The Garfinkle-Minard Foundation commits to provide ,000 in the first year of seed funding for Yarum Jen, a local aquaculture expert and local village in Senegal to start a social enterprise in sustainable aquaculture to address their immediate problems: diminished food protein intake, over-exploitation of caught fish resources, and lack of economic opportunity.
A pilot project will be launched with the aim of building a social enterprise through sustainable aquaculture production of tilapia in a rural village in Senegal, West Africa. This will be led by local aquaculture experts in concert with a local NGO, Tostan, and the University of Dakar. The second phase will begin in fall 2007 with technical training of villagers and an initial project implementation phase of environmental testing to confirm the feasibility study outcomes and of capacity building activities led by Tostan. In January 2008, the core components of the capacity building modules will be put in place by Tostan. In the spring of 2008, the pilot project infrastructure will be purchased and installations will begin.
To date, three members of the village have undergone technical training and subsequent trainings are being planned with the assistance of FAO technical expertise. A site visit was planned to set up the project as a social enterprise, to be called RaiseFish, and as an NGO, to be called Yarum Jen, in accordance with Senegalese law.
The villages in this part of Senegal, a zone called the Gandiole, have depended on agriculture and fishing for their own sustenance and for products to sell locally in the nearby Saint Louis and Potou markets for many years. In 2004, the government spontaneously decided to break through the land barrier separating the river from the ocean called the 'Langue de Barbarie,' a National Park, in order to prevent the nearby city of Saint Louis from inundation during the rainy season. Unfortunately, the potential negative side effects of this action were not sufficiently assessed, and all of the villages along the river, or approximately 2,000 people, who live south of this new breech and whose livelihoods are inextricably linked to the river, are now increasingly threatened as the breech continues to widen with the force of the ocean. As a result of the breech, all the river water is now permanently saline and most of the wells, which connected on the first water table, can no longer be used for irrigating crops. In addition, most of the fish species in the river (formerly brackish water) have been drawn out to sea or migrated up river.
Another unintended outcome of the river breech is migration of most of the village's young men (the core of the labor force for catching fish and farming) in search of work--some of them risking their lives by traveling in small fishing boats to foreign destinations. The villagers left behind still try to farm vegetables, but hopes are quickly diminishing--in light of their changing ecosystem and endemic unemployment--that their efforts will be enough to continue to provide for them, let alone for future generations.
SEEKING: The Foundation is seeking partners for funding to continue to sustainability phase of the pilot project, which includes funding a documentary on erosion and integrated approaches to development, for infrastructure to facilitate access to drinking water and funding for partner Tostan to ensure the expansion of integrated model to the 11 surrounding villages. The Foundation is also looking for partners to build on to the villagers' capacity to improve their livelihoods by providing matching funds or low cost access to technologies such as drip irrigation, solar electricity, and sustainable infrastructure to preserve the coastline from erosion. The Foundation is also seeking media/marketing opportunities.
OFFERING: The Garfinkle-Minard Foundation is developing best-practice materials for village-based sustainable aquaculture in conjunction with Tostan that will be made publicly available.