24 October 2017

South Africa: Abalobi Scoops Social Innovation Awards

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has congratulated ABALOBI after scooping an award during the 2017 SAB Foundation Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards.

ABALOBI, 'small-scale fisher' in isiXhosa, is the name given to the mobile application suite by small scale fishers involved in the co-development process.

ABALOBI was named one of the award winners under the category of Social Innovation Awards at the 2017 SAB Foundation Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards ceremony held in Johannesburg on Monday evening.

The Non- Profit Organisation (NPO) was awarded this as recognition of the work done, potential in the work ahead and the social impact the initiative has on society.

The ABALOBI initiative aims to enable small scale fishing communities to be incorporated into information and resource networks, which include fishery monitoring and maritime safety to local development and market opportunities.

Spearheaded by a newly registered NPO known as ABALOBI NPO, the ABALOBI initiative seeks to empower small-scale fishing communities to use information and communication technologies (ICTs) to engage in a range of activities that enable them to participate fully, equitably and effectively in small-scale fisheries governance.

This initiative also aims to ensure equitable beneficiation through participation in a fully traceable, fair and inclusive value chain that secures equitable and sustainable seafood from "hook to cook", which is seafood with a social and ecological story.

The concept of ABALOBI was born out of brainstorming sessions between the University of Cape Town researchers, the national Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and several small-scale fisher community representatives.

This follows discussions on implementation of the Small Scale Fisheries Policy and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries.

In 2015, Minister Senzeni Zokwana endorsed and expressed his support for the ABALOBI mobile application suite and program as a tool that could give meaning to proper fisheries management, and in particular, the management of the small-scale fisheries sector that is currently being established.

The department said that this initiative enjoys the support of the department as its purpose is in line with the department's priorities of developing a sustainable small-scale fisheries sector.

"The department is very encouraged by the work that the ABALOBI NPO has done within such a relatively short space of time. The department pledges to continue working with ABALOBI in ensuring that small-scale fishers are empowered and that the objectives of the small-scale fisheries policy are realized," the department said in a statement.

About SAB Foundation

The SAB Foundation was launched in 2011 as part of the SAB Foundation's primary focus to ignite a culture of entrepreneurship in South Africa. To date, the programme has invested in 88 entrepreneurs and their innovations at a total investment of over R30 million.

Previous award winning innovations have improved efficiency and/or affordability in housing, health care, small holder farming techniques, education, medical diagnostics, waste disposal, township security, fire prevention, support for people with disabilities, among others.

The SAB Foundation Disability Empowerment Awards was added as a special award category in 2016. The category seeks and awards social enterprises, which have come up with innovative solutions which improve access to the economy for disabled people.

SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards 2017 prizes range from R150 000 to R1.2 million.

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