Women play a central role in the post-harvest sub-sector in Côte d’Ivoire. The Coastal Fisheries Initiative (CFI) works with at least twelve professional artisanal fishing organisations across two pilot sites in the commune of Attécoubé, a suburb of the capital Abidjan and Sassandra, in the south of the country.
They have approximately 1436 members, but although 75% are female, they are often left out of the decision-making process.
The Initiative is training them up to gain basic accounting skills to run small businesses, in organisational planning and management, good hygiene practices and sanitary standards to access remunerative markets and boost their incomes.
The CFI, a global collaborative effort funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), bringing together United Nations agencies and international conservation organisations, in West Africa is also introducing women to systems such as the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries management (EAF), the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries (SSF Guidelines) so that they can enjoy greater autonomy.
‘By setting up an association led by women for women, we are overcoming structural barriers and building opportunities for women in fisheries to prosper,’ explained Traoré Bintou, President of Scoops Matraphas – a co-operative group for female fishers and processors in Sassandra.
The CFI is scaling up the many advantages of co-operatives in Côte d’Ivoire to create healthier working conditions for the countless women who spend most of their days in smoke-filled environments that have a detrimental impact on their health.
Over the past year, the global pandemic and the ensuing economic crisis have reversed developmental progress and revealed long-standing systemic inequalities and exclusion.
Côte d’Ivoire Director of Aquaculture and Fisheries Shep Helguilé called for ‘greater synergies in the artisanal coastal fishing sector to create better environments conducive to private investments and correct incentives for the adoption of good practices in capture and post-capture operations.’
‘If we reach this target, individuals across the artisanal fishing value chain in coastal ecosystem communities will take up the challenge of more egalitarian, inclusive and sustainable fishing today and tomorrow,’ he added.