Mobile Phone – A Tool For Modern Fishermen In Ghana

It is prudent to be guided by way of some of the idea-upsetting African proverbs like this
easy one: “An infant who has by no means traveled earlier than tends to assume that most effective his mother
is aware of the way to cook delicious soup.”

 

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Long, lengthy in the past; and long before the Pyramids of Egypt have been built and earlier than Amenhotep
IV a.Ok.An Akhenaton who become the primary person to proclaim monotheism or the concept of One God handed via transition in 1350 B.C., traditional fishermen went to
sea with only basic gear – a timber canoe and fishing net. The canoe fishermen then couldn’t sail into the particularly deep sea to capture something fishes they desired. They were pressured to spend long days and vicious nights at sea, all in useless like Apostle Peter and his colleagues earlier than they met the Saviour, Jesus the Christ.

Later in the 20th century or so, when the vehicle was invented and mechanical engineering superior to a cert degree of perfection, canoe fishermen brought one extra tool to their implements – the outboard motor. This tool helped noticeably to make sailing
fast, speedy and very smooth indeed. In reality, fishing became extra first-rate and exciting
. The canoes were propelled by using 4- stroke engines and fishermen may want to pass as a
long way as they wanted supplied there has been enough pre-combined gasoline of their petrol tank. The proud fishermen ought to ride and dive deep into the sea and chase fishes and harvest them of their very “dormitories” even when they’re within the system of “procreating”.

In Ghana, all through bumper harvest seasons, a few fishermen had no desire, however, to sell off a number of their catches again into the ocean to avoid selling them at coronary heart-damaged expenses on the shore
. Why? Because they did now not have get admission to to cold shop centers to keep the more Fishermen
catches for day after today. Further greater; they did not have the method to communicate with
their sellers or clients beyond their immediately groups earlier to determine
whether their catches may be sold at competitive prices earlier than else wherein. Thus, they
were on the mercy of a few unscrupulous center women fish mongers.

Today, at the edge of the twenty first century, way to Information Communication
Technology (ICT) especially Mobile Telephony, fishermen in Ghana have brought the
fourth maximum crucial tool to their fishing device – Mobile Phone. Ghanaian fishermen can be characterized as the modern day segment of the Ghanaian society, specifically
in the rural community to sign up for the technological teach wagon of mobile cellphone users.

On Wednesday November 23, 2005, this author become invited in his ability as a Journalist
interested in ICT or on line-journalism or cyber-journalism to sign up for a group of researchers,
headed with the aid of the Coordinator of the Technology Assessment Project (TAP) of the University of Ghana, Legon, Dr Amos Anyimadu on a observe excursion of some selected Districts within the Central Region of Ghana with precise focus on fisher folks of Moree.

Without attempting to bamboozle the reader with any ICT jargons including “VSAT
Technology”, “Telematics”, “Mobile telephony”, “Seamless Integration” and what have
you, suffice to say that the cause of the look at tour was surely to find out how Information Communication Technology for Advanced Development (ICT4D) policy of
the Government of Ghana become being impacted on the rural groups in fashionable. In
this precise case the research turned into similarly narrowed down on how the fishermen of
Moree are utilizing Mobile Phones to decorate their conventional fishing business to
enhance upon their residing requirements.Fishermen

Moree is a outstanding fishing town along the coast of Ghana. It is set two hours’ power
west of Accra, off Accra-Takoradi avenue some kilometers away from Cape Coast Township. It is located inside the Abura, Asebu, Kwankese District. Moree now has a population of about 30.000 according to the 2000 population census. Even before the studies team got to Moree, the group chief, Dr Anyimadu, decided that
a forestall-over be made at Apam, some other progressive fishing town inside the Central Region to
briefly interact with some fishermen there to see whether the Mobile telephone fiver in
Ghana has caught up with them, too.

In fact, we reached Apam instead overdue approximately 7.30p.M to eight.00p.M. We requested and have been
directed to the actual vicinity wherein common fishermen and ladies live. The first question Dr
Anyimadu asked inside the language of the people (Fanti) become whether there has been any
Communication Centre in the place. A timber quiosk changed into talked about to us. Even even though
there was no electric powered mild in it, it turned into operating as a Communication Centre o.K..

Central Region fishermen were determined to be very open and keen to provide facts. As
soon as they have been made to apprehend the cause of our visit of their community at that
time of the day, the news unfold like bush fires. They have been instructed that we have been a group of
researchers from the University of Ghana trying to find out whether they had get right of entry to to
cellular telephones. If yes, changed into there any way the communique gadgets were assisting them
to enhance the business.

Within a twinkle of an eye, we were invaded by using people and any questions positioned to them
have been answered to with alacrity. They even presented a few information that we did now not
expect. They mentioned how they use the cell phones to check from their marketers
and clients from diverse elements of the country where the fees of fish have been extra
competitive.

One revelation we did not understand till then was that some fishermen visit
sea only to shop for fishes from other larger fishing boats to come and sell. In a nutshell the
Apam fishermen are making right use of the Communication Centres and “Space to
Space operators” who’re working both constant traces and mobile phones to beautify their
fishing business. Shall I digress a piece?

About 18 years in the past, precisely in September 1988, just after one year of the status quo of an Apam Community FM Station, I in my view went to spend seven days
in that town to administer survey questionnaires to a selection of respondents. The survey Ghana
was in reference to my Project Work in partial success of the necessities for the award of Diploma in Journalism of the Ghana Institute of Journalism, Accra. My topic was “Communication and Organisation of Rural People for Development: A Case Study of Apam FM Station”. In reality the survey blanketed Apam and Mannford fishing communities. Even although the Station were in existence for barely twelve months on the time, I desired to know if it became making any effect on the agricultural humans. As a remember of truth, the Apam Community FM Station changed into an experimental Project of the Ghana Broad Casting Corporation (GBC). The experiment changed into primarily based on the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) idea of Rural Broadcasting.

What changed into captivating approximately the Apam FM Station was that, at that time, Ghana was the
2nd country in Africa (after Kenya), selected by using UNESCO to enjoy the
Community FM Station Programme initiated with the aid of what turned into known as the International
Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).The Station become
commissioned on September 26,1987 through the then Ag. PNDC Secretary for Information,
Mr. Kwamena Ahwoi on behalf of the then Chairman J.J.Rawlings.

One fundamental advantage that the fishermen derived from that Community FM Station, in step with the survey changed into that, every dawn before they launched into their fishing
expeditions, they would wait and pay attention to the climate forecast for the day on the radio in
their personal language earlier than they went to sea. That service the Station became rendering them
become greater treasured to them than whatever else in their vocation or alternate. It helped them
keep away from storms and different unpredictable risks at sea.

Thus, except, applicable facts, training, leisure and different motivational programmes that the station was broadcasting to mobilize the rural parents for development as far as verbal exchange become involved, the human beings had been allowed to visit the studio to undertake a few unique conventional performances themselves. Today the Apam Community FM Station is “lifeless”. The fishermen lamented once I inquired on Wednesday 23 November, 2005 while the Technology Assessment Project team visited the city. Apam fishermen expressed the choice to have their Community FM Station back. According to them, the 10kw transmitter donated through UNESCO has broken down and the Station had been off air for the beyond seven years or so.

Now they had to depend on Adom FM in Tema or Peace F M in Accra to listen to the climate forecast. May I take the freedom to signify that the District Assembly accountable for Apam, the Member of Parliament for that constituency in collaboration with GBC, if viable, must do some feasibility study of the Community FM Station and come up with an offer for the consideration of UNESCO for technical assist to see if that Radio Station could not be revived for the development communique of the agricultural human beings?

On Thursday November 24, 2005, the Technology Assessment Project look at team
persevered with their studies findings at Moree. There is one Communication Centre in
Moree, known as “Shalom Communication Centre”. It has one constant line. The land linetelephone quantity is certainly recognised to all people inside the city. With this approach
whoever within the city receives a name from any a part of the usa thru the
Communication Centre may be despatched for to reply for a charge. The Communication Centre
proprietor also has a cellular smartphone similarly to his constant line. There are three different human beings
who are working “Table-pinnacle Space to Space system” in the town. Those who have
cellular telephones have to search for a suitable region to put themselves as a way to
get hold of community connectivity in any other case, their handsets will handiest be “museum pieces” in
their palms. Mobile telephone working organizations have to not handiest crowd themselves in
Accra and different big towns. They need to take into account making an investment in rural communities, too. They
will still make income thinking about what we saw at Moree.

In an interview with the chief fisher of Moree, Nana Fin and some of his elders, the
Mobile phone has end up one of the maximum important equipment they are now the usage of to beautify
their business as a long way because the fishery enterprise is worried. According to Chief fisherman,
he himself has two mobile telephones. He himself does not go to sea often. Therefore,
whilst his human beings are crusing, he gives one mobile cellphone to them to take along. He maintains
one with himself at home. With this strategy communication hyperlink is mounted among him and his fishermen at sea.

He explains that on every occasion there is any problem such as a scarcity of pre-mixed gas or
someone falls ill at sea the fishermen at sea use the cell phone to talk with
him at home. Then he’ll quick reply and set up for technique to whatever is probably
the issue being encountered at sea. Nana Fin could be very happy and proud for this
measurement brought approximately of their vocation thanks to Mobile Telephony. He recalls that
previously, when his fishermen went to sea for approximately three or more days without any
remarks, he might be stressed until they again competently. “But nowadays I am always in
contact with my people at sea if handiest they’re inside 30km to 40km radius away from
me. And I am able to realize whatever is happening till they come returned to shore”, he said
with wide smiles in his face.

Furthermore, with the Mobile phone he should verify the prices of fish at numerous marketplace
locations at Tema, Kumasi, Koforidua or even Accra before his humans land with their catches. Other fishermen spoken to in Moree concurred with the Chief Fisherman. Messrs
Kobina Otu, Mark Pratt and Kofi Sarsah, all of whom have one cellular telephone every were
very proud to possess the present day conversation gadget that is making their business
extra exciting. They are calling on cell cellphone operators to return and open mobile
cellphone stores in Moree due to the fact greater people are keen to collect the equipment as part of
their fishing implements.

Nevertheless, the fisher parents of Moree have one specific trouble that’s militating
against the easy operation of the canoe fishing enterprise within the location. According to
fishermen interviewed the basic problem is the use of very effective lighting fixtures by means of a few
fishing trawlers or boats in fishing of their waters. They said this trouble has been
persisting for over years now and all efforts made to acquire the attention of
authorities concerned to help remedy the problem show futile. They complained bitterly
that using the powerful lights has a tendency to drive the fishes away from canoe fishermen
who are not able to do deep sea fishing. In truth the Chief fisherman of Moree said that
because of this hassle the enterprise of girls fishmongers in the metropolis has definitely
come to an give up. “Now our women are leaving for Abidjan, Kumasi and other places
because they do not have work to do in our metropolis” he lamented.

Mr. Kobina Otu, any other main fisherman, positioned his lamentation in a alternatively philosophical
style hence: “Look us,” he chipped in. “We do not have forest into which we will cross and
hunt for games or cultivate cash plants like cocoa and so on. Fishing is the best vocation
we depend directly to feed ourselves, fabric our wives, and peculiarly to schooling our children.
If today others are making it not possible for us to undertake our God-given profession, then
what are we living for?”, he queried hypothetically. Moree fishermen are therefore,
appealing to the authorities involved to come back to their aid via preventing people who are
using the effective lighting in fishing in their vicinity of operation.

The Technology Assessment Project has been mandated by means of the Ghana Office of the
World Bank and other companions to undertake a radio production on Information and
Decentralized Development. A follow-up forum on Mobile Communication will take
region at Busy Internet in Accra on December 5,2005, at the same time as in-depth research findings of
the Moree study tour may be posted in a book later. Ghana now has no desire however to
embody ICT to boost up its improvement approach for the prosperity of the nation.

Mawutodzi K. Abissath is a Ghanaian journalist, creator, poet and blogger. He is EzineArticles.Com Expert Author, writer of Kofi Annan the Great – poetry, Friends of Tomorrow-Poems for Young Childre and Co-creator of Traditional Wisdom in African Proverbs.

He writes from Accra, Ghana