At least 214 students who excelled in last year’s KCPE but were almost missing to join secondary school have each received Sh7,000 from fishermen in Budalang’i and Funyula constituencies.
The Sh1,498,000 that was distributed to the students under an initiative dubbed Beach Management Unit Education Scholarship was part of the dividends the fishermen earned from cage fish farming.
Governor Sospeter Ojaamong’s administration launched the modern fish farming method using cages last year and handed over to farmers to manage them in Lake Victoria.
The new development came following serious depletion of fish in Lake Victoria and frequent arrests of local fishermen by Ugandan security officers.
County chairman of the Beach Management Unit (BMU) Sylvester Kaiywa observed that last year they made a killing from cages during the first harvest.
There are over 20 BMUs in Busia county which borders the lake. Mr Kaiywa termed it a historic that for the first time the fishermen who have always suffered in the lake were now reaping big and returning back to the society by paying school fees for children from underprivileged families.
He stated that pressure that was being exerted on the lake because of overfishing has since subsided. Frequent arrests of local fishermen has also reduced drastically.
The introduction of the cages saw fishermen restricted from entering the lake on fishing expedition reduced to three times a week.
“We have had many projects but for the first time in the history that fishermen are giving scholarship to 214 students are who joining Form One in different schools under Busia County Beach Management Unit Education Scholarship,” said Kaywa.
Some of the beneficiaries have received admission letters from secondary schools within and without Busia County. Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong hailed the initiative since fishermen had started benefiting immensely.
“This is part of development we want to see. Fishermen have been known to be people who suffer but here in Busia they are earning and even educating needy children,” said Ojaamong.
He urged the 214 students to work hard. The Beach Management Unit intends to educate at least 1000 pupils from the less fortunate families in the next four years.
Meanwhile, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has offered to support aquaculture farming in the region.
This means, Busia will become the 15th county bound to benefit from the IFAD’s multi-billion funding. Other counties are Siaya, Kisumu, Kisii, Tharaka Nithi, Embu, Machakos, Kiambu and Kajiado. Kakamega, Homa Bay, Migori, Kirinyaga, Nyeri and Meru.
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