In a stride towards gender equality and sustainable fisheries, the International Pole and Line Foundation (IPNLF) has launched “eDhumashi” – an e-commerce platform to uplift women engaged in the country’s fisheries industry. This cutting-edge platform marks a significant milestone as the Maldives’ first e-commerce application to offer a comprehensive Dhivehi version, eliminating the language barriers in accessing digital platforms.
IPNLF’s proposal to develop eDhumashi was selected by UNDP’s Ocean Innovation Challenge (OIC) out of 300 proposals received to tap into new technologies and approaches to end overfishing and put an end to illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices. This innovation champions sustainable fisheries and the Blue Economy, aiming to bolster economic advantages for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDC) by empowering small-scale fishers with enhanced access to technical and financial resources, aligning seamlessly with Sustainable Development Goal 14.
The launch of “eDhumashi” addresses the many challenges faced by women fisherfolk in the Maldives. Often grappling with limited market information, delayed payments, unreliable buyers, and a lack of financial support and training, these barriers have hindered their economic potential. “eDhumashi” serves as a direct link between suppliers and buyers, effectively minimising these hurdles, empowering these women to expand their businesses, and maximising their earnings from fisheries activities.
In attendance at the launch was Dr. M. Shiham Adam, Director for Science and the Maldives, IPNLF, who stated, “I truly believe this is the application the people in the outer islands need to tap into the markets in the capital.”
Recognising the need for capacity building, IPNLF conducted comprehensive training sessions for 25 women from Ga. Gemanafushi. These sessions covered essential aspects such as the sustainability of small businesses, financial literacy, digital proficiency, and, crucially, food hygiene and safety, ensuring economic empowerment, and equipping women to improve quality and consumer safety.
“Thank you, IPNLF, for your efforts to make a difference in our lives. From the training, we understood what the market needs the most and what to look for while making them. We hope that eDhumashi becomes a successful platform and we can use it best. “
– Mariyam Fazuna, Ga. Gemanafushi
The significance of “eDhumashi” extends beyond mere market accessibility. It empowers women fisherfolk by granting them direct control over marketing and branding their products. This FinTech solution widens market access and amplifies bargaining power, enhancing the economic benefits across the value chain of the fishery sector.
The President of Gemanafushi Council, Ibrahim Nashid, thanked IPNLF for their commitment to promoting the sustainable practices adopted in the Maldivian fishery. He further stated, “I hope that eDhumashi paves the path to bridge our local islands with wider markets.”
IPNLF stands at the forefront of sustainable fisheries, advocating for the sustainable management of responsible pole-and-line, handline, and troll (collectively known as ‘one-by-one’) tuna fisheries. Beyond sustainability, IPNLF recognises the critical role these fisheries play in supporting livelihoods. The launch of “eDhumashi” represents a pivotal moment in the Maldivian fishery, empowering women in the fishery and fostering economic growth in these coastal communities.
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Watch the eDhumashi Launch Video below