Mauritius: A total of 15 women of the North-East coastal region received certificates yesterday evening after following a 24-month training on Empowering Coastal Communities through Native Oyster Aquaculture.
The event was held at Le Barachois in Poudre D’or in the presence of several personalities, including the Minister of Labour, Human Resource Development and Training and Minister of Commerce and Consumer Protection, Soodesh Satkam Callichurn; the Minister of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, Sudheer Maudhoo; the Minister of Arts and Cultural Heritage, Avinash Teeluck; the Parliamentary Private Secretary, Dr Anjiv Ramdhany; the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative, Amanda Serumaga; and the President of the Ocean Connect, Khemraj Persand.
The project aiming to promote the adoption of edible oyster aquaculture practices among coastal communities to actively sustain their families was organised by Ocean Connect, a Non-Governmental Association engaged in marine conservation projects and funded under the Small Grants Programme of the UNDP.
Speaking on occasion, Minister Callichurn dwelt on the objective of the training geared at promoting female participation and empowerment while indicating that it has contributed to the enhancement of the capacity of coastal women communities, thereby improving their living standards.
Addressing the female participants, Minister Maudhoo commended the initiative of the UNDP and Ocean Connect for promoting sustainable aquatic programmes that support the blue economy and has provided women with a new identity that boosts their confidence level.
Underlining that native oyster collectors are not recognised in the legislation, and the Fisheries Minister pointed out that the New Fisheries Bill will make provisions to allocate oyster collector licenses to some 100 people by giving priority to women.
Regarding other initiatives, he mentioned that under the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Reef Fish Project, funded by the Government of Japan, women oyster collectors of Poste de Flacq will be provided with three oyster display units for the better preservation of oysters.
Also speaking at the event, Minister Teeluck highlighted the importance of tapping into the potential of the blue economy for an island nation while emphasising that training coastal women will help them become more independent.
As for Serumaga, she reiterated the support of the UNDP to foster sustainable development, maintain livelihoods, empower women from vulnerable backgrounds and promote food security. The training will help to bring more visibility to these women and strengthen their entrepreneurial skills in native oyster aquaculture, she added.
According to Mr Persand from Ocean Connect, the training has provided the women oyster collectors with methods and techniques to better identify locations for oyster beds as well as to minimise the impact on the environment.