Addressing human welfare and gender equity concerns is core to the USAID Oceans and Fisheries Partnership’s (USAID Oceans) work to strengthen Southeast Asia’s fisheries. To promote more fair and gender equitable seafood supply chains, in March 2019, USAID Oceans officially awarded a grant to the National Network on Women in Fisheries in the Philippines, Inc. (WINFISH) to raise awareness of gender equity and promote women’s empowerment in fisheries management in its learning site of General Santos City, Philippines. USAID Oceans will also launch a second grant in its Bitung, Indonesia learning site this year, with both grants serving as examples to be shared with its regional partners.
To officially launch its activities, WINFISH held an Inception Workshop as its first grant activity on February 21-23 in General Santos City, Philippines. The workshop convened relevant partners, including the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), the Alliance of Tuna Handliners and Mindanao State University, and presented analyses, tools and activities for gender equity and women’s empowerment, as well as held discussions on action plans and upcoming initiatives.
At the workshop, participants made commitments to support WINFISH’s work, pledging individual actions to help empower local stakeholders, particularly women, to implement electronic catch documentation and traceability (eCDT), address human welfare and gender integration needs in their fisheries work, and to advance relevant policies, legal frameworks, and advocacy programs. The workshop helped to build partnerships and strengthen collaborations between stakeholders and consolidate their efforts to integrate gender-sensitivity into fisheries management and promote gender equity and human welfare.
USAID Oceans will monitor the success of the gender interventions over the course of 2019 using a set of gender-sensitive indicators and will observe and share impacts within the fisheries value chain with its national and regional partners to promote a more equitable, fair, and prosperous fisheries sector across Southeast Asia.
Established in 2000, WINFISH has continuously been working towards its vision to “create a gender-fair society and a gender-responsive fisheries sector.” The organization seeks to increase the awareness of women’s roles in fisheries, improve women’s quality of life through advocacy and networking, and develop a more focused direction for fisheries-related activities of women, in partnership with men. WINFISH is well-informed of the gender dynamics in the program’s General Santos City, Philippines learning site, as the group partnered with USAID Oceans in 2017 to conduct a Gender Analysis of the General Santos City Fisheries Sector.