The fisheries industry provides employment for more than 600,000 people in Senegal, and fish are a critical source of nutrition in the country, where 30% of rural households experience food insecurity. Artisanal fishermen, who catch most of the fish in Senegal, sell to wholesale fish markets and small-scale fish processors, most of whom are women. Lack of access to timely fish prices at wholesale markets, scant knowledge of efficient fish processing techniques, limited access to financial services, exposure to high health risks and poor hygiene practices at fish processing sites hinder the economic success of artisanal fishermen and fish processors.
The Wireless Solutions for Fisheries in Senegal (WISE) project, funded by the Qualcomm® Wireless Reach™ initiative, delivers advanced wireless technologies to enhance the competitive advantage of artisanal fishermen and fish processors by improving access to fish market prices, promoting best practices in fishing and fish processing, providing access to mobile finance services and educating end users about relevant health knowledge.
WISE’s technologies are delivered through a mobile application, the WISE App, which allows artisanal fishermen and fish processors who have mobile devices to receive important information about the fish market, including fresh and processed fish market prices.
Artisanal fishermen and fish processors, who often lack access to credit, can also use the WISE App to apply for loans through local microfinance institutions and use the money to invest in their operations or pay their expenses during the off-season. Users of the WISE App can also access information on best practices of fishing and fish processing by viewing mobile videos to improve product quality and generate better prices.
Because women are central to the fishery value chain, especially in fish processing, WISE focuses on addressing women’s disadvantages within the value chain and supporting women’s information and communications technology capacity, economic sustainability, and HIV prevention to close the gender gap, which has prevented women from fully benefiting from their participation in the fisheries industry.
WISE is a collaboration of FHI 360, Qualcomm® Wireless Reach™, the Senegal Ministry of Digital Economy and Telecommunications, the Ministry of Fisheries, the Senegalese Food Security Commission, Intermondes, and Free Senegal, a mobile network operator.