Introducing financial literacy to fishing communities

By: Bachori Dhian Pratama

In the last 8 years, MDPI has been working alongside coastal communities in carrying out community development programs, especially in the field of sustainable fisheries. Starting with Fair Trade program implementation as a way to improve fishers’ economy, MDPI has now expanded its scope of work through community capacity building programs related to financial management and gender inclusion to increase the role of women and young people in developing coastal economy.

The focus of MDPI in financial literacy training is to help fishing communities further understand the concept of financial management, so that they are able to survive and overcome unexpected events such as natural disasters, epidemics, off-season fishing, illness, and accidents at sea. Moreover, we aim to establish a relation between finantial literacy with sustainable fisheries. The concept being: fishing families with sufficient knowledge in financial management will be able to make the appropriate decisions as to when they should take a loan for fishing operational costs. For a long time now, fishers have been taking out loans so that they can go fishing, with little consideration going into the actual amount of loan that they have accumulated.

In order to conduct a proper training in financial literacy and gender inclusion, MDPI took preparatory steps to equip and enrich our team prior to providing assistance on the ground, through a Training of Trainer (ToT) that took place in Bali, December 5-8th, 2021 for 16 of our staff members. Unlike the usual ToTs, this time we wanted our team to be directly involved in conceptualizing a game, as a fun learning tool for fishing communities. The game “Si Keong Nelayan or Simulasi Kelola Oeang Nelayan” will be registered as a trademark of MDPI and serves as a conventional simulation game for fishing communities, allowing for a more elaborate and fun way of understanding financial management, gender inclusivity, and sustainable fisheries. The game has since been put on trial runs, involving some of the fisher associations in Buru, Maluku; Ternate, North Maluku; and Talawaan Bajo, North Sulawesi to collect inputs on technicalities of the game and other additions necessary to the improvement of the game. Once finalized, our team will begin to roll out trainings for all fishing communities that we work with.

At the moment, MDPI is preparing the overall training, in addition to providing coaching sessions for fishers involved in cooperative management, including our fisher champions as well, to further improve on organizing and book-keeping. All fisher champions, women champions, and young champions associated with fisher cooperatives have been provided with the necessary coaching, thus enabling them to perform their own book-keeping, which have also improved their understanding of their roles and responsibilities within to cooperative.