On April 4, the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Institute (GoGMI), based in Accra, Ghana, welcomed high school students from across the country to a maritime career fair. On offer were free ocean literacy presentations, lots of information about careers and networking opportunities. The students had beforehand participated in a survey to understand their perceptions of ocean careers. GoGMI is a local partner of the Development of Ocean Tecnical Capacity with African Nations (DOTCAN) Institute of Nova Scotia, Canada. It had invited Mundus maris Ghana to enrich the programme with an information booth.



Early in the morning the Mundus maris representative Sarah Appiah had already set up the corner with a roll-up and table complete with flyers, book marks and other information. It was 'the calm before the storm'.

The event was held to draw the attention of the high school students on the ocean on how important it was for humans and the climate stabilisation of the planet. Special emphasis was placed, of course, on the career opportunities within the Blue Economy that students could explore.

It was preceded by brief addresses by Dr. Debany Fonseca Batista of the DOTCAN Institute and the Deputy Minister of Education (Ghana). The latter insisted particularly on the chances afforded by such a career fair and its potential benefits to the students' career choices. The DOTCAN Institute highlighted its collaboration with GoGMI as part of its effort towards promoting the initiative "Women and Youth Technical Capacity for the Blue Economy" (WYTEC Blue).

The first speaker, Madam Sylvia Asana Dauda Owu, President, Women in Maritime for West and Central Africa, explained the opportunities within the maritime space. She gave an overview on the career options and opportunities, particularly encouraging the girls and women in general to consider opportunities within the sector. She highlighted that regretably only 2% of the workforce in the sector were women.

The next speakers expanded on these first more general remarks. Mr. Kofi Agbogah, Director of the Hen Mpoano company located in Takoradi, and the third speaker, Chief Engineer Emmanuel Tukperyi, Principal Marine Officer of the Ghana Maritime Authority, peppered their talks with descriptions of real life situations and examples to help students’ comprehension.

They made the students aware of the career prospects within the maritime sector giving accounts of personal journeys; their educational background and how they got involved. They shared insights into what they do so that the students would get a clearer idea of how such a professional career could unfold. They also explained the requirements for hiring qualified staff, organizational structure of the companies and what opportunities existed for career development within the sector.

In the exhibition area several organisations were proving information. The Mundus maris stand was almost run over by the high school students with their curiosity to catch all they could to explore their chances for work and meaningful engagement. The team patiently answered many questions and explained the core activities on ocean recovery and protection of this civil society organisation and the importance of citizen engagement in such crucial matters for the future of the country.

The final questions and answers session of the event had students asking very critical questions. They wanted to know why their academic curriculum did not include anything on ocean literacy, if the ocean was that important. Also, some students (who may be coming from coastal communities) queried why there were no inspectors to check illegal nets used in fishing, and why the sales of such nets were not banned. Responding to the latter, the Deputy Minister of Education admitted such lapses and explained the collaborations like for this event were part of efforts to educate students and bring about improvements with well trained people. While responses may not have been exhaustive owing to the complexity of governance structure, students were admonished to utilize the information they have received at the event to sensitize their fathers and uncles within the fisheries.