The Federation operates in a modest way to provide awareness, knowledge, skills and commitment where necessary, for social transformation. The fishers and farmers including women and youngsters who benefit from the Federation’s programmes are encouraged to explore personal, collective, structural, cultural and ecological factors which are significant for social transformation and geared towards to sustainable social economic and ecological development.
The Vision of the Small Fishers Federation Lanka, Sudeesa is the social transformation of the small scale fishing and farming communities with access to equal opportunities in order to achieve fully fledged development of individuals and their families.
The goal of Small Fishers Federation is to improve the social and economic living conditions of all the coastal, inland fisher communities and associated farming communities of Sri Lanka. SFFL aims to harness the full potential of the small-scale fisher population – specially the women, youngsters and children – by providing care and education and introducing new fields of subsidiary occupations and self-reliance activities in order to improve their standard of living, both socially and economically.
The following key sustainability principles are incorporated into all the Federation’s operational policies and practiced at all levels of implementation by the Federation:
Community is Central
The fishing and farming Communities are central to use and management of their own resources. They use resources for livelihoods and therefore community participation is a prerequisite for community based sustainable resource management and wise use. Community participation means that people are the proprietors and decision makers. Participation must not be induced or co-opted. People must be the subjects not the objects of development initiatives. Participation is the essence of responsible stewardship of natural resources and its wise use. Therefore, all the activities of Small Fishers Federation are implemented through village organizations, community visioning and their decision-making.
Family is First
Family is the base for social sustainability. If the family lacks in basic needs, members suffer from destitution, lack of social recognition, discrimination by social forces and neglect. Lack of social sustainability affects economic sustainability in the family. If women are destitute, or youth are idle in the families there is no proper family cohesion. This leads to the absence of healthy participation in decision making in the development process of their families. Therefore the Federation has formulated all its policies to strengthen the family unit in the society.
Natural Resources are the Key
Natural resources are the basis for sustainable livelihood development and a crucial aspect of the food production and life support system. The Small Fishers Federation has formulated its policies and operational policies incorporating the principle of regeneration of natural resources for sustainable livelihoods. For the sustainable regeneration of natural resources, the people’s responsibility must be developed. The Federation believes that the citizens of the country must help to conserve/ protect natural resources and aim to regenerate these crucial resources.
Partnership principles are incorporated into the Small Fishers Federation’s activities. The Federation works with community, local government and all stakeholders of the development process, nationally and internationally. The Federation promotes gender equity and gender balance and respects indigenous knowledge and wisdom. One third of the Federation’s benefits go to women, one third to youth and one third to children. The village organizations, as collaborating groups, undertake implementation of all the activities and involve as many local organized groups to ensure that ownership of the activities are transferred to the community. Sharing responsibilities and participatory planning activities with women and youth are considered vital for social and economic sustainability.
Empowerment policy is the key in social, economic and environment sustainability. The Federation enables women, youth and all stakeholders to make decisions that affect them both at their own level and at higher levels through their own organizations.