By: Kingsley Nana BuaduGender based violence in the fishing communities of the country is said to be on the rise and has been attributed to the decline in the fish stock, social-Cultural norms, lack of accountability among partners, poverty and polygamous relationships. This is confirmed by Findings Of a research conducted on gender based violence in some fishing communities of Central and Western Regions.
According to the research conducted by the Women in Fisheries Against Violence WIFVEs project, the effect of the gender based violence has not only been the economic consequences alone but injuries, adolescent pregnancies, child Labour, child marriage, increased in school dropout, burden of care on the elderly and stigma from communities. Gender based violence in the fishing communities is very real and women are very often the victims.
The roles of women and men in Ghana’s fishing industry are defined by traditional gender roles. While men undertake the fishing expedition women constitute the other large group responsible for fish processing and marketing. The further engage in fishery-related activities close to the household.
They are again mostly the financiers of the fishing expedition by fishermen. Unfortunately, their roles are under represented in the sector due to harmful cultural norms, practices and conventions. This is also confirmed by the 2021 International Monitoring Fund report on “The heavy Economic Toll of Gender-Based Violence: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa. According to the report, if violence perpetrated against women in fishing communities are reduced even by one per cent society stand to increase productivity and economic benefit by 8 per cent.
The Women in Fisheries Against Violence (WIFVEs) project which is being funded by the European Union and implemented by Hen Mpoano and CEWEFIA intends to achieve Gender Equality within Ghana’s Fisheries Sector by advocating against GBV, abuse and discrimination and also build tge capacity of Fisher folks, Community leaders and other stakeholders.
Capacity building programmes and sensitization training have already been organised for for Fishermen, fish mongers and processors, community leaders, and the media in the project areas which are Western and Central Revions.According to the research conducted by the WIFVEs project and validated by the stakeholders, 54 per cent of community members within beneficiary communities have experienced or witnessed a gender-based violence act. 90 per cent out of the umber are women. At the official Launch of the project at Anomabo, the Project Manager, Adiza Ama Owusu, spoke about the project and the research findings.
The Head of Cooperation-EU Delegation to Ghana, Massimo Mina, noted that the contribution of the Fisheries Sector to Ghana’s economy cannot be overlooked as well as the role of women in this important sector.According to him, gender equality is the key to realising the potential of Fisheries and Aquaculture to increase fish production and improve livelihoods. The Queen Of Anomabo, Nana Mbroba Dabo, confirmed the situation along the fishing communities and attributed the surge to some socio-cultural norms, lack of transparency and accountability by partners and polygamous behaviour of the fishermen.