Women and children from coastal communities on the Afungi Peninsula traditionally collect an array of crustaceans and molluscs from the inter-tidal zones. Here, these creatures can be reached, on foot, during low spring tides.
Households in this area have diversified livelihoods sources, relying on agricultural gardens, inter-tidal collection and fishing. Women collect produce from this ‘inter-tidal marine garden’ to feed their families and to give or sell to friends as necessary. They also teach their small children the basic arts of marine-based livelihoods and its code of conduct. Inter-tidal collectors’ only tool is a forked stick or metal rod, and where the water is deeper, masks, to help them pinpoint their quarries. They catch swimming crabs and collect pen shells, clams and murex shells, shelling them before they go home to lighten their headloads. Skilled women also catch rays, squid and octopus to eat or sell.
Resettlement has led to their relocation to a new inland village at Quitunda. Until the livelihoods restoration programs can increase inter-tidal collectors’ skills and knowledge of alternatives, the Resettlement team has ensured their continued access to the sea with a bus service from Quitunda Village to the coastal areas.
Initially, only women and children travelled on the bus, but demand for transport has grown as employment fluctuates and the broader security situation has deteriorated. Today, the buses work every day as men travel to and from the sea to catch fish with their nets during the neap tides and women and their children to continue collection at spring tides – weather permitting. Their independence from Project transport in the future is necessary and the collectors and fishers involved will participate in designing various solutions.