A partnership for the financial education of fishers across the country was launched by the Department of Agriculture, through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, BDO Foundation, and the Fish Right Program of the US Agency for International Development.
The collaboration will offer training to fishers on topics, such as saving and budgeting, supplementary income sources, and the proper use of micro-loans and micro-insurance to help break the vicious cycle of poverty and natural resource depletion.
The BSP and BDO Foundation are building on their experience from their previous partnerships with government agencies to promote financial education and consumer protection, as part of the national strategy for financial inclusion, a press release furnished the DAILY STAR yesterday said.
The Fish Right Program will support the design of the financial education module and its roll-out with fishing communities.
Patrick Wesner, deputy mission director of USAID Philippines said that “through the Fish Right program, we hope to build the capacity of more than 25,000 fishers with the intent to reach even more with the help of our partner NGOs and universities in Calamianes Island Group, South Negros, and the Visayan Sea.”
The Fish Right Program is implemented by the University of Rhode Island and a consortium of organizations, including PATH Foundation Philippines Inc. and Silliman University in Dumaguete City.
“Providing our underserved fishers, especially the women, with knowledge and skills to manage their finances well is so much aligned with our mission of promoting community empowerment and alleviating poverty,” Dr. Angel Alcala, PFPI president and chairman of the Board of Trustees, said.
“We at PFPI believe that no matter how meager fishers’ incomes are, prudent spending and saving decisions could help them achieve financial health, participate more in efforts to conserve our marine resources – their source of livelihood – and be better partners towards attaining sustainable and resilient fisheries,” he added.
SU president Betty Cernol-McCaan said the financial education program is part of an array of knowledge tools for fishers to help extricate themselves from the clutches of poverty and release the instinctive pressure to overfish our fragile marine ecosystems.
The partners’ joint implementation of the project has started with the development of a customized financial education training module. A system to measure the effect of the training on fishers’ financial behavior and continuously improve it will also be established. BFAR and civil society organizations will undertake a training of trainers to properly cascade the module to fishers, and BFAR will embed the module into its technical training programs nationwide, the press release said.*