Liberia Joins African Women Fish Processors Network

Liberian Fish Processors and Traders Leaders post following their overwhelming selection Tuesday in Monrovia.  

--- First Leadership Inducted

More than 25 Liberian Fishmongers/processors and fish Farmers from Montserrado, Bomi, Cape Mount, NImba, Bong, Grand Bassa, Sinoe, Rivercess, Grand Kru, and Maryland Counties have joined other countries across Africa in the establishment of the African Women Fish Processors and Trade Network. 

The Liberian leadership was overwhelmingly selected Tuesday November 2, 2021 in Monrovia at the end of a two-day international consultative fisheries meeting on the establishment of the Liberian chapter of the African Women Fish Processors and Trade Network (AWFISHNET-Liberia)

Speaking upon her selection as President of the Liberian chapter, Madam Annette Johnson commended Liberian fishmongers/fish processors for the confidence imposed in her and promised to work cooperatively with the administration of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority for the numerous assistance given to women in fisheries.

Madam Johnson at the same time pledged that her organization would work closely with NaFAA to ensure that they meet the expectations of their parent organization and attract the needed support to promote Liberian fish processors.

Others selected by Liberian fishmongers/processors and fish farmers were Elizabeth Mulbah Vice president for Administration, Julia Nah Vice president for operations, Theresa S Bayon Secretary General, Betty Greaves Financial Secretary, Cecelia Johnson Treasurer, Henrietta Sumo National Coordinator and Lovo Sorsor Youth Representative.

At the start of the two days event Mrs. Funmilola Shelika of AWFISHNET, made a presentation introducing AWFISHNET as well as the background and objectives. Mrs. Shelika highlighted the help female fish processors receive as members of AWFISHNET, and how they too can be of help to one another especially when they come together as a team, with one voice and thru a network. She emphasized that sourcing funding as an individual can be difficult, but with a well-organized platform or organization that has a clear objective couple with the recognition by its national government, they can gather the appropriate resources needed to improve their fish processing activities. 

According to Mrs. Shelika, AWFISHNET has a total of 28 countries as members, after starting off with six (6) countries and then thirteen (13). She also acknowledged that there is a challenge when it comes to the languages of the continent and the use of smartphone to communicate via WhatsApp and other modern forms of communication. 

She admonished the members to avoid bottleneck and bureaucracy and divorce the organization from all political activities as this was not the purpose for which AWFISHNET came into existence.

The opening of the gathering was graced by representatives of the African Union Inter-Africa Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) and African Women Fish Processors and Trade Network (AWFISHNET) Mrs. Funmilola Shelika and Dr. Annie Lewa respectively. The two will facilitate the formation of the network Liberia chapter. 

Meanwhile, AWFISHNET is a Non-For-Profit, non-political and non-religious network that focuses to enhancing women’s capabilities and potential for sustainable and equitable development, food security, poverty eradication and safeguarding of the environment. It a platform that seeks to strengthen women fish workers position and contribute to the SDGs and continental agenda of ending hunger in Africa and halving poverty by the year 2025, given their key role as active players in a fisheries sector and of African society in line with existing national, regional and global instruments, policies and strategies. The network exists as a coordinating body for all its members involved in fish processing and trade in Africa. Members use the network as a consultative mechanism to strengthen institutional coordination with respect to matters that affect their interest as women fish processors and traders at national, regional and globally. 

The idea to establish the women’s network of fish processors and traders was conceived in November 2016 during the African women’s training on fish Handling, Hygiene and Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures along the Post- Harvest Value Chain. The founding members confirmed that a lack of such organization and institutional participation by women in the sector is a significant indicator and source of marginalization, where inequitable access to fisheries governance is directly related to inadequate and insecure access to resources. The network was launched in April 2017, in Dar Es Salaam Tanzania during the Consultative Workshop that declared its headquarters to be in Mwanza.

As a coordinating body for its members involved in fish processing and trade, AWFishNET exists to strengthen institutional coordination and collaboration with respect to matters that affect the interests of women fish processors and traders in Africa. 

The overall objective of the network is to contribute to improving the welfare, working conditions and income of women in the fisheries sector (and especially women in the post-harvest sector) within the member states of the African Union.

The Network will provide a continental platform for women fish processors and traders to achieve the following.