The fisheries industry provides employment for more than 600,000 people in Senegal, and fish are a critical source of nutrition in this country, where 30 percent of rural households experience food insecurity. Artisanal fishers, who catch most of the fish in Senegal, sell to wholesale fish markets and to small-scale fish processors who are predominantly women. Lack of access to timely fish prices at wholesale markets, scant knowledge of improved processing techniques, limited access to financial services, exposure to higher health risks, and poor hygiene at processing sites hamper the economic growth of artisanal entrepreneurs.
The Wireless Solutions for Fisheries in Senegal (WISE) project, funded by the Qualcomm® Wireless Reach™ initiative, is designed to enhance the competitive advantage of artisanal fishermen and fish processors through:
- Improving access to fish market prices
- Promoting fishing and fish processing best practices
- Providing access to mobile money and credit services
- Educating end users about relevant health knowledge
The WISE project uses advanced wireless technologies to improve lives in several ways. An electronic fish market information system allows the collection of fresh and processed fish market prices and transmits the data through a 3G wireless network to fishermen and processors with mobile devices, making both groups more competitive. These groups, which often lack access to credit, can apply for loans through local microfinancial institutions. They can access these loans via mobile money accounts and use the proceeds to invest in their operations or to pay their expenses during the off-season. Additionally, they can access information on fishing and fish processing best practices through mobile videos to improve product quality and generate better prices.
Because women are central to the fishery value chain, especially in fish processing, WISE includes a strong focus on addressing women’s disadvantages within the value chain and supporting greater information and communications technology (ICT) capacity, economic sustainability and HIV prevention to close the traditional gender gap that has kept women from benefiting fully from their participation in the industry.
WISE is a collaboration of FHI 360, Qualcomm® Wireless Reach™, the Senegalese Food Security Commission, Intermondes and TIGO-Senegal, a mobile network operator.