Women engaged in shellfishing can be agents of climate change resilience and mitigation in a win-win approach that still provides them improved food and nutrition security as well as economic livelihood.
A toolkit developed by researchers drawn from the Centre for Coastal Management, University of Cape Coast, Ghana , Coastal Resources Center, University of Rhode Island (USA,) TRY Oyster Women’s Association, the University of Ghana, and World Agroforestry, (CIFOR-ICRAF), details how women shellfishers in coastal West African countries can effectively lead sustainable natural resource management when they are given appropriate support to develop and implement rights-based co-management approaches.
The toolkit is involved two case studies in two countries with results that show that it can potentially be applied in 11 countries in the Africa.
The experts argue that with an appropriate governance approach that puts resource users at the center of management decision-making, positive steps can be taken using the locally available expertise to improve economic activities without hurting biodiversity
The toolkit is designed for use by diverse groups of local, national, and regional-level stakeholders to inspire action and support continued innovation, development, application, documentation, and scaling of improved approaches and practices. Crucially, this knowledge resource promotes an integrated approach not only for women-led shellfish management but also, mangrove management, food and income provisioning in the proximate land-seascapes.
The women from Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, and Nigeria who are practicing shellfish harvesting and trade in groups and individually account for approximately 79 percent of shellfish harvesters.
The toolkit developed from the Women Shellfishers and Food Security Project highlights a model focused on women shellfish harvesters that supplies opportunities to contribute to biodiversity conservation, food security and nutrition.
“The model aligns with efforts to enhance people’s food resiliency through nature-based climate change adaptation and mitigation approaches. It integrates findings from a participatory regional assessment, site-based research in The Gambia and Ghana, and experience in rights-based co-management of shellfish in West Africa,” the researchers noted about the toolkit.
The authors believe that it is possible to formulate locally driven and locally based livelihoods that enhance rather than degrade natural resources management, benefit women, and engage them in decision making when such a toolkit is used.
The goal is to catalyze and inspire sustainable use of local skillsets and knowledge to drive economic growth and preserve the environment across the region and beyond. Principles on co-management, participatory and stakeholder-driven approaches, as well as a rights-based approach are highlighted as pathways for successful implementation.
It also recommends having gender sensitive people in authority as well as using ecosystems-based and adaptive management since additional information and knowledge are gained through implementation.
Find the toolkit here …