By Kebba AF Touray
The Department of Fisheries in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), recently held a planning meeting on gender mainstreaming in the implementation of the shared Sardinella Project.
Anna Mbenga Cham, Acting Director at Fisheries Department, explained that over the years, efforts were made by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare to mainstream gender in all government sectors.
She said national focal points were identified and trained with the aim of appointing gender focal points who would be in charge of all gender related issues in different ministries, of which she was fortunate to be part of.
“However, to this date, many government institutions are still without a designated gender focal person. In the fisheries sector in The Gambia, 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,” she said.
Cham also said the program came at the right time, adding that the Ministry of Fisheries together with the department of fisheries will provide all necessary support to ensure that the objectives of the program on gender mainstreaming are achieved. 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 also said the approach adopted by the program includes taking climate change and pollution into account, as well as promoting gender equality and effective participation of women.
Momodou S Jallow, Head of the Research and Development Unit, who 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 include improvement of the knowledge base for sustainable fisheries management, based on the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF),” he said.
Jallow also said part of the objectives is to build the necessary human and organizational capacities for partner countries for sustainable management and exploitation of fisheries resources.
Halimatou Bah, FAO’s Nutritionist who also doubles as the gender focal point, said women’s work in fisheries is a key part of household food security strategies as they are primarily responsible for daily household food consumption.
The discussion concluded with an outline with steps to be followed towards the development of a strategy for gender mainstreaming in the fisheries sector.