In September 2020, the Namibian government, through the fisheries ministry, committed to developing its National Plan of Action for Small- Scale Fisheries (NPOA-SSF) by implementing the voluntary guidelines for securing sustainable SSF in the context of food security and poverty eradication.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations newsletter for April 2022, the one-and-a-half-year long NPOA-SSF development process was consultative and participatory, and it has led to an increased realisation of the importance that SSF play in the lives of riverine and fisheries dependent communities in Namibia.
It is now conservatively estimated that Namibia’s SSF sub-sector indirectly supports the livelihoods of over 280 000 Namibians, making up approximately 11% of the country’s total population. Livelihood support is in the form of income, employment, socioeconomic benefits, and food and nutrition security. Direct support to SSF is estimated at 46 500, of which 45 000 are in the inland fisheries sector and 1 500 fishers are in the coastal SSF sector.
The SSF guidelines promote gender equitable development strategies for SSF and the fisheries ministry. The programme is aimed at assessing capacities, gaps and opportunities for strengthening the role women play in the SSF sector.
To support programme implementation, the ministry, with support from FAO, has engaged 11 enumerators to undertake the women’s SSF mapping assessment, focusing on all 14 regions of Namibia.
A training workshop was held from 14 to 18 March 2022, and 11 enumerators were trained on the survey protocols and mapping tools. The end goals of the survey assessment, as a broader part of the NPOA-SSF, are to empower women in the SSF food system by strengthening post-harvest processing, and trade and build the capacity for women to improve their skills and capacity to do their work.