• The Echo Network Africa donates four cages for 100 vulnerable women fisher-folk to empower them from being exploited sexually by fishermen.
• Train women on aquaculture cage farming to reduce HIV spread in the beaches
An NGO is spending Sh11 million to fight poverty and HIV burden by supporting Homa Bay women to practice cage fishing in Lake Victoria.
The Echo Network Africa started the initiative on Saturday by donating four cages for 100 vulnerable women fisherfolk to empower them from being exploited sexually by fishermen.
ENA installed the cages in the lake waters in Suba North constituency.
The cages were distributed to four different women groups operating at Litare, Kaugege, Wakula and Mirongo beaches. Each group consists of 25 women.
Homa Bay Agriculture executive Aguko Juma, ENA senior programmes manager Teresia Wakahia, Homa Bay MCA Nereah Oketch and county BMU chairman Edward Oremo launched use of the cages at Litare beach.
Wakahia said each of the cages has a capacity to carry 35,000 fingerlings.
The cages are measuring 10 by 10 meters wide and 7 metres deep.
“Each cage is expected to produce 15 tones of fish at six months of harvesting. The initiative would help the women self reliant and curb issues of sex for fish which has promoted spread of HIV,” Wakahia said.
Homa Bay leads in HIV prevalence in Kenya with 20.1 per cent.
Speaking at Litare beach in Rusinga Island, Wakiha said Sh11 million is a revolving fund that will be used to support a similar number of women upon being repaid.
She said they have trained the women on aquaculture cage farming, and that they expect to reduce HIV spread in the beaches through the initiative.
“The women have entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills to help them engage in aquaculture as a business enterprise. This will generate income for their families,” she said.
Juma also issued the women with the environmental impact assessment licences.
He said Homa Bay government is providing the women with free consultation services from fisheries to enable their fingerlings grow well.
“Extension officers will check health of the fingerlings and advise the farmers accordingly,” Juma said.
He 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.
The CEC said the frustrations had undermined the dignity of many women in the fishing sector.
Oremo said the venture will prevent spread of HIV in the area.
“Many women give in for sex due to poverty. This project will enable them to get money on their own and resist unwarranted sex,” Oremo said.