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Ripples of hope – fishmonger women

Lake Victoria, Kenya

These women process fish, which puts them in the middle of a value chain. It also puts them at risk of significant harm. And when they can’t work, they have no income. So, we’re supporting Commonwealth Business Women Africa to make positive changes to these women’s working lives. This includes implementing safety measures in the workplace and introducing alternative ways to earn an income.

These are based on the risk assessment recommendations for a safer and healthier working life for the fishmongers and include both short- and long-term targets. You can download the risk assessment at the bottom of this page.

Invest in purpose-built facilities and workstations at both the port and market. Careful design can greatly mitigate the risks faced by the women, fishermen and their customers. 

Use plastic fishing trays and plastic containers, which would mitigate manual handling risk and reduce contamination in the boats and in the wider environment. 

Provide personal protective equipment – glasses and stainless-steel gloves – to protect those employed to process the fish.

Educate workers on the hazards and how to mitigate and learn safer techniques for manual handling and handling raw fish. This will help to reduce chronic musculoskeletal injury and exposure to zoonoses. 

“There’s a lady who was carrying her oil from the fire and she fell down with the oil. She got burnt: her face, her body. She’s still recovering. It’s been almost four months.”

Job role

Who is involved

  • Commonwealth Business Women Africa (CBW-Africa)
  • Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC)
  • Government of Kenya
  • Equity Bank
  • Local IOSH members
  • IOSH consultants
  • Fishmonger women and quarry scavengers
  1. Local OSH experts and IOSH members have conducted an impartial risk assessment to assess the current conditions.

  2. A well-wisher gave each woman $100 USD to inject into their business.

  3. We have identified Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute (KIRDI) as a partner to train the women in two areas: fish leather production and pig feed manufacture.

  4. Commonwealth Business Women Africa started a partnership discussion with Kenya Commercial Bank to provide financing to the fishmonger women.

We've included information about what's next for the project below. Keep your eye out for updates, which we'll publish as and when we have them.

    • Conduct a fact-finding mission at KIRDI in Kisumu.
    • Conduct a fact-finding mission with Fish Fliers makers in Kisumu (this is another potential source of income).
    • Provide PPE to the fishmonger women through Kenya Commercial Bank partnership.
    • Provide safety and health training in the workplace.

Get involved

We welcome your support in helping people stay safe at work. It can change the lives of the most vulnerable workers. Find out more about these projects and the work we are doing.