Gender equality starts at home: gender training for fish farmers in Mozambique

By Messias Alfredo Macuiane, Monitoring and evaluation officer, ProAqua project
Rita Dickson, a fish farmer from Mucuti, Sussundenda district explaining her vision and how her two children will help her to build a better house through crop production and fish farming. Picture taken by Wendy Lowe.

ProAqua promotes small scale aquaculture in central Mozambique and is funded by the European Union through IFAD, and by the Government of Mozambique. It is a grant-financed project and has been supporting women and men small-scale fish farmers from Gondola, Sussundenga, Mossurize and Gorongosa districts since 2014.

ProAqua started work under the EU-funded initiative to accelerate progress towards MDG 1C in the country, to “Halve between 1990 and 2015 the portion of people who suffer from hunger in Mozambique”. Activities have now been aligned with the new 2030 Agenda, in particular SDG2 on Zero Hunger.

So far, the project has helped over 630 families to build more than 500 new fish ponds. ProAqua considers gender equality as a key requirement for increased fish production and consumption and therefore recommends that 60 per cent of participants should be women.

In April 2017, ProAqua organized training on the Gender Action Learning System (GALS) in order to introduce the methodology to project extension activities and strengthen equality and empowerment of female fish farmers.

Sixteen fish farmers from Sussundenga took part in the training, together with 12 extension workers, 2 staff members from the Agency for Manica Development (responsible for the Saving and Credit Groups Development), 1 officer from Initiative for Community Land, 1 officer from Provincial Services for Rural Extension) and 2 staff members from the ProAqua Management Unit.

After the third day of the training, participants recognized that each tool integrated into GALS unlocks their minds towards gender issues at community and household level, which directly influence the development of aquaculture.

During the sessions, male and female participants:
  • identified six indicators that hamper development (alcoholism, women’s workload , domestic violence, laziness, lack of access to education, insecure property rights) 
  • identified what should be done to solve each gender-related indicator 
  • assembled an array of appropriate approaches on how to solve each barrier based on available resources.
After the training, each participant will act as a catalyst to promote GALS through peer learning with individuals, families and groups or associations. The aim is to build gender equality in community development during the remaining period of project implementation and enable participants to adopt aquaculture as an additional income-generating activity.

GALS starts in the home, and all participants were requested to present their visions for the future during the sixth day. Shared responsibilities among family members, reduction of unnecessary expenditures and open discussions among family members were ranked as key aspects that require immediate actions for the achievement of the vision.

Rita Dickson, a fish farmer from Mucuti community said that her life will be changed. Her two children are true gifts for her success.

“I sat down with my children to share GALS and we all agreed to build a better house using our resources,” she said.