Lobby wants more women in maritime sector

French Naval Ship Fs Surcouf Commander Critine Ribbe (right) receives a gift from Betty Makena (2nd right) at Mombasa Port in June 2019. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

The Association of Women in Maritime Sector in Eastern and Southern Africa (Womesa) Kenya chapter, wants more women taking part in the Maritime sector.

Womesa chairperson Fiona Mbandi said in a speech read on her behalf by the chapter treasurer Sarah Morintat that Womesa was not happy that the number of women in the maritime sector still remains low.

"We have launched an aggressive campaign to sensitize and entice more girls to take up roles in the shipping and maritime sector. We are engaging several shipping lines to ensure that women get jobs onboard ocean-going vessels,'' Ms Mbandi said.

She revealed that there is a campaign programme for female graduates from maritime learning institutions to acquire the mandatory sea time training that forms part of their training curriculum.

Mbandi observed that so far, Womesa Kenya membership has reached 264 members.

She said that Womesa has been reaching out to communities and sensitizing them on the effects of marine pollution on the coastal environment.

Mbandi said among the organizations achievements in 2022, was the successful lobbying that made Nancy Karighithu, the outgoing Principal Secretary Shipping and Maritime Affairs an ambassador and special envoy for maritime and the blue economy.

Other key personalities within Womesa who got recognition and promotions include Everlyne Shigoli (promoted to General Manager Supply Chain at the Kenya Ports Authority KPA), Everyline Mwamure (GM Corporate Research Planning and Compliance, KPA) and Ivy Fakii as Head of Department.

On the Glolitter project Womesa Kenya chapter was among organisations from 30 nations selected to take part in preventing and reducing litter in oceans.

"Gloitter is a UN initiative that seeks to turn tide on marine litter in line with global development goals on conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas and marine resources,'' Womesa Kenya chapter Secretary Winnie Maina said.

The project was launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO), with initial funding from Norway.