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Strengthening the Financial Resilience of Small-Scale Fishers

Strengthening the Financial Resilience of Small-Scale Fishers

Project Lead: Rare
Financial Support: Government of Canada and the United Kingdom Blue Planet Fund

Summary 

ORRAA is supporting the expansion of a pilot led by Rare to give small-scale fishers in the Philippines and Indonesia access to insurance products – protecting their livelihoods and helping them, their families, and coastal communities recover from shocks and climate-related events. 

Challenge 

There are approximately 50 million small-scale fishers worldwide, with a further 250 million people employed across the value chain. However, most workers in this significant sector of the blue economy currently lack the financial literacy or access to basic insurance products that can provide them with a crucial safety net against increasingly frequent storms and other unexpected events. 

In the Philippines alone, 1.9 million small-scale fishers, their families, and millions more Filipino people rely on the fisheries sector for income and sustenance. However, the lack of digital infrastructure and limited access to formal financial services is holding back the economic inclusion and resilience of these remote communities, while increasing the need to overfish to recover from shocks.

Solution

After assessing the unique insurance needs of fishing-dependent households and the landscape of available products in seven different coastal communities across the Philippines, ORRAA member Rare partnered with local providers to offer two insurance policies providing life, accident property damage, and healthcare cover. Now, Rare is expanding this coverage to additional communities in the Philippines and replicating the approach in Indonesia.

The first phase of the pilot in the Philippines enrolled over 4,000 members in basic livelihood insurance– far exceeding the pilot’s aim of 500.  Rare also successfully delivered insurance literacy training to over 2,760 participants – using remote learning platforms and a combination of virtual and in-person training. Over half of subscribers are women working in fisheries, whose earnings are dependent on unpredictable harvests and inconsistent market prices, making insurance an important tool to secure their income and wellbeing. Rare estimates that the livelihood protection offered by phase one of the insurance pilot will benefit some 12,500 fisheries-dependent people in the Philippines of which 6000 are children.

Scalability and Next Steps

The project is now incorporating lessons learned from this successful pilot, with a focus on replicating and scaling it across the Philippines and in seven other countries where Rare’s Fish Forever program currently works with over 1000 communities.

With new support from ORRAA and the UK’s Blue Planet Fund, Rare will begin by expanding training and product offerings to 50 new savings clubs in the Philippines and replicating the approach in Indonesia. Next steps include completing a landscape study, supply and demand analysis, and identifying potential insurance providers.

This project highlights the success of a community-based and gender-sensitive strategy in providing a vital financial safety net to remote coastal communities. It also showcases the potential of financial literacy and tailored insurance in advancing the economic inclusion and resilience of millions of people who make up a vast and sustainable sector of the global economy but are uniquely vulnerable to the changes in our ocean and climate.