Nsomba M'chuma that initially promoted strategies through solar tent dryers and improved fish smoking kilns as part of quality assurance in the value chain, has switched to use of Gender Transformative Approaches (GTA) to address barriers and mechanisms of change identified in developing fish processing and marketing.
Nsomba M'chuma aims to increase production and marketing of quality processed fish products by increasing participation of women and the youth in the fish value chain. The GTA essentially challenges gender inequality and improve women’s participation and income diversification outcomes.
Speaking during a monitoring and evaluation visit in Mangochi, Nkhota - Kota and Salima districts to assess progress in GTA interventions in fishing landing sites after initial training conducted last November.
Boniface Nankweya, World Fish Centre, Research Analyst in Malawi explained that women are the main actors in processing small fish species such as Usipa and Utaka.
However, they face more challenges than men in accessing knowledge, capital and markets. More importantly, women have lower control over resources which make it difficult for them to acquire and increase production of processed fish using improved fish processing technologies such as fish solar tent dryers and improved fish smoking kilns.
“GTA is being persued by Nsomba Nchuma project to address causes and consequences of gender inequalities and ensure equitable allocation of resources to both women and men to help enable change at community and household levels. This is the basis for more gender – equitable development outcomes that shift mind-sets and practices and facilitate institutional change,” hinted Nankwenya whose institution is spearheading the initiative.
He added that by applying GTA it will result in increased adoption of IFPTs, engagement of women, youth and men in lucrative fish businesses, and enhanced supply of health and safe fish products. This will eventually increase incomes and employment, improve household food and nutrition security, and economically empower more women and youth, Nankwenya elaborated in an interview.
“GTA is being persued by Nsomba M'chuma project to address causes and consequences of gender inequalities and ensure equitable allocation of resources to both women and men to help enable change at community and household levels. This is the basis for more gender – equitable development outcomes that shift mind-sets and practices and facilitate institutional change,” hinted Nankwenya whose institution is spearheading the initiative.
Frida Kadzandira, Lecturer in the Department of Sociology, Chancellor College who was part of the monitoring crew gave some solid background examples on gender developed in our cultures through socialization.
Kadzandira elaborated the importance of having champions taken and trained in gender within the community. The idea was to train their colleagues in their respective communities on various issues of gender. Once the communities understand gender better, they will be able to deal with some of the challenges better as well.
“GTA promotes mindset change in societies as it promotes critical awareness among men and women of gender roles and norms, promotes the position of women, challenge the distribution of resources and allocation of duties and address the power relations between men and others in the communities,” Kadzandira explained when asked to shade more light.
It is therefore expected that women will be involved in activities that were deemed pro – men and vice versa. She cited the example in the fish value chain, mostly women are involved in fish processing so with the understanding of gender related issues in fisheries. It is hoped that following the GTA empowerment, there would be increased participation of women in all the stages in the fish value chain.
Nsomba M'chuma is co-funded by the Canadian International Development Research Centre and Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research.