Published: 08 September 2021
Last edited: 08 September 2021
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Traditionally, fishing has been a male dominated industry mainly due to the used type of tools and equipment, culture, working hours, and poor policies. The presented solution is addressing this challenge brought about by tools or equipment which is the main barrier to women. Usually fishing requires the purchase of power or manual driven canoes or boats and nets which costs are out of reach by rural women. Therefore, a simpler and cheaper technique has been introduced - the naturally made strings from which locally available baits are hanged. These strings are tied between mangrove trees. This technique enabled women to participate in fishing given the costs of equipment become affordable; the technique does not require fishing at night or far away from homes; and equipment can be carried by women without much use of physical effort.


West and Central Africa
Scale of implementation
Coastal forest
Forest ecosystems
Freshwater ecosystems
Marine and coastal ecosystems
River, stream
Tropical deciduous forest
Tropical evergreen forest
Wetland (swamp, marsh, peatland)
Access and benefit sharing
Ecosystem services
Fisheries and aquaculture
Gender mainstreaming
Outreach & communications
Sustainable livelihoods
Loss of Biodiversity
Ecosystem loss
Unsustainable harvesting incl. Overfishing
Inefficient management of financial resources
Changes in socio-cultural context
Lack of technical capacity
Unemployment / poverty
Sustainable development goals
SDG 1 – No poverty
SDG 2 – Zero hunger
SDG 5 – Gender equality
SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth
SDG 10 – Reduced inequalities
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 16 – Peace, justice and strong institutions
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 5: Habitat loss halved or reduced
Target 8: Pollution reduced
Target 10: Ecosystems vulnerable to climate change
Target 14: Ecosystem services
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience
Target 19: Sharing information and knowledge


Mono Maritime, Togo
6°34'29.6 N - 1°37'29.8 E
Show on Protected Planet


1. Mismatch between financial resources and demand (economic)

2. Long standing cultural and spiritual stereotype about women and business (social)

3. Continued availability of unethical fish catches e.g. use of small nets, use of dynamite and agrochemicals (environmental, economic and social)

4. Recovery of mangroves is taking time and this innovation need mangroves for anchoring and fish breeding (environmental)

5. Strings derived from natural products are easily and quickly biodegradable (environmental)


1. Rural women - girls, single mothers, widows, married but abandoned women, female teachers and nurses

2. Children - nutritional wise

3. Authority of the protected biosphere

4. Consumers - lowered fish prices and availability of fish throughout the year

How do the building blocks interact?

Before introducing the innovation (the first building block), attempts were made to secure good relations particularly between couples and between male and female fisherfolk to avoid confrontations. We realized that the first building block cannot succeed without support from the second building block. We started by holding meetings with the main target group i.e. women to inform them about the innovation and about how some social issues ican be affected. Then we organized meetings between couples and we prioritized those with more conservative partners. Then we organized meetings between women and men to explain the innovation and its social-economic benefits. There were several meetings for almost 3 years. After 3 years we were convinced that almost 97% have a good understanding of the project and its benefits.


- Reducing inequality in the fishing industry, women constitute approx 35% of all people involved in fishing. In the past they were only involved in selling. 

- Decrease in rural poverty  particularly among women. Household incomes almost doubled. 

- Increased ability to cope with COVID 19 restrictions

- Decrease in the rate of malnutrition among children by approx 30%

- Decrease in Gender-based-Violence (GBV) by almost 69%

- Decrease of almost 40%  in the rate of deforestation caused by use of trees for construction of canoes and boats

- Decrease of almost 65% in the destruction of mangrove trees caused by the need to improve navigation 




My family lived near a River called Ghona that flows from the white mountain i.e. Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. My family used to survive on fishing and we were above many other families economically. I grew up with the belief that fishing can uplift families from poverty. But since childhood I asked myself why is mom and my sisters not involved in fishing? I was always told it is against culture and islam religion for them to go out at night. But I knew my mom very well. She was amongst the few women during those colonial days they were involved in the fight for independence from Great Britain. Sometimes they held meetings at night to avoid being detected by the colonial police. I used to ask myself if she can attend these meetings at night why she cannot fish at night? But in order not to look as a bad boy to my family, I kept quite; though I always believed my mother could fish better than all of us! I also wanted her to be on my side during fishing. I felt more protected with her! When I saw this in Togo in West Africa I said to myself this is the time for me to set things right! 

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