No Sex for Fish: Nyamware
Nyamware beach is about 10 kilometers south of Kisumu town, the third largest city in Kenya and a major port for fishing boats on Lake Victoria. More than 80 boats stop at Nyamware beach daily, making the fishing industry the primary source of employment for men and women in the surrounding communities. At the beach there is a pervasive cultural practice of "jaboya", trading sex for fish; to ensure they get the best fish or any fish at all to sell in the marketplace, the women trade sex for fish.
The "No Sex for FIsh" project established a women's cooperative on Nyamware beach that brought enterprising women together to purchase their own boats and gain their own economic foothold in the local economy. In just six months, three boats were built for women to own and manage and 29 women and 20 men received business skills training while establishing local community savings and loans associations. This project succeeded in adjusting the economic imbalance that had previously left women few options but to exchange sex to purchase the best fish for food and for distribution. The resulting increased income for participating women went toward school fees for children, their households and their business. Women in an ownership role, a voice in the community and earning income dramatically altered the perception of women in the community. This project may also decrease the spread of HIV given the reduction in transactional sex. The success of this project demonstrates that small and innovative approaches addressing the root causes of economic and social inequality can create sustainable progress and change gender dynamics, leading to improved health and economic development.
"We are very thankful for this program it has allowed us to become businesswomen to control our own finances. The men have to ask us for the money. Though the business has many challenges we keep working." - Justine, 43
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