Ghana’s small pelagic fisheries – known in Ghana as “the people’s fish” – are critical to its economy and food security. Fish make up over 60 percent of the protein in local diets, and hundreds of thousands of people rely on the fishing sector for their livelihoods.
However, these precious fish stocks—vital to Ghana and the region— are collapsing off the country’s coast. There is urgent need for new, collaborative solutions for sustainable fisheries management, to combat severe overfishing and protect the country’s fisherfolk. The decline of the nation’s marine fisheries poses a grave threat to Ghana’s coastal communities, economy, and vulnerable populations.
The USAID/Ghana Sustainable Fisheries Management Project (SFMP), led by the University of Rhode Island’s Coastal Resources Center (CRC), seeks to improve the management of coastal fisheries, rebuild vital fish stocks, and improve the post-harvest fish value chain.
As a partner on SFMP, Resonance leads private sector partnership development, access to finance, and market development initiatives to improve livelihoods for fisherfolk across Ghana’s four coastal regions.
Key activities include:
- Partnership Development to Pilot Microinsurance for the Fishing Sector: Resonance facilitated a partnership between SFMP, two local insurance companies (Millennium Insurance and miLife Insurance), and Vodafone Ghana to design, launch, and pilot a microinsurance/savings program known as the Fishers’ Future Plan (FFP). The FFP was designed as a safety net for a vulnerable sector – helping fisherfolk weather lean or closed fishing seasons by saving in small, regular increments for children’s school fees, medical or family emergencies, and eventual retirement. Through the FFP, fisherfolk are able to allocate roughly 80% of their monthly premiums as savings – accruing monthly interest – while putting the remaining 20% toward insurance. The FFP uses a mobile money platform facilitated by Vodafone Cash.
- Market Development for an Improved Cookstove: After catch, most fish are sold to fish processors, processed in smoking sheds, and packaged for sale in domestic and regional markets. In Ghana, over 30,000 women make a living as fish processors, smoking fresh fish over hot, smoky ovens. Working around the ovens, the women and their children breathe in this smoke for hours each day. Under SFMP, Resonance supported demand creation, market development, and access to finance for an improved cookstove – called the Ahotor oven. The Ahotor is a healthier and more environmentally efficient stove, using less fuel and emitting less smoke than traditional ovens.
- Access to Finance for Women Fish Processors: Resonance established a network of Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) for women fish processors, and we unlocked low-interest loans for women fish processing businesses.
- Cross-Continental Learnings for the Fishing Sector: Throughout our time on SFMP, Resonance has supported initiatives to open international dialogue on best practices for sustainable fisheries management. Our work in this area includes the design and facilitation of an international study tour, as well as a leading role in coordinating Ghana-based activities under the USAID-funded Learning Initiative on Women’s Empowerment, Access to Finance, and Sustainable Fisheries, with pilot sites in Ghana, Indonesia, and the Philippines.