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Safaricom Foundation donates boats to Lamu fishermen

20 February 2014, 11:50 Harrison Mbungu

Lamu - A group of fishermen in Kizingitini, Pate Island within Lamu County has received four high powered racing boats from Safaricom Foundation.

The Tawasal Fishermen received the 1.5 horse power engine racing boats to provide employment to at least 50 youths of Kizingitini, the largest fishing port in Pate Island.

Speaking during the issuance of the power boats in Kizingitini, Safaricom Foundation Chairman, Joseph Ogutu said the move was aimed at creating a good fishing environment for fishermen.

“The main economic activity in Lamu is fishing. We want to promote livelihoods here by supporting activities that will empower the community, “said Ogutu.

Previously, the self-help group which has a membership of 30 people had only three dhow boats, which are small and slow.

fishing, fishermen
Photo: Bob Ndwiga, News24 user

However, the fishermen said with such kind of empowerment, they would be able to fish between 100kg -200kg of fish per day, which they would sell at between KES100 and KES.160 per kilogram depending on the season.

Tawasal Fishermen self-help group Chairman, Ali Bakar said that with the new racing boats, they will now be able to fish at least 50 kilograms of lobsters per day, which they sell at KES.1 600 - 2 000 per kilogram depending on the season.

“We are grateful to Safaricom Foundation for giving us these racing boats. We have stopped focusing on fish and are now targeting lobsters which have a higher market value. Apart from earning a livelihood, the racing boats will help us to transport patients from Pate Island to Lamu town during emergencies and also with rescue operations in the ocean," said Bakar.

The self- help group runs a programme that empowers fishermen to engage in sustainable projects and also train them on managerial skills. The group also emphasizes on the importance of education with an aim of transforming the town into a commercial island.

Safaricom Foundation funded the purchase of the four 1.5 horse power engine racing boats at a cost of KES 800 000.

Pate Island forms one of the major fishing areas on the Kenyan coast. State of the coast report shows that 97 percent of the Islanders depend on fishing as their source of livelihood.

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