Category Archives: Bangladesh

A gendered approach to nutrition-sensitive homestead pond polyculture

By Sarah Castine and Shakuntala Thilsted

Left: Women preparing mola (Amblypharyngodon
mola). Right: pool barb or jat punti (Puntius sophore) showing nuptial coloration during spawning time. Photos: Shakuntala Thilsted.

A recent paper: “Homestead pond polyculture can improve access to nutritious small fish” published in the journal Food Security1 investigates an aquaculture production system in Bangladesh which is tailored towards improving nutrition and is accessible to and can be managed by women.

In Bangladesh, and many parts of rural south Asia, women’s movements outside the homestead are restricted and they spend much time at home taking care of children and other family members, food preparation and other household chores. Access to nutritious foods in these households can be limited, resulting in poor diets and little dietary diversity which can contribute to undernutrition. A nutrition-sensitive approach to homestead pond polyculture, engaging both women and men has been introduced by WorldFish and partners. This includes polyculture of small and large fish species in homestead ponds, vegetable production in homestead gardens and on pond dykes, nutrition education and gender equity, in terms of work load and food distribution. This approach allows for increased household income from sale of produce as well as increased access to and intake of nutrient-rich small fish and vegetables, with focus on women and children in the first 1,000 days of life.

Different modes and methods were applied in order to engage both female and male household members. Women and men, in groups of 20-25 received training in fish and vegetable production, nutrition and gender equity. Lead farmers, both women and men conducted training and supported the households in the activities. In some cases, women were specifically trained in harvesting small amounts of small fish for household consumption and in preparing dishes with nutrient-rich small fish for young children.

The paper describes that homestead pond polyculture, with small and large fish, using a nutrition-sensitive approach can have outstanding nutrition and health benefits, especially for women and young children. For adoption of the nutrition-sensitive pond polyculture approach, engaging all household members and providing both women-only training and combined women and men training should be applied. Women were engaged in pond polyculture, spending up to 25 minutes per day on tasks such as fish feeding, pond preparation and maintenance. Lead female farmers described that their physical mobility in the community gave them a better status and a feeling of being valued. An analysis of the dynamics and power relations between women and men with regard to work load and income earned from nutrition-sensitive pond polyculture is needed to gauge how this approach impacts women’s status within the household and in the community. Strong partnerships with the nutrition and health sector, government organisations and the private sector will ensure quality training of household members and wide dissemination of this aquaculture production system.

  1. Castine, Sarah A., Jessica R. Bogard, Benoy K. Barman, Manjurul Karim, Md. Mokarrom Hossain, Mrityunjoy Kunda, A. B. M. Mahfuzul Haque, Michael J. Phillips and Shakuntala H. Thilsted. 2017. Homestead pond polyculture can improve access to nutritious small fish. Food Security 9:785–801.

 

A welcome new FAO gender Handbook to support the Small Scale Fisheries Guidelines

A very welcome addition to the technical support for the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication – a handbook –  has just been released by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).  Called “Towards gender-equitable small-scale fisheries governance and development“, the handbook written by Nilanjana Biswas, of the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF), is a treasure trove of essential background knowledge on women, gender and small-scale fisheries, combined with practical advice and case examples on incorporating gender equality principles in small scale fisheries work. The target audience is broad – from government officers to fishers and their communities, fish worker groups and researchers, as befits a product of the very participatory development process the Handbook team took.

The Handbook is organised in 3 parts:

  • Part 1: Understanding gender and the role of women in small-scale fisheries
  • Part 2: Responsible fisheries and sustainable development through a gender lens
  • Part 3: Ensuring an enabling environment for gender equality and supporting implementation

Among the rich and varied advice and explanatory boxes are such gems as a guide to tried and tested FAO methods for assessing post-harvest losses, and disaster response and rehabilitation issues to target to help women. Throughout, the Handbook has action points for policy-makers and for community service organisations, offering a few key tips on each subject.

A particular highlight is the set of case studies, each containing a description of the case, followed by a gender-sensitive “Let’s analyse this…” section that gets to the heart of the gender issues.

Here is the list of Case Studies:

  1. Women in fishing communities on Lake Victoria
  2. Tenure rights of traditional fishing communities in Raigad, India
  3. Recognition of indigenous community-owned land in Nicaragua
  4. War-affected women in the fishing villages of the Mannar Coast,
    Sri Lanka
  5. Self-regulation by women harvesters in the Gulf of Mannar, India
  6. Mandira Marine Extractive Region, Sao Paulo, Brazil
  7. Transboundary issues and fishers – learning from India and Sri Lanka
  8. Transboundary issues and fishers – learning from the European Union
  9. Diversifying livelihoods for small-scale fishing communities in Uganda
  10. Pacific Fishing Company on Levuka Island, Fiji
  11. Migrant Chinese women workers employed in oyster shucking in Japan
  12. Growing violence and abuse in small-scale fisheries in South Africa
  13. Reclaiming the Marol fish market in Mumbai, India
  14. Impact of harbour fishing on fish trade in Kerala, India
  15. Impact of competition along Lake Victoria in Kenya and on inland
    fisheries in Zambia
  16. Impact of industrialization on women in small-scale post-harvest
    fisheries in South Africa
  17. Issues of cross-border trade for traditional women fish vendors in
    Cambodia
  18. The risks of neglecting women in policy implementation
  19. Post-tsunami rehabilitation in Aceh, Indonesia
  20. Impact of mine pollution in Buyat Bay, Indonesia
  21. Matsyafed in Kerala, India – an apex cooperative for small-scale fisheries
  22. Impact of seasonal fishing ban on women fish traders in
    Puducherry, India
  23. Marshall Point, a coastal indigenous fishing/farming community in
    Nicaragua
  24. Women fishers fight corruption in the Sunderbans, India
  25. An example of value chain analysis (VCA) (in Malawi)
  26. Public hearing on issues of women in the fish trade in Kerala, India
  27. Enabling women’s participation in meetings in Kigombe, the United
    Republic of Tanzania
  28. Fisherwomen in Brazil organize for their rights
  29. Regional Fisheries Livelihood Programme for South and Southeast
    Asia (RFLP)
  30. Mainstreaming gender in the BOBLME project

Download the full Handbook at this LINK.

Videos capture women in action in the seafood sector

The results of the Women in Seafood video competition are now out and all the videos can be viewed through this WSI website link.

map image

Click this link to go to the interactive map and open the videos. The videos are interesting, often inspiring, and all are short and to the point, ranging from 2 to 5 minutes.

Congratulations to the competition winner Carmen Pedroza-Gutiérrez for her video, “The Women of Petatán,” a very thoughtful set of interviews with women fish filleters as they worked on processing piles of fish to prepare them for the market. The video was made in Petatán , Michoacán, Mexico.

Other videos were:

Expert panel recommends promoting wider opportunities for women in giant freshwater prawn

Drs Malasri Khumsri, Amonrat Sermwatankul and Jarvey Demaine, the expert panel on gender and giant freshwater prawn (Macrobrachium) farming  at the Giant Freshwater Prawn 2017 Conference, concluded that, while women’s involvement in low-cost marginal occupations was well-known, the range of opportunities for women in the value chain was much wider and these had to be identified and promoted. The panel session was the first formal activity of the recently launched Asian Fisheries Society Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries Section and was supported by the Thailand Department of Fisheries, Asian Institute of Technology and the Giant Freshwater Prawn 2017 Conference.

The panel discussion provided a platform for development of a community of people committed to equitable and effective cooperation among researchers and academics, technicians, fisheries officers and non-governmental organizations in research and practice on gender in aquaculture and fisheries and explore the ways to promote gender equitable and sustainable livelihood opportunities in GFP value chains.

The panel examined the gender arrangements in Bangladesh and Thailand (see the report), and, in the case of Thailand, suggested the way forward.

Read the report of the panel session here.

Mapping the action on International Women’s Day ’17

Map showing the locations (mainly at country resolution level) for events and news about women in aquaculture, fisheries and seafood in honor of International Women’s Day 2017. If you have more events from 8 March 2017 to put on this map, please let us know at: e-mail genderaquafish@gmail.com.

IWD-17-image-1

Click this LINK to view the interactive version of of the above map, created with eSpatial mapping software.

Before, during and after 8 March 2017 (International Women’s Day), news, tweets and posts flooded in relating to the Day. Our group shared these events via two roundup messages. We have now put the events onto the map above, using eSpatial mapping software, and generous assistance from Ciara at eSpatial (thank you Ciara!).

To read the details of any event, click on the marker for it. We have placed the event marker on the country (sometimes city or state) where the event happened, although many have global or regional significance.

This seemed to be the most active IWD ever from a fisheries, aquaculture and seafood industry perspective. Let’s hope it is a sign of an active and fruitful year ahead for gender equality in the sector!

Women’s voices, gender equity champions and a gender lens all matter – converging messages from GAF6

thailand-2

A Thai woman gets ready to process threadfin salmon for the market. Photo: Supaporn Anuchiracheeva, the Small-scale Fishers and Organic Fisheries Products Project.

In bold outline, the take home messages from the GAF6 full report – Engendering Security in Fisheries and Aquaculture – converge on the following: women’s voices and gender equity champions  can make a real difference; and a gender lens lets us see inequalities and how to remedy them. These points were woven through the 68 rich and varied presentations, panels, posters and workshops of GAF6. Read the full report here, see the take home messages below.

  • Participants were urged to focus on gender relationships, not simply roles, and on intersectionality, as women’s and men’s lives were interconnected and gender interacted with other systems in society, e.g., cultural, political and economic structures.
  • The 2014 Small-Scale Fisheries Voluntary Guidelines are opening up new policy space on gender equality. Yet, in implementing the Guidelines, women have been deterred from taking part in decision-making, are invisible in most fisheries statistics and their interests excluded from national policies – unless NGOs and women’s groups have advocated for inclusion. Even when women’s needs are recognized, money and expertise may not have been allocated. In a hopeful sign, some recent projects are committed to gender equality.
  • Aquaculture is gendered. Gender roles and relationships in aquaculture follow typical social patterns of ownership, rights and power. Unless they break out as entrepreneurs, women are positioned in small-scale, near-home, and low technology aquaculture, or as low-paid labour in medium and industrial scale operations. Nevertheless, small-scale household aquaculture can fulfill important subsistence roles and be improved to better satisfy food security and nutrition.
  • A persistent thread on fair livelihoods in fish value chains was that gender equality and equity must be fought for, and protected by active measures, rather than expecting it to happen through a sense of natural justice.
  • Using a gender lens brings deeper understanding of climate and disaster adaptation. Flexibility, versatility and agency are keys to people’s resilience. Gender-blind efforts to help people adapt should always be challenged.
  • Real progress in securing gender equality will not be achieved unless social norms are transformed.

Read the whole GAF6 report here – Link

“The Long Journey to Gender Equality” – GAF5 Volume published

Kerala fisher couple with cast net and scoop net. Photo: Sruthi P.

Kerala fisher couple with cast net and scoop net. Photo: Sruthi P.

We are delighted to announce the release of a Special Issue of Asian Fisheries Science journal, volume 29S, containing 12 papers, plus a guest editorial and other information based on GAF5 – the 5th Global Symposium on Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries (2014, Lucknow, India).

The Special Issue is titled “The Long Journey to Gender Equality” and contains many practical and theoretical insights. In the Guest Editorial, Dr Nikita Gopal and her co-editors conclude that the “regular GAF events of the Asian Fisheries Society … show that more and more researchers are interested in studying gender and fisheries/aquaculture, both from among the social scientists and fisheries biologists. Thus the GAF events create a unique forum for social and natural sciences to meet and discuss, which is often not the case in other disciplines.”

We hope you enjoy and find useful this wide range of papers covering such topics as the impacts of film-making on the empowerment of women divers in Timor Leste, to the roles of resident and non-resident women in Barotse Floodplain fisheries in Zambia and the intricacies of women’s fish marketing  relations in Bihar India and in Cambodia, plus much more.

Visit this page to gain an overview of the Special Issue and download the whole volume or individual papers. LINK

Congratulations to all the authors!