In recognition of 2016 as a year of Human Right by the African Union, a workshop on Women’s Rights and Fisheries Reforms in Africa was held in Nouakchott, Mauritania. Scheduled from the 6th of March 2016 and initiated by the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) conjointly with the African Confederation of Artisanal Fisheries Professional organisations (CAOPA) and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania with support from the European Union, the workshop also culminated in the celebration of the International Women’s Day on the 8th of March 2016.
The event brought together more than 90 participants from AU member countries representing women’s groups from fisheries sector, experts, development partners, journalists and sub regional organisations as FCWC represented by its Technical Expert, Mrs. Rosina Williams.
The rationale behind this workshop is the rampant non-recognition of women’s major role in the fisheries sector right from the pre-financing and preparation of fishing trip, reception and processing of the fish to its marketing.
Therefore, the workshop served as a platform to identify challenges women face in the sector and set priority actions to promote women’s rights as a driver to fulfill the goals of the Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa of Malabo adopted in 2014.
An AU-IBAR Representative mentioned the lack of access to the fisheries resources, lack of financial support and high level of interest rates, lack of capacity building to facilitate their involvement in decision-making among others to be some of the challenges faced by women in the sector. He stressed on the need for the various players in the industry to be at the same level of information on the problems that are faced by women in the sector so as to warrant the necessary support for them.
As the workshop ended with the celebration of the International Women’s Day, women, through a declaration, called on the African Union Member States to see to the efficient implementation of the FAO Voluntary Guidelines for sustainable artisanal fisheries in its Policies’ reform strategy for African fisheries and aquaculture and advocated for an African Year of artisanal fisheries to be established.
Uganda was nominated to host the next International Women’s Day in 2017 with the theme “Political Framework and Reform strategy in Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa; Implication of Women in Fisheries in Africa.”
Ms. Rosina Williams, a Fisheries expert from the FCWC Secretariat attended the event and committed herself to push women right recognition within the West Africa region in her day to day work.