The Department of Fisheries in collaboration with FAO recently held a planning meeting for gender mainstreaming in the implementation of the shared Shared Sardinella Project which is component the EAF-Nansen Program.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Anna Mbenga Cham, Ag, director, department of Fisheries explained that over the years, efforts have been made by the ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare of The Gambia to mainstream gender in all government sectors.
She revealed that national focal points were identified and trained with the aim to eventually have a gender focal point who will be in charge of all gender related issues in the different Ministries of which she was fortunate to be part of.
“However, to this date many Governments institutions are still without a designated gender focal person,” she said.
Madam Mbenga Cham explained that in the fisheries sector, in The Gambian women play crucial roles especially in the post-harvest sector and they are still faced with challenges such as work load, access to financial challenges compared to their male counterparts..
This program could not have come at a better time, she said, adding that the Ministry of Fisheries together with the Department of Fisheries will provide all the necessary support to make sure that the objectives of the program on Gender mainstreaming are achieved.
“Perhaps, as a sector we can serve as an example to other sectors in the Government to follow similar steps in Gender mainstreaming,” she stated.
She further noted that amongst its objectives is to build the necessary human and organizational capacities for partner countries for sustainable management and exploitation of fisheries resources.
She further explained that the approach adopted by the program includes taking climate change and pollution into account, as well as promoting gender equality and the effective participation of women.
Momodou S. Jallow, head of Research and Development Unit who also doubles as the Shared Sardinella project coordinator, explained that the EAF-Nansen program commenced in 2017 for an initial period of five years.
“The Program revolves around three main objectives which includes Improvement of the knowledge base for sustainable fisheries management and support fisheries management, based on the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF),” he stated.
Part of the objective according to him is to build the necessary human and organizational capacities For Partner countries for sustainable management and exploitation of fisheries resources.
Halimatou Bah, FAOs Nutritionist who also doubles as the gender focal point, presented on gender concepts and its definitions.
She further elaborated on the importance of integrating gender in the EAF-Nansen Programme stating that women’s work in Fisheries is a key part of household food security strategies, (Kawarazuka & Béné 2010) they are primarily responsible for daily household food consumption.
The discussion which was led by Katrien Holvoet, Gender Expert, FAO Gender Unit, HQ Rome, together with the staffs from the Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries and the Ministry of Gender concluded with an outline with steps to be followed towards the development of a strategy for Gender mainstreaming in the Fisheries sector.
Vessel owners and agents operating in Gambian waters are urged to register their vessels and get certified