Kismayu Women fisheries are changing the fish consumption perception through the adoption of innovative marketing techniques
In some societies, women are still discriminated on their gender. They are not given the same right as men. Women are still paid less, expected to cook, clean and only being a housewife. Women’s empowerment is really needed in societies. It’s so important for women self-esteem and also for societies. In some context like Somalia, women have greatly impacted by unceasing conflicts, poverty, and under-education that led them to assume the role of men for the survival of their families and therefore look for manual labors, engage hawking and petty businesses.
The story of Faduma Hussein Yussuf 32, a mother of 7 children, who live in Calanley village Kismayu town, is worth narrating. She is among the few women fish sellers that are beating all odds of life and struggling to make a sustainable living from the fish sector- an industry that is due to the large investment it requires coupled with poor awareness to its viability to the Somali population remained largely unexploited. Born from a family of humble background that barely could meet the daily living of its members, she was not fortunate enough to go to school and instead got married at an early age. The man she has married could not make her move out in her straitened circumstances too. Therefore, it became necessary both to look all means of survival for their newly formed household. They have made small savings from their manual jobs and it is this small saving that put Fatuma on the market “I had no other option but to make something that could put food on our table, our family was growing too fast and getting manual job became hard so I thought selling fish as a surviving option” Fatuma said.
Though Fatuma has been in the fish business for quite some years, the profits made couldn’t yield more than the day to day living and the prospect of business growth has remained indefinite. The opportunity came when SADO in collaboration with the ministry of fishing and maritime resources of Jubaland state of Somalia have identified her as a beneficiary of the project titled Strengthening access to microfinance through innovative approaches and business skills development for fishermen(women) in Kismayo which is funded by GIZ. Together with her group (Majengo) members, she has received entrepreneurship and business management training and after the group was granted USD6000 which they could revolve among the 26 members of her group. Luckily, Fatuma became among the first 12 members that have accessed the loan and she has expanded her struggling business. She has partnered with her family members who had also some small savings.
“When I received the $500 loan, the first thing that came into my mind was to change my doing of things by taking advantage of lessons learned at the training, I thought instead of selling the fish at one point I should be taking to the hotels and restaurants and that will give me reliable customers” Fatuma added.
Her idea became so enticing to her new customers and attracted a good number of hotels and restaurants and some far villages in Kismayu. The waiting moment for Fatuma came when she approached the Jubaland presidency office to supply the fish and after they saw her determination and hard work to deliver her commitments and difficulties she has been facing in transporting the fish which fetched good pocket of her hard-earned profit, the office of the Jubaland presidency gave her motorcycle fitted with solar plate, refrigerator that she could store the fish.
For the past four months, Fatuma transports the Fish across the villages of Kismayu and her customers have grown very much. She repays USD45 of the group loan installment, has a monthly saving of USD 50 and spends USD 20-25 for her family expenses daily. She has the ambition to take her business across the border and supply the fish to Kenya market.