Kiziru women’s group, one of the 30 groups organized under the Katosi Women Development Trust, has been engaged in fishing for over ten years. The group has 24 members of whom 15 are actively engaged in fishing at Kiziru landing site. Nezikokolima women’s group is another group under the KWDT umbrella which resides at Mbale landing site. Nezikokolima women’s group has 23 group members of whom all are engaged in fishing and fishing activities like fish processing. Kiziru and Mbale landing sites are one of the many landing sites surrounding Lake Victoria.
The women of Kiziru and Nezikokolima women’s group are avid fisher folk and have been able to provide food for their families and their communities through fish trade. With an estimate of 40 million people depending on the lake’s resources in the Lake Victoria basin, small scale fisherfolk make a substantial contribution to food security in fisher communities. Due to the nutritious nature of the fish harvested like Nile perch and silver fish, fish is an important resource to human well-being and healthy food systems especially in rural fisher communities.
The curb of illegal fisheries, a directive from the Head of State, has had an adverse effect on the supply chain as many of these communities were engaged in illegal fishing. Many have been engaged in illegal fisheries with illegal sized equipment like illegal nets and boats, which has been confiscated and destroyed by the enforcers of legal fisheries. Additionally, without participation in their main source of livelihoods, many fisherfolk can not return to fishing due to the high rates of poverty in rural fisher communities.
The United Nations General Assembly declared 2022 as the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA 2022). IYAFA 2022 aims to highlight the role small scale fishers play to the contribution of achieving zero hunger. https://www.fao.org/artisanal-fisheries-aquaculture-2022/home/en/. This global initiative aims to uplift the voices of small scall fisher folk to support their engagement in fisheries equitably and sustainably.
With support from arche Nova, Katosi Women Development Trust has supported the women of Kiziru Women’s Group and Nezikokolima Women’s Group to acquire a legal sized boats to engage in legal fisheries as fish remains one of the main sources of livelihood in many of the landing sites. Rural fisher communities are characterized by staggering levels of poverty which necessitated a sustainable intervention. The boats will be collectively managed by the women’s groups to support their reengagement into the fisheries sector.
Note: Majority of the group members within groups from fishing communities all engage directly in fishing of any other fishing related activities.
We have celebrated IYAFA with the launch of supporting to women groups to access legal fishing equipment. The new national regulations to curb illegal fishing increased the boat size to a minimum 28ft so as to eradicate fishing from breeding areas and has disadvantages SSF community. Without support to acquire standard equipment they will be marginalised out of the sector particularly women. Celebrating IYAFA without taking concrete actions to create enabling policy reforms, will steal away from us an opportunity to advance the contributions of SSF and aquaculture to poverty eradication, food security and sustainable utilisation of fisheries resources.
Justine has been a member of Muwumuza women’s group since 2014. 31 years old, married and mother to 4 children aged between 2 and 17 years, she is also a daughter of a late member of the group who passed away in 2020 due to challenges to access medical care during the COVID-19 lockdown.
While growing up, Justine watched her late mother provide services for events with other group members. Her mother was also a KWDT tank mason trainer and the proceeds from all her work made a difference in the welfare of Justine and her seven (7) siblings. So, when she came of age, she was determined to join the same group as her mother to benefit from the group.
Justine applied to the group to become a tank beneficiary the same year she joined the group. She received a positive response, and a water tank was constructed on credit at her marital home. This helped her in solving her water problems severely because she previously she had to walk 3 kilometers to and from the nearest water source. During that time, her children were still too young to help with fetching water so she often had to ask for money from her husband to buy water for domestic use which would deplete their meagre household income.
After 4 years as a member, Justine applied again for a cow from KWDT through her group and acquired one named ‘Raffles’ in 2018 with support from KWDT UK. Raffles was an in-calf when Justine first got her and few months later, she gave birth to another calf providing her family with milk for their first time. On top of the improved nutrition, the family also earns a steady income from the sale of milk.
“I feel very happy because Raffles has greatly improved our nutrition with milk, improved my garden with manure and income from the sale of the bull calves. So far, she has reproduced three bulls. Its only unfortunate that I have not been able to pass on a female calf to another group member as is the regulation within KWDT but I hope that in the future she will give me a female calf to pass on. Currently, she is giving us an average of 8 liters of milk per day which enables me to pay for the cow keeper’s salary, pay for the veterinary services and save some money to supplement my children’s schooling.
“I feel very proud of myself that I can decide which schools my children should go to. When my husband provides a certain amount of money to take the children to school, I supplement what he has offered and instead take my children to a quality primary school. I would not have been in position to do it without Raffles. When Raffles gave birth to the first bull calf, I sold it off after 4 months and used the income of UGX 1,000,000 (£221) to renovate our house which was had no shutters and plaster on the walls. I now have two bull calves and I am looking forward to complete payment for my plot of land with the savings I accumulated during lockdown when children were not going to school so that I can increase on the food production for consumption and sale. As for KWDT, I only have praises for their wise decisions that have improved the livelihoods of people like me, otherwise where could I have got the money to construct a tank and buy a cow?” wondered Justine.
KWDT has completed a new strategic plan that will include focus on female youth. Justine’s story is inspiring and a strong example for young women in the villages who seek to achieve economic independence. She has also already created employment in the community by employing the cow keeper, all important achievements we wish women to contribute to. I will commend her to mentor other female youth.” remarked Margaret Nakato the Coordinator of KWDT Uganda .
It’s with great pleasure to inform you that the Hundred and Sixty-sixth Session of the FAO Council endorsed Nakato Margaret as the nominee for the recipient of the Margarita Lizárraga Medal for the biennium 2020-2021
The Award, established by the Conference in 1997 and is awarded by the Director-General FAO. The Medal pays tribute to the late Ms Margarita Saucedo Lizárraga, Senior FAO Fishery Liaison Officer, for her work in fostering the promotion of fisheries sector, especially in developing countries. Margaret was selected in recognition of her success through Katosi Women Development Trust, for organizing women in fishing communities to work together. She empowers them with knowledge, skills, access to training, markets and technology. Margaret was also recognized as an early partner in the development and implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines). More so, Margaret featured as a “food hero” during the 2020 World Food Day celebrations at FAO. She was commended as inspiring, positive and passionate, a mentor and a strong example for young women in small scale fisheries- all-important characteristics of a leaders who contributes to achieving responsible and sustainable fisheries.
The Director-General awarded this medal to Margaret Nakato online on 19th of November 2021 at the launch of the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries 2021. The ceremony was attended by over 550 various stakeholders from around the globe.
A huge thank you is extended to you our partner(s) for your enormous contribution towards this achievement. Again, l congratulate the Executive Director of Katosi Women Development Trust, Nakato Margaret, for this outstanding accomplishment.
I welcome you to watch the FAO webcast here
You can watch the video that was played during the ceremony here
Thanking you all our partners for your cooperation.
Katosi Women Development Trust to date brings together 561 women organized in 19 groups all participating in different activities and programs. The economic empowerment program helps women to engage in activities such as candle and soap making, diary what , farming among others.
Cooperatives were formed to harness and reap the benefits of working together across the various groups. Therefore, cooperative trainings are conducted to help the women learn the art and principles of working together, identify markets for their products and find solutions to increase their productivity in their various economic activities.
The cosmetics cooperative society was formed and a training conducted on 31st of October, bringing together soap, Vaseline and candle makers. The cooperative brings together a total of 48 members so far.
The training was done at the new KWDT Center at Katutu, Ntenjeru that is still under construction but can accommodate the women for their trainings.
Candle and soap making was introduced to members of KWDT by Deborah Payne, a Peace Corps volunteers, during her voluntary work in Mukono in 2007 and the women have been using the same skills as well as transferring them to other group members. The leading producers of the soap and candles so far are: Katosi women Fishing, Bakyala Kwagalana, Kalengera, Manyi Ga Balimi Kiyoola, Bulonda, Nakisunga, Bugolombe and Balabirre Kuffe. They make 60 to 70 samples of soap twice in a month.
The cooperative is organized under the leadership of the Chairperson, Awori Esther, Secretary Lunyolo Florence, Treasurer, Nakatongole Joan, Discipline, Salita Mohammed and Time Keeper, Nalongo Mukiibi.
Interesting about this group is the fact that, as soon as KWDT members received the first training in cooperatives, to simply introduce the idea to them, and identify possible cooperative societies among KWDT members, the women immediately embarked on the task of organizing themselves into a cooperative society, starting with cosmetics. At the time of the second phase of training, which was aimed at training the specific cooperatives, these 28 women had already met up 4 times, put in place their bi-laws and introduced a membership fee of UGX10.000 for each member, not mentioning the very tough conditions like expulsion if one missed 4 consecutive meetings.
This sign of autonomy, empowerment and independence doesn’t come overnight, but from a series of empowering activities, challenges and training that have boosted the capacity of the women to take charge of their own development.
The cooperative makes soaps that are good for the skin, mosquito repellent soap and Vaselines, washing soap, both liquid and bar, candles that also have an essence of mosquito repellent and lotions for the body. All these products are organic and made by the women with avocado, aloevera among other ingredients.
It is not surprising how far the women of KWDT groups have come from the timid women they used to be ; to confident and empowered women they are not.
The next challenge that women are taking on, is designing an effective marketing strategy to ensure that the increase in production is followed by an increase in sales for the cosmetics products.
Getting them started is all they needed to stand on their feet! .