Women fishermen from the Bay of Sechura, protagonists of economic and social development and standard bearers for environmental protection
21 February, 2023

Social Promotion Foundation is currently developing three projects in Sechura Bay in Peru, together with its local partner “Farmer School of Education and Health” (ESCAES).

The first project, currently in progress, aims to contribute to strengthening the value chain of the scallop shell in order to achieve economic, social and environmental changes for the benefit of the community of Sechura Bay (Piura).

In the other two projects, which have already been completed, has worked with fishermen, fisherwomen, fish farmers and their families on the implementation of strategies to improve production processes and diversify production in order to face the challenges of natural disasters and climate change.

Both projects incorporate a gender focus that fights against a structural machismo in the area, the eradication of which is a long and difficult process. To combat this, ESCAES works with all members of the family.

For ESCAES this issue has always been important, they started to provide education for girls, they made the start of the projects conditional on girls being in school. They also worked a lot with the schools.

Another very important issue in Sechura is the education of young women at the Higher Technological Institute.

Many of them decide to work at sea because they are fishermen’s daughters, and they have gone many times with their fathers, even if they did nothing on board. Today they are able to handle all the equipment: GPS, secchi discs to analyse the turbidity of the water, depth gauges, etc. They have the ability to leave the dock with the boat.

ESCAES tells us about Rocío’s case:

“Rocío, is like so many who come to our house (ESCAES), because there are so many needs that we have to attend to people all day long.
We are in an area of extreme poverty, in the Vicente Chunga Aldana human settlement.
Rocio’s husband died at sea, leaving a widow and two children.
Rocío did not stay still, although at first, she mourned for such a long time without reacting, not knowing what to do or where she was going to get money from.
One day she began to rummage through her husband’s papers and saw a certificate issued by ESCAES that he had completed a training course.
So, she approached ESCAES and told us that she would also like to come for training.
She took part in a workshop the next day and showed a lot of interest, she was very studious.
None of the men would tell her which area of fishery was hers , which is like no one telling her the bank account.
She wanted to continue her husband’s work, but she was looked at with suspicion because she was a woman.
She eventually found the coordinates, but did not know how to proceed, until the day she learned how to use the GPS.
She kept her husband’s crew, who were friends. Some of them were relatives. She started the boat again and went to sea with the help of the GPS.
At first, she went with the help of her people, until she found the driving area.
Now Rocio runs all the business that her husband used to have.
Although she knows that at sea sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, she also says of herself that today she is sustainable.”

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