Strengthening the participation of women in fisheries and aquaculture
The establishment of AWFISHNET Malawi is in line with the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries (SSF Guidelines), which recognize the importance of organizing women in fisheries.
In a bid to organize women in fisheries, strengthen their position and enhance their participation in fisheries and aquaculture, the Government of Malawi in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and development partners supported the launch of the Malawi chapter of the African Women in Fisheries and Aquaculture Network (AWFISHNET).
A lack of organizational capacity, good governance systems and sufficient capital and appropriate technology to meet market standards and demands, are some of the constraints that limit women in fisheries from economic empowerment. Given these challenges, the ability to organize and form a network is particularly important as it will promote collective marketing, offering opportunities for women to negotiate for competitive prices and will also bring greater visibility to women’s role within the sector.
“We expect that this network will contribute to enhancing the economic empowerment of women in fisheries and aquaculture, which is not only a social justice issue, but also important for sustainable economic growth within the fisheries sector,’’ said FAO Representative, Zhijun Chen.
Among its key functions, the AWFISHNET Malawi chapter will enhance connections among women in the sector by enabling them to communicate and collaborate with each other, provide a platform for women fish processors, traders and fish farmers to share best practices, experiences, technologies and learn together.
"Establishment of this network will increase the visibility of women’s work and enable better understanding and recognition of the important role that they play in the sector. This network for women fishers in Malawi is a milestone for the country, seeing as women play a critical role along the fisheries value chain in utilizing fisheries resources not only for economic gains, but also for nutritional and food security goals,” Minister of Natural Resources and Climate Change, Eisenhower Nduwa Mkaka.