Markets and localisation: Empowering Turkana fisherfolk in Kenya

By Fie Lauritzen, Senior Humanitarian Policy Advisor, DCA

Strengthening local markets and enabling access for poor marginalised groups to sell their products is a key priority for DanChurchAid.

In Turkana district in North West Kenya, DCA works through a local partner, Sapcone, that is helping Kenyan pastoralists - who are losing their livelihoods due to climate change—to become fishermen. The project supports local engagement and facilitates linkages to value chains beyond the local context.

Through the project the fishing groups have been supported to buy better fishing boats and fishing equipment as well as improving their business models and market agency. This has reduced their vulnerability to exploitation by middlemen and improved their profits enabled them to better support their families and local communities.

Working through local partners can reinforce communities’ ownership of project activities and enhance their potential to become confident market actors. Trust plays an important role in market relationships, which can be facilitated through local civil society.

DCA in turn, as an international organisation, can provide valuable capacity, transfer knowledge and connect local organisations and communities to international actors. Trust and quality in partnerships with local communities and with local partners are key pillars of ensuring effective and sustainable results.

The Humanitarian Practice Network (HPN) / Overseas Development Institute (ODI) recently published an article jointly written by Xaver Wegler, former intern in DCA, and Lucia Epur Lebasha from Sapcone.

The article eloquently connects local value chains, markets and localisation and demonstrates how good quality programming, strong partnerships from local to global levels and community engagement have improved the resilience of poor fisher communities.

Some key takeaways:

  • Strengthening local value chains helps people to take ownership of development processes and reap the benefits that come from being linked with key actors and being connected to the market.
  • Supporting the market agency of fisherfolk groups contributes to reducing exploitation by middlemen. This enables fishing communities to be recognised locally and empowers them to work with business models, market their produce and have bigger profit margins.
  • Working through local partners can reinforce communities’ ownership of project activities and enhance their potential to become confident market actors. Trust plays an important role in market relationships, which can be facilitated through local civil society.
  • International organisations can provide valuable capacity, transfer knowledge, and connect local organisations and communities to international actors. Local civil society has an important role to play in mediating external concepts to make them applicable in the local context.

Read the article here:

https://odihpn.org/blog/markets-and-localisation-empowering-turkana-fisherfolk-in-kenya/