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The ‘Increase of Women Economic Empowerment through Cage Fish Farming’ Climate Smart Agriculture project, which has a duration of three years (January 2019 - December 2021), was designed to increase the economic empowerment of 1,400 women in Bugiri District through aquaculture.

The project aims to increase income levels while also providing nutrition to the beneficiaries. The project is funded by Standard Bank South Africa, the Government of Sweden, and Msingi East Africa, to the tune of $720,000. The project’s goal is to ensure that rural women are able to raise productivity levels in a changing climate. This contributes directly to the UN Women’s strategic outcome 3, which pushes for women to have income security, decent work and economic autonomy. The project was rolled out in January 2019.

In Uganda, 700 women have been equipped with the skills and technologies needed to run successful aquaculture operations. Over a quarter of a million high-quality fish fingerlings – of the Tilapia species – are being grown by the beneficiaries, using aquaculture technologies.

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The women have been supported through technical training, mentorship programmes, access to inputs including feeds, accommodation and business management skills. The project has been well embraced by the beneficiaries and this is evidenced by the turn-up of 800 women for enrolment in the second cohort, higher than the project target of 700. However, due to resource limitations within the project, only 700 women could be enrolled.

Hands-on training and exposure to established entities contributed greatly to enlightening project beneficiaries (TOTs) and players at the district about cage fish farming. The public-private partnership (PPP) approach proved to be cost effective, as every partner applied the principle of comparative advantage.

The disruptions caused by COVID 19 and the associated lockdown has underscored the importance of technology and has pushed project stakeholders embrace technology such as virtual training.

Male engagement strategies employed at the inception stage of the aquaculture project created a sense of ownership, inclusiveness and gender equality, as well as increased harmonious relationships between the project beneficiaries, their spouses and other male stakeholders who were doing open fishing and supposedly threatened by the project.

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