MAPAMA and Women for Africa collaborate in training and empowering African women in the fishing sector

Tuesday, 18th April. The Spanish Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and Environment (MAPAMA), Isabel García Tejerina, and the president of Women for Africa, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, today signed a protocol for collaboration by which both entities agree to study proposals intended to improve development in Africa, as well as sharing work in planning and implementing programmes and initiatives aimed at boosting collaboration in theoretical and practical training for African women in matters related to fishing.

This protocol’s main aim is to foster training for African women in activities related to the fishing sector (fisheries, aquaculture, shellfishing, processing and sale, auxiliary industry, occupational hazards, etc.). Furthermore, it aims to aid training in complementary matters like business management and new technologies so that women working in the primary sector can get organised and broaden their business skills.

This collaboration also includes other lines of activity such as consultancy from the Fishing General Secretariat (SGP in Spanish) in developing and implementing strategies and policies based on gender equality in the fishing sector; exchanging information between the two entities to identify African women’s needs and problems (especially those related to fishing); and fostering female leadership in this sphere.

During the signing ceremony, Isabel García Tejerina stated that the Fishing General Secretariat has two important instruments to boost these activities. On the one hand, there is the aid ship Intermares, whose purpose is to give theoretical and practical training in fishing in different Iberian and American countries as well as African countries with which Spain has agreements. On the other, there is the Spanish Network of Women in the Fishing Sector, “which since 2010 has been doing great work for women in fishing and aquaculture, boosting their visibility and recognition, as well as communicating and exchanging good practices, thereby fostering work in associations and female entrepreneurship in the sector,” she added.

Similarly, the minister underlined “the Women for Africa Foundation’s significant track record in training, cooperation and empowerment,” for example via projects such as the Nador Lighthouse, a centre in the Oriental region of Morocco that will be opening in the coming months and through which the foundation will carry out activities to foster skills and leadership among women in the fishing industry.

For her part, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega stressed that “African women are great entrepreneurs; women with ideas; innovative women,” explaining that she is sure that by working with them they will not only improve these women’s professional situation, but also the way the sector is run. In doing so, they will also be helping give a boost to women that all international bodies agree is necessary for development in Africa.

Through this protocol, MAPAMA and the Women for Africa Foundation will also be collaborating in meetings and forums addressing the problems that affect and concern both African and Spanish women in the sector. One example of this is the 1st International Fishing Women’s Conference, which will take place from 5th to 7th November in Santiago de Compostela and to which the minister has invited the foundation to take part, running one of the training workshops.

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