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March 2016. Many articles and reports describe how African women are key players in small scale fisheries, largely contributing to food security, wealth creation and fight against poverty. Yet women lack visibility, are not in the radar of policy makers, are discriminated when it comes to training, access to resources and to finances. The network RAFEP (Réseau Africain des Femmes de la Pêche) was created in 2011 by COMHAFAT (Conférence Ministérielle sur la Coopération Halieutique entre les Etats Africains Riverains de l’Océan Atlantique) to become a cooperation and development tool for women representative of the 22 countries that are members of COMHAFAT .
Each of the 22 RAFEP national representatives of African countries are important facilitators bridging local communities with national and international players. They participate to disseminate knowledge in the field and facilitate bottom-up flux of information. RAFEP major ambitions are to facilitate projects carried out by women entrepreneurs in the seafood industry, to facilitate the sharing of technical and commercial knowledges, to stimulate women visibility with public authorities, and reinforce their political power. Two of the major objectives of the Networkare “capacity building of the network members” and “upgrading the organisational and political capacity of members”.
Picture. RAFEP members during the training session in Larache – Maroc, 21-23 March 2016.
In 2016, the president and the director of WSI were mandated by COMAHAFT to organise and to conduct a three days training session for RAFEP members, focusing on leadership, project development and communication strategy. Details in French.
In 2015, during the regional seminar on international trade of seafood products that was organised in Saly Portudal in June the 17th and 18th, RAFEP women made it clear: “RAFEP members need to be trained in leadership, in communication (within the group and with external stakeholders), in governance and management skills”. During that week some of the RAFEP members have been interviewed by the president of WSI (See article in INFOPECHE in French).