World Aquaculture Society Meetings

TRAINING WOMEN AND YOUTH TO ENHANCE SUSTAINABLE AQUACULTURE AND INCREASE FOOD SECURITY

Briana Goodwin*, Jenna Borberg, Stephanie Ichien, and Hillary Egna
 
AquaFish Innovation Lab
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR 97331
briana.goodwin@oregonstate.edu

Successful aquaculture development depends upon building and sustaining a gender-balanced community of students, professionals, and community members. However, women's potential to contribute to agriculture sector growth and improved nutrition is limited by restricted market opportunities, lack of access to education, and by inequalities in economic participation and decision-making power. Likewise, the world's 1.8 billion youth, most of whom live in developing countries, encounter similar obstacles due to inadequate access to employment, education, and decision-making. Not only are women and youth tied by their barriers to participation in the agriculture sector, they also are intrinsically linked to household nutrition by maternal health through early childhood development.

Undernutrition in the first two years of a child's life can have permanent consequences on their well-being. Mothers, as gatekeepers of household nutrition, have the power to improve children's health - if given the opportunity. As such, the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Aquaculture & Fisheries (AquaFish Innovation Lab) is conducting research and training activities that engage women and youth on sustainable aquaculture practices. Since 2006, AquaFish has engaged over 3,300 women in short-term trainings on sustainable aquaculture and household nutrition. In 2016, 50% of degree-seeking students supported by AquaFish were women.

In Nepal, school ponds were established to train 8 teachers and 120 students about carp aquaculture and best management practices. Associated women's fish farmer groups, totaling 44 women, received additional training on how to improve household food security by incorporating small indigenous fish. AquaFish researchers in Kenya conducted trainings with 51 youth on establishing cage culture systems. Participants were trained on several aspects of pond culture from site selection and construction to production, management, and fish farming as a business. Empowering women and youth with knowledge and skills on aquaculture can positively impact household nutrition, food security, and income.

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