Capacity and empowerment of women fish traders in Tanzania.

Published: 13 May 2022
Last edited: 13 May 2022
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The Environmental Management and Economic Development Organization (EMEDO) hosts the secretariat of the African Network of Women Fish Processors and Traders (AWFISHNET).

We support building a gender-fair society and a gender-responsive fishery in Africa that recognizes, utilize and enhance women’s potentials and capabilities in the fisheries sector for sustainable and equitable development. We also contribute to enhance knowledge generation and dialogue between policy makers, civil society and scientists in order to develop fisheries and ocean policies that better account for the realities of marginalized coastal people living in poverty, and to help bridge between policy formulation and implementation. We specifically strengthen the organizational capacities of women fish workers organizations (national associations) where they already exist, and establish new ones where they do not yet exist. 


East and South Africa
Scale of implementation
Freshwater ecosystems
Pool, lake, pond
Coastal and marine spatial management
Fisheries and aquaculture
Food security
Gender mainstreaming
Health and human wellbeing
Local actors
Peace and human security
Sustainable financing
Sustainable livelihoods
Lack of access to long-term funding
Lack of food security
Lack of infrastructure
Social conflict and civil unrest
Sustainable development goals
SDG 1 – No poverty
SDG 2 – Zero hunger
SDG 3 – Good health and well-being
SDG 5 – Gender equality
SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth
SDG 10 – Reduced inequalities
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 14 – Life below water
SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goals
Aichi targets
Target 4: Sustainable production and consumption
Target 6: Sustainable management of aquatic living resources
Target 7: Sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry
Target 19: Sharing information and knowledge
Target 20: Mobilizing resources from all sources


Victoria Lake/Tanganyika/ Mwongozo


  • Women’s roles in Small-Scale Fisheries sector were not known and recognized.
  • Existing small associations of women were not structured enough, did not have a voice at the national level.
  • Women’s capacities in participating in decision-making and policy reforms were weak.
  • It was difficult for women to access fisheries.
  • Women experienced complicated access to credits.
  • Their access to information was limited.
  • Their participation in decision making process was inexistant.
  • The inadequate infrastructure, and the use of inefficient processing facilities made women's work difficult, as they are not healthy and safe.


  • Women working in the small-scale fisheries sector and nearby communities.

How do the building blocks interact?

The high degree of commitment assumed by all parties involved together with the training for transformative leadership have been mutually benefiting each other. Learning without commitment wouldn't have the same impact in terms of applying the new skills and knowledge in real life, to bring positive changes for the women engaged in the small-scale fisheries sector. At the same time, commitment without capacity building, without being equipped with concrete tools and knowledge, would not have allowed women to transform their situation and achieve their objectives.  



  • The Tanzanian Women Fish Workers Association (TAWFA), a structured and formally recognized organisation is in place for women’s voice to be heard. Representatives of this network are now invited to participate in workshops and meetings related to small-scale fisheries management and governance.
  • TAWFA representatives were invited to participate in sharing their views for the Small-Scale Fisheries (SSF) guidelines implementation plan and the revision of the Fisheries Act. It was the first time that women from the small-scale fisheries sectors were invited to such a policy negotiation process.
  • TAWFA became a member of the African Association of Women Fish Traders and Processors.
  • A gender desk at the government was established, after the engagement of EMEDO with FAO on the SSF guidelines implementation plan.


The Environmental Management and Economic Development Organisation (EMEDO) was formed as a response to the environmental, social and economic challenges facing the Lake Victoria region. The organization started in March 2005 when Editrudith Lukanga, the founder of EMEDO participated in different events. Among those events, the release of the documentary film "Darwin’s Nightmare"’ and the lake Victoria and Women’s workshops" organized by Lake Victoria’s Fisheries Organization proved to be the main sources of inspiration. EMEDO has been operating in the Mwanza region since 2005 and became a registred non-govermental organization in November 2006.

EMEDO’s team consist of experienced personnel with extensive local knowledge. This enables us to effectively carry out research and provide training to target groups and stakeholders. By using a methodology that includes internal and external capacity building, good governance and social accountability, EMEDO strives to improve the communities livelihoods through democratic empowerment.


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Editrudith Lukanga Environmental Management and Economic Development Organization (EMEDO)