Training Workshop Ignites Empowerment for Women in African Fisheries

Thu, 21-03-2024 15:00:00

Taking place in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, a significant event is currently unfolding: the Africa Women’s Fish Processors and Traders Network (AWFISHNET) Consultative and Capacity Building Workshop on Leadership, which serves as a fitting tribute to Women's Month. Over the course of March 21 to March 23, 2024, 41 women from various regions of the continent convene with a united purpose: To strengthen the position and contribution of women fish workers to the continental agenda of ending hunger in Africa and halving poverty, given their vital role as active players in the fisheries sector and African society. 

Established in 2017 with support from the African Union-Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) during the Fisheries Governance 1 Project (FishGov 1), AWFISHNET has since emerged as a beacon of empowerment for women in fisheries. The workshop represents a critical step in advancing the network’s goals of fostering gender equity, promoting responsible fish trade, and harnessing market opportunities for Africa's economic growth.

Rooted in the insights gained from continental trainers of trainer’s workshops in 2016, where women advocated for a unified platform to promote intra-African fish trade, AWFISHNET embodies the aspirations of Africa's female fish processors and traders. With over 70% of the continent’s fish processors and traders being women, the need for gender and youth equity in the sector is paramount, echoing the objectives outlined in the Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa (PFRS) and the Malabo Declaration.

The workshop serves as a cornerstone in AWFISHNET's journey, aiming to strengthen the network's institutional leadership, enhance service delivery, ensure self-sustainability, and fuel growth. Participants, including members of AWFISHNET’s executive, representatives from national and regional chapters, and development partners, engage in a dynamic agenda designed to build skills, review progress, and chart a strategic course forward.

Key objectives of the workshop include the introduction of new AWFISHNET National Chapters, a review of the network’s strategic plan, an assessment of organizational capacity, leadership training, strategic deliberations, and planning for future symposiums and assemblies. These activities are poised to yield tangible outcomes, including the introduction of new chapters, enhanced leadership capabilities among members, and a clear roadmap for future initiatives.

Madam Beyene Ateba, the current President of the AWFISHNET Bureau, observed that the workshop comes at an opportune time to enhance the leadership skills of members, fostering greater empowerment and impact in Africa's fisheries and aquaculture sector.

During the official opening of the workshop, Mrs. Patricia Lumba, speaking on behalf of AU-IBAR Director Dr. Huyam Salih, noted that efforts are being made to recognize the significant roles of women and youth in Africa's fisheries sector and empower them through policy dialogue and network establishment. The aim of strengthening AWFISNET's capacity in leadership skills is to address gender and youth-based barriers for sustainable development in the sector. The speech further noted the commitment of the Republic of Tanzania to promoting the participation of women and youth in agri-business opportunities is acknowledged through the hosting of this workshop.

Dr. Jovice Mkuchu, who officially opened the workshop on behalf of the Minister of Livestock and Fisheries, Tanzania acknowledged the crucial role of women in Tanzania's fisheries sector, with over 60% involved in post-harvest and trade, their contribution to national and continental food security, wealth creation, and employment is often overlooked due to gender-based obstacles. She highlighted that as a result, Tanzania prioritizes women and youth empowerment, supporting AWFISHENT's establishment and hosting its headquarters and national chapter. We envision AWFISHENT as a strong network ensuring gender equity within the fisheries sector, aligning with national, regional, and continental policies. This Capacity Building Workshop on Leadership is crucial for advancing this goal. I urge all participants to engage, learn, and share knowledge to strengthen their National Chapters, improving the socioeconomic status of women and youth in their respective countries.


As participants immerse themselves in discussions, training sessions, and collaborative exercises, the spirit of empowerment and solidarity pervades the gathering. Women from diverse backgrounds and regions unite under the banner of AWFISHNET, leveraging their collective strength to advocate for equitable opportunities, amplify their voices, and drive positive change in the fisheries sector.

The workshop marks a significant milestone in AWFISHNET’s evolution, reflecting the network’s commitment to advancing women’s empowerment, fostering sustainable development, and realizing the potential of Africa's fisheries and aquaculture industry. Through collective action, collaboration, and determination, AWFISHNET continues to blaze a trail towards a future where women are recognized as key drivers of progress and prosperity in African fisheries. The workshop is being funded by AU Member States and implemented under FishGov 2 Project that is being implemented by AU-IBAR and AUDA-NEPAD.