In a bid to help boost the economic conditions of the participating People’s Organizations (POs) in the covered regions, the Fisheries, Coastal Resources, and Livelihood (FishCORAL) Project embarks on another level of strengthening the capacity building approach and livelihood assistance by introducing a gender-responsive enterprising known as the Aqua-base Business School with Gender and Climate Change perspective (ABS-GCC).
The ABS is a simple yet comprehensive learning technique that builds market-driven capacity and brings in to the picture the insight of business operations that the fisherfolk can venture into aside from capture fishing. ABS is a gender-responsive approach as it empowers both men and women to be self-sufficient and is responsive to both gender’s needs through entering into a business and capacitating fisherfolk by responsibly utilizing the communities’ natural resources and identifying market needs and innovations to respond to the needs/gaps.
In 2017, the FishCORAL started conducted the training of facilitators in the regions of Eastern Visayas, Caraga, and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Drafting of manuals and other materials was done as well in the same year. By April 2018, the first enrollee of the program was listed in ARMM, this was the official beginning of the pilot implementation of the ABS in 36 sites. As to date, a total of 499 individuals across the three regions were enrolled in ABS in which 61% are women and 15% are youths.
Come in the last quarter of 2018, both Region 8 and ARMM already conducted the Stakeholders’ Validation Meeting (SVM). SWM is a discussion and sharing of value chain assessment among the facilitators, PO representatives, partners and stakeholders, and potential Business Development Service (BDS) providers. This is an output of Module 4 – Identifying and prioritizing market opportunities.
In ARMM, the SVM was conducted in Cotabato City last November 2018. The activity attended by POs, partners and stakeholders in Matuber in Maguindanao and Bakikis in Lanao del Sur, ABS facilitators, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
During the ABS-SVM, technical knowledge on the characteristics of mangrove crabs as well as DTI’s agency’s Negosyo Center were discussed in detail. Mangrove crab chain map outputs of the POs of Matuber and Bakikis were also presented as part of the regular updating,
Meanwhile, the SVM in Region was done in Tacloban City last December 2018. Participants were the ABS groups in Samar and Eastern Samar. Respective ABS facilitators presented the identified supply and market chain and gaps, constraints, and opportunities of mussel production and processing in Jiabong, Samar; cassava production in Marabut, Samar; bangus culture in Basey, Samar; grouper culture in Salcedo, Eastern Samar; cassava production and processing in Balangiga, Eastern Samar; and seaweed production in General McArthur, Eastern Samar.
A round table discussion with Agricultural Chief I of Leyte Marine Bio Toxins Testing Center (Provincial Government of Leyte) was also carried out to confer the opportunities for partnership with Aqua-Based Business School groups and the FishCORAL Project.
The activity in Region 8 concluded through action planning facilitated by Dr. Julieta Roa, a consultant of ABS from Visayas State University. Dr. Roa emphasized the need for the revision of the work plan and the importance of secondary data.
All in all, the activity in two regions presented the results of the assessment of the main chain actors, service providers, and stakeholders involved. This is both to share the results and to receive feedback and input needed for prioritization in Targeting and Testing Potential Innovations (Module 5 of the ABS Manual). The event also provided the opportunity to share and correct the information gathered from the field visits and interviews with different chain actors.
Written by: Leo Abuda and Sammy Ayub, Knowledge Management Officers (Region VIII and ARMM)