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One of the fish cages inside Lake Victoria. Inset: County officials hand-over the environmental impact assessment certificates to representatives of the groups. [James Omoro, Standard]

A non-governmental organisation has started an Sh11m aquaculture project to support 100
vulnerable women in undertaking fish farming in Lake Victoria.

The Echo Network Africa (ENA) acquired four fish cages equipped with fish feeds, which have been distributed to four women groups operating at Litare, Kaugege, Wakula and Mrongo beaches in Mbita Sub-county, Homa Bay County.

Each group consists of 25 women.

Homa Bay CEC for Agriculture Aguko Juma, ENA Senior Programmes Manager Teresia Wakahia, nominated Homa Bay MCA Nereah Oketch and Homa Bay Beach Management Network Chairman Edward Oremo delivered the cages at Litare beach yesterday.

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Wakahia said each of the cages measuring 10 by 10 meters wide and 7metres deep have the capacity to carry 35,000 fingerlings each.

“Each cage will produce 15 tons of fish which will be harvested after six months.  This is initiative will make women economically self-reliant,” Wakahia said.

She said they had trained women on aquaculture cage farming in collaboration with the county department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

“We have also trained the women on entrepreneurship and financial literacy to help them engage in aquaculture as a business enterprise that will generate income for their families,” Wakahia said.

CEC Juma issued the women with the environmental impact assessment licenses to allow them begin fish farming in the lake.

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He said his department will provide the women with free consultation services from fisheries department to enable their fingerlings grow well.

“The officials will check on the health of the fingerlings and advise the farmers accordingly,” Juma said.

‘Sex for fish’

Juma said the initiative will cushion the women from frustrations of “sex for fish”, a practice where men have sex with women before giving them fish, something he said had undermined the dignity of many women in the area.

“The venture being launched today will protect the women from frustrations by ill-mannered men who take advantage of their poverty to exploit them sexually under disguise of giving them fish,” said Juma.

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Ms Oketch, popularly known as Miss President, said the initiative will alleviate poverty in the area.

“Empowering a woman financially means empowering the whole family. This initiative will enable the women to educate their children and feed their families,” she said.

Oremo said the venture will prevent spread of HIV in the area.

“Many women give in to sex due to poverty. This project will enable them to get money on their own and resist unwarranted sex.”

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Echo Network Africa Lake Victoria Homa Bay County
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