Guinea: Haidara Djalikatou Cherif: An Inspiring Voice for the Empowerment of Women Fishmongers
In a captivating interview with Leonce Landry AISSOUN, the General Coordinator of the Observatory of Media for Sustainable Fishing in Africa (MOSFA), Haidara Djalikatou Cherif, a passionate fishmonger and entrepreneur, sheds light on the challenges faced by women in the fishing industry in Guinea and offers concrete recommendations to improve their situation. This interview resonates with her enriching experience after participating in a capacity-building workshop organized by the African Network of Women in Fisheries (RAFEP) in February 2023, with valuable support from the Ministerial Conference on fisheries cooperation among African States bordering the Atlantic Ocean (ATAFCO).
Haidara, a 29-year-old graduate in biomedical sciences from Gamal Abdel Naser University in Conakry, chose to venture into entrepreneurship in the fishing sector. Coming from a family of fishermen, with a mother involved in fish processing and fishmongering, she established her own small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) in collaboration with her family and cooperative members.
The interview highlights the crucial role of women in the Guinean economy. They actively contribute to financing the fishing boats, enabling fishermen to venture out to sea. Moreover, they play an essential role in the country’s food security, as over half of the population relies on fish from artisanal fishing for their daily sustenance. Each fishmonger or fish processor thus contributes to feeding their family, community, and local markets.
However, the current situation of women in the fishing industry in Guinea is critical and challenging. They face obstacles such as limited access to fishery resources, lack of adequate financing, and the under-recognition of their work and participation throughout the fishing process. Additionally, women’s representation in decision-making structures within the fishing sector is very low, if not absent.
Haidara proposes clear recommendations to address these issues. She emphasizes the importance of empowering women in fish processing, value addition, and marketing. She also calls for promoting gender equality within decision-making organizations and encouraging cooperative or group-based management among women in the fishing industry.
She insists on the need to establish specific programs to support the activities of women in the fishing sector in Guinea, as well as providing employment and empowerment opportunities.
She also expresses her gratitude to ATLAFCO for providing her with the opportunity to participate in the capacity-building workshop for RAFEP member fishmongers in February 2023. This initiative has been an invaluable experience, strengthening her determination to advocate for the rights and empowerment of women in the fishing industry in Guinea.