Forming alternative livelihood out of cheap resources

There are 26,426 municipal fishers that reside in the Verde Island Passage. However, the scope of the water is unable to support more than 50% of them.  Hence, fisher's organizations need to help the fishers find alternative means of income. 

SMARTSeas, along with other funding organizations, was able to provide an alternative livelihood that can support the community while practicing sustainability. Training activities, such as weaving and soapmaking classes, were provided to the members of SMST and SMBB. The purpose of this building block is to empower the citizens and reduce illegal fishing, by establishing other sources of income for family sustenance.

A strong relationship among the fisher's organizations and the implementing agencies is critical to enable the success of this building block. Aside from communication, trust must be developed among the members and stakeholders since they will be working closely toward a sustainable livelihood and healthy marine ecosystem. Furthermore, it is essential that the threats (e.g. plastics and overfishing) and opportunities (e.g. rich resources in coconuts) in the passage are recognized to formulate a strategic plan that fit the circumstance of VIP.

Introducing alternative livelihoods to local communities are better welcomed if the investment is economical for the target community. Single-use plastics are pervasive in San Teodoro, which is why SMST was able to acclimatize themselves in upcycling plastics to bags for a living. On the other hand, coconuts are also widespread in Barangay Bagalangit and throughout VIP; hence, SMBB was able to produce coconut-based hygiene and aesthetic products. 

Lastly, it is paramount that the fisher's organizations or other small local groups are involved throughout the whole process and that they can contribute to the planning. With this, they can initiate sustainable projects by themselves in the future.