The 'Recognition of Women's Contribution to Domestic Fish Supply for Nutrition and Health' was the central theme of a webinar organised by Mundus maris Nigeria for the celebration of International Women's Day 2022. With Ana Menezes of FAO as keynote speaker this was a great opportunity to explore what's special for women beyond official speeches. Moderator Stella Williams had invited her to share some lessons based on her own experiences.

So this Ana did superbly taking the audience on a trip from her early life in her native Mozambique to become an expert in an international organisation.

She shared some of the challenges when starting on her journey to a professional career under the difficult conditions of a country suffering from post-colonial unrest and even recent armed attacks in the Cabo Delgado Province.

She set the scene by recalling an episode from her doctoral field research when she had been struggling initially to be able to interview people. Through a chance encounter she was recognised not as a nosy external person, but the daughter of a highly regarded local woman who had enabled school access to many children. When the word got around people flocked in showing their gratitude. From then on, the research work became easy.

She coached her talk into the format of 10 take home messages and illustrating these with quotes and memories of her own professional development steps.

Among these, she underlined the importance of making sure one's name was associated with honourable memories, personal and professional. She also invited listeners to be humble and to orient life choices by emulating good role models.

Being authentic and oneself and caring for others were among the other important messages. See the essence of her 10 point advice here.

Funmilola Shelika of the pan-African network of women in fisheries AWFISHNET was next to speak. She acknowledged her gratitude to the network as it had given her many opportunities to learn as well as sharing experiences with others and grow through that engagement both personally and professionally.

Stella Williams, Vice President of Mundus maris and moderator of the webinar, then called on several other participants, among them

  • Cornelia E Nauen of Mundus maris, who spoke about the experiences with the Small-Scale Fisheries Academy in Senegal as an operational support to the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries with emphasis on gender equity and equality. She sketched out the methodolgy and some early results and hoped to team up with partners elsewhere to test the doability in other countries,
  • Gladys Simplice, who spoke about how women help each other,
  • Timiebi Koripamo-Agary, who deplored the terrible damage the oil and gas industry was still inflicting on people and nature in the Niger Delta,
  • Ifedolapo Omobolade Fajimi, another AWFISHNET representative,
  • Samuel Orovwuje addressing the problems for women and men in the Niger Delta,
  • Lydia Adeleke was happy to follow the celebration of the International Women's Day from Akure, Ondo State, 
  • Patricia Uwheraka Jeriedayaro
  • Mercy Adeogun greeted the gathering from Victoria Island.

Not all speakers announced were able to talk given that maintaining internet connectivity was a challenge for some in the webinar. Despite these technical difficulties more than 30 participants joined in.

Then it was time to close. Ayojesutomi Abiodun-Solanke, Secretary of the Mundus maris group in Nigeria, thanked all participants for their contributions and announced that the video recording would be available shortly upon request to anybody interested.

The attractive announcement of the event is below. Watch this space for more from the group in Nigeria and other places.