How a group of women are turning waste to wealth on a Lake Victoria landing site

Globally, the fisheries sub-sector is known to be exclusively a male domain. Women who constitute the larger proportion of the under-resourced and marginalized groups are excluded in fisheries resource management. According to a report by the World Fish Center, women comprise 50% of the labour force in the fisheries sector, they are engaged in small-scale processing and trading.

In Ugandan today, unemployment is a major challenge among many young people, especially in fishing communities. This challenge is worsening with many of the fish landing sites being closed due to some fishermen using illegal fishing methods. From a survey carried out in September 2018 by Waste to Energy Youth Project (WEYE), the most affected gender seems to be the women living and working on such landing sites.

The women in these communities are a marginalized group limited to small scale and low-income activities like market vending, food stalls, temporary restaurants among others. They also face rampant domestic abuse which occasionally leaves many widowed or abandoned with families. The lack of adequate support and fair opportunities to sustain these women has led to a rise in prostitution cases. In the process, they are exposed to the risk of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Waste to Wealth Women Training Workshop

Funded by Katosi Women Development Trust, an organization that organizes and empowers women to work in groups to enhance their engagement in social economic and political development processes, WEYE Clean Energy, a youth-led social enterprise held the Waste to Wealth Women Training Workshop for the women in Buzindeere and Bugula landing site.

WEYE’s project contributes to SDGs 6, 8, 5 and 15 respectively by;

  • improving sanitation and hygiene,
  • providing decent livelihoods for women in male-dominated communities,
  • creating cleaner and eco-friendly briquettes from organic waste that can be used to substitute firewood and charcoal.

The Waste to Wealth Women Training Workshop aims at training women living on landing sites of Lake Victoria to generate decent incomes from proper waste management. Waste produce is another major burden to these communities as it has often been an agent to multiple disease carriers.

The four-day training workshops brought together over 153 women who were trained in the fields of waste management and briquetting. Among these women was Esther Kisakye, a widow whose only source of income was fish selling. She narrated how ever-since the Bugala landing site was closed, she had struggled to feed her family.

Currently, Esther along with a group of women are gearing to start a small-scale business that recycles plastic bottles to make charcoal briquettes from organic waste. They hope to invest their time, with hopes of generating a decent income. From such a persistence, they plan to save up with plans for expansion.

When more women are encouraged to take on such business opportunities, they will be able to generate household income and better their standards of living besides improving the community.

Development, Entrepreneurship

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