JEAN-PIERRE, CO-OWNER OF A DIVING CLUB AND MEMBER OF THE FIMIHARA STEERING COMMITTEE
Please note that the quotes included come directly from individuals interviewed. Sentences are edited a minimal amount to ensure clarity while maintaining the sentiments of the quotes as originally intended by the individuals
“The tourism operators should be included in the local management of the resources. It is easier to ask for money from hotels than to ask for money from individuals who live in the village. I’ll use a very clear and recent example: In 2018, we created a new reserve with FIMIHARA. This reserve was very costly. We had to pay for an inauguration, to bring in the authorities and journalists, and to hire an additional guard to work throughout the year. As a result, we ended up in the red at the end of 2018, and in 2019, we were not able to stay afloat. Our idea was to increase the ticket price [for the visit of the reserves] from Ar. 5,000 ($1.42) to Ar. 10,000 ($2.85), in exchange for advertising for the hotels. However, [the fokontany] made a decision to implement this decision in September, at a time when I did not attend the steering committee meeting, and when there were no hoteliers summoned. [This price increase] was incomprehensible for the hoteliers, as it was peak season for them. If I or a representative of the hoteliers were present, we would have said, “no, this is not feasible. If we [increase the ticket price], then we will immediately start war against hoteliers”. There must be representatives of the tourism operators [in these meetings] because the operators are part of the local community, and the hoteliers…are the first employers in the whole area. But you know very well that in Madagascar there is the colonial past that complicates the Malagasy and French relationships. [The integration] will only happen through the building of mutual trust. On the Malagasy side, this means more openness in what is meant by “community” and on the vazaha or foreigner side, this mean building and maintaining long-term trust with the Malagasy.”
“The women’s association is slowly rearranging the wharf. We recently cleaned everything up, fixed the windows, and added the lights. The only issue right now is that the power from the solar panels is not strong enough because there are two fridges, and the storage batteries do not have enough capacity to store the energy [from the solar panels]. We are currently saving, as a group, to purchase a strong enough storage battery and more solar panels. Hopefully, we’ll be able to open up the place in January. The re-opening of this wharf would be a huge opportunity for women and the fishers. Our plan is [that individuals can use this as] a cold chain to store meat, fish, or any product that requires ice, for a fee. This will also represent an opportunity for [economy of scale], because big buyers usually require a certain amount, but cannot buy from individual fishers that are dispersed. This place can be the location where we gather all of the fish. This is not for one person, or women only, but to help all people out of their misery. If they come from the sea, they can store their product for a small fee—not too expensive, but affordable. We also think about starting a restaurant of renown here so that people can enjoy local food right on the sea. We’ll clean it up and make it an enjoyable place to eat and hang out. We could also sell necklaces here.”
MIHARI will be launching their FisherWomen Leadership Program in 2020, in celebration of the Women’s History Month. This will be a national summit for women in the small-scale fisheries sector and have fisherwomen like Celine come together to share-out, inspire each-others, elevate their voices, and organize around their issues in the sector.
Find the article on Rebeka Ramangamihanta’s blog