The highlight of the month of November was the launch of the Small-Scale Fisheries Academy in Senegal. Supported by a multi-stakeholder organising committee formed upon the suggestion of Mundus maris the inaugural session was kindly hosted by the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) on the campus of Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar on 14 November 2018. Some 62 personalities from different walks of life met in intense exchange and debates for a full day. 

They developed a shared understanding of what they want the academy to be and determined it's initial working priorities so that it can contribute concretely to the implementation of the Small-Scale Fisheries (SSF) Guidelines and the SDGs.

The core concept revolves around the academy as a platform of free and respectful exchange, joint learning and co-production of knowledge shared by a wide variety of people and organisations who want to promote much needed social and technological innovation in prosperous and sustainable SSF. Using participatory working methods and visual documentation, the fishers, women fish processors and marketers, the elders involved in conflict resolution, the young fishers, the scientists, the administration and representatives of public and civil society organisations had intense conversations all day.

In a step-by-step process, everybody got the basic information about latest developments around the SSF Guidelines so as to make sure participants were on the same page. Part of that exchange was also the film screening of the documentary about SSF in Casamance titled "Poisson d'or, Poisson africain". The exchange of impressions after the screening showed to which extent participants identified with the conditions shown as some of them had even taken part in the fishing and processing there in the recent past. That paved the way for several rounds of more intense group conversations that led to the identification of priorities for the start-up phase of the academy. Click here for more information about the inaugural session.

The family photo of participants of the inaugural session of the Small-Scale Fisheries Academy in Senegal, 14 Nov. 2018