch that may have.

Links to the seminar video, where Dr Raemaekers explains the initiative further, slides and pictures can be found below.