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 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.

With an estimate of 40 million people depending on the lake’s resources in the Lake Victoria basin, Kiziru and Nangoma included, small scale fisherfolk make a substantial contribution to food security and nutrition. Many have been engaged in illegal fisheries with illegal sized equipment which has been confiscated and destroyed by the Fisheries Protection Unit (FPU) during enforcement of legal fishing.

Additionally, the new national regulations increased the boat size to a minimum 28ft so as to eradicate fishing from breeding areas and has disadvantaged SSF communities. Without support to acquire standard equipment many cannot return to fishing due to the high rates of poverty and they are marginalised out of the sector particularly women.

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. 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, nets and engines to engage in legal fisheries, to sustain livelihoods and fisheries resources. The boats will be collectively managed by the women in groups to support their re-engagement into the fisheries sector.

Celebrating IYAFA without taking concrete actions to create enabling environment, will steal away from us an opportunity to advance the contributions of small scale fisheries to poverty eradication, food security and sustainable utilisation of fisheries resources.