The New Boats

by Mirabel Pictures / WeOwnTV
The New Boats
Tombo youth, looting local police station.
Tombo youth, looting local police station.

These last few months have brought new challenges for Sullay and many of the fishermen of Tombo. Restrictions put into place to curb the spread of COVID-19 have limited the number of boats that can fish each day. As a result, catch has been low. In a village where almost everybody’s livelihood depends on fishing, frustrations are growing. People are trying to comply with public health guidelines, but the situation is complex as many families are hungry. Tensions boiled over recently and a group of young men began to demonstrate. They set fire to a local hospital, the FSU building and they looted the police station. At this point, no one had been injured, but the local authorities were not able to put the situation under control and they called for back-up. Armed military and police from Freetown had an accident on the way to Tombo and one police officer died. Many community members speculate this colored their intentions when they arrived and they began to fire live bullets at the demonstrators.  

The situation escalated and the youth, in turn, threw rocks. When the situation finally calmed down later in the day, many people were injured, 16 people were arrested and two community members died in the conflict according to the Inspector General of Police, officer Sovula. It is an absolutely tragic situation for a community that was struggling for their food security and livelihood before COVID-19. This increased pressure has pushed Sullay and many of his crew members to their limit. Many fisherman are considering moving to Guinea where they believe they will find a better life. 

We are committed to seeing this story through until the end, wherever it takes us. We will continue to passionately advocate on behalf of local fishermen and to educate both local and international communities about the precarious situation of West African fisheries. We have begun editing our material but have planned production shoots through early fall. Any further support you could give this project would be so valuable at this critical stage. Our project was just selected for a matching opportunity this upcoming Wed, July 15th. The match begins at 9AM EST, so if you do plan on donating to the film, please consider planning your support on Wed July 15th at this page:

With Gratitude,

The New Boats Production team

a typical day at Tombo
a typical day at Tombo
the violent conflict spilled over to the streets.
the violent conflict spilled over to the streets.
Boats in waiting, due to the new restrictions.
Boats in waiting, due to the new restrictions.
Many people fled the scene when violence began.
Many people fled the scene when violence began.


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Fisherman in Tombo celebrate their New Boat!
Fisherman in Tombo celebrate their New Boat!

It was a joyous and colorful day in the Tombo community with local music and dance as a new boat touches water for the first time. It is the newest boat in Pa Seaport’s fleet. During the rains his son Sullay's boat was totally destroyed, but they managed to save enough funds to build this beautiful new vessel they name 'Bondo Fera'.

As part of our community's tradition, many turned up to lend a hand as Sullay and Pa Seaport push their boat to the water. These amazing women are an important part of this community, working as fishmongers, fish smokers, and many are also wives of the fisherman. It is a sight to see as they hold on to the rope in pole positions in front of the boat, singing and dancing as they worked together while the drummers are sounding their drums. they work this way until the boat touched water. They are happy to help, but they are also celebrating because the more local boats there are in their waters and the more their fisherman are given the chance to fish freely the more they will be able to provide meals for their families and homes. They are also praying that foreign boats fishing illegally and into the breading zones will soon stop. 

Wudie was also present representing the Antisanal fishermens Union, because he believe together as one people they can raise a community they always call home (Tombo) and they will be able to fight a just fight against foreign vessels.

Blessings to you all,

The New Boats Production Team

Local women help pull the boat to the water
Local women help pull the boat to the water
The New Boat at sea and fishing!
The New Boat at sea and fishing!
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Hello Globalgiving Community,
I wanted to share an update as we continue working on our documentary film project (The New Boats). Recently we followed one of our main characters (Wudie Bakie Koroma) as he visited the 'kiln women' of the Tombo community. they are all going to recieve a support package to help them as they recover from the devastation caused by the recent flooding in Tombo community.

The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Mrs. Emma Kowa-Jalloh in collaboration with the consortium of fishing unions made a timely and strategic intervention in lives of the Kiln Women locally called Banda Women in Tombo.

Tombo is the largest artisanal fishing port in Sierra Leone.

These women are responsible for most of the smoked/dry fish that we eat.

They play a very important role in the fisheries sector and help in may ways to ensures food security.

In Sierra Leone, we consume more dry/smoked fish than raw for fish, dry/smoked fish is a delicacy.

The amazing work of these Banda Women goes unnoticed, most often their faces are not seen and voices not heard, forgotten in the chain.

Kind Regards,
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Dear Global Giving supporters,

We are excited to share our latest update with you our Global Giving community! Last month we ran a community surveilance training together with the Fishermen in Tombo community. While in production on The New Boats we have recieved multiple requests fromthe fishermen to teach them basic filming skills so that they will be able to document illegal practices when they go out at sea to fish.

The workshop attracted members of the local surveillance team, Fishermen,widows and traders.

The workshop initiative was the first of it  kind for local fishermen in Sierra Leone, It was the first time for all of them to record with a camera. “This is my first time to handle a camera with my colleagues. I feel like a journalist today” Sullay Kamara speaking to the Freetown Media Centre crew with a big smile on his face.

We had great exercises with them filming for the first time in their communities. We left five go Gopros with them, chargers, cards, head and chest brace and a power bank for charging.

As we make the film together with the community we want this surveilance program to alsop grow. The community members were keen to learn these new skills to be able to gather information and collect evidence about dangerous methods of fishing by foreign fishing companies. We also plan to work with them to engage the relevant authorities and the government about these issues affecting their livelihoods.  

“Everyone we speak to about the devastation cause by these company’s to our eco-system, livelihoods and marine resources, they all ask us the same questions, 'Where is your evidence?'” Wudie Bakie Koroma, PRO Fishermens Union Tombo. 


Thank you so much for all your support!


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Report From the Field: We recently ran a community surveillance workshop for local fishermen in the Tombo fishing village. We trained a group of community members on how how to use cameras and smartphones to document what is happening in our waters and also aid in their collaboration with our documentary project the New Boats.

Currently Sierra Leone has no national efforts, Navy or coast guard, working to document these illegal activities. We were able to obtain a total of 12 GoPro Cameras in which five was allocated to the fishing community. Thank you to natural history photography extraordinaire and eco-warrior, Andy Brandy Cassagrandy for donating this equipment to our project - you are an inspiration! check out Andy's amazing and inspiring work here: Right now the team will be working with 5 GoPro cameras, an Android phone and a power bank. GoPro cameras with waterproof protection case are an ideal equipment for filming at sea.

The workshop attracted a total of 12 participants from ordinary fishermen, the patrol team, fishmongers (women) and leaders from the Artisanal Fishermen’s Union. The group was taught how to use the camera securely and basic journalistic ethics, especially for filming in their community. It was agreed that the production team should collect footages from the fishing community every week.

The workshop was facilitated by the production team Barmmy Boy (Director), Arthur (Producer), Miles B and Kabba (camera). At the end of the workshop the fishermen express their appreciation and affirmed their commitment to the story telling process.  

Filming continues in the community with female characters who we have identified as potential characters for the film. All four of them have either lost their husbands to migration due to lack of fish in their locality or have died in foreign land leaving their families with nothing to fend for themselves.

In 2019 we will continue production on this important project. We are proud to facilitate adding a media component to these community surveillance efforts and data collection and want to launch an accountability website soon that will tie human story to this type of data collection and presentation.

With deep Gratitude,

Barmmy Boy


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Organization Information

Mirabel Pictures / WeOwnTV

Location: San Francisco, CA - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @WeOwnTV
Project Leader:
Banker White
San Francisco, CA United States
$3,865 raised of $10,000 goal
50 donations
$6,135 to go
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