Empowerment and Social Cohesion in Côte d’Ivoire: UNDP helps 256 young people raise their heads

Port-Bouët, Abidjan: In Port-Bouët, a seaside neighbourhood of Abidjan, 256 young fishermen have increased their income thanks to a UNDP project that helped maintain social cohesion during the Ivorian election crisis.

Members of the NGO France Ivoire Sang Pour Sang, the project has equipped these young people with motor boats to transport fish. Funded by Norway, Spain and UNDP, the project also trained them in the production, processing and marketing of fish products. These include several varieties of fish sold on the local market. These fish are sold as is or smoked before being sold. The weekly production is three (3) tons.

The project aims not only to reintroduce them to the labour market, but also to foster social cohesion in a multi-ethnic neighbourhood. Thus, the young people were sensitised on social cohesion, HIV/AIDS, gender, and responsible management of the river space and the environment. Port-Bouët, with a population of 280,000, is populated by indigenous people, the Alladjan, but also has 20,000 seasonal fishermen, most of whom are foreigners. During the post-election crisis that affected the country, the young people stuck together, protecting their canoes and computers from looters. For four months, they were unable to go to sea, but established a warning system among themselves!

Fighting women’s poverty
The women who benefit from the project earn between $160 and $300 per month and their working conditions have improved. Now, thanks to the project and the income we get from it, they only go to school,” says Amamou Sandrine, spokesperson for the women who smoke the fish. “I have a daughter, and I know that she will be able to choose what she wants to do in life, without being forced to become a smoker like me,” she adds. The NGO has also promoted the networking of several other associations, including the “Femmes battantes de Gonzagueville”, which raises chickens using the waste from the fishing products of the young people of “FISS”.

The mayor of the commune, Hortense Aka-Anghui, has provided them with a plot of land of almost 3,000 square metres. This space will be used as a landing stage for the project’s canoes and boats. For the Municipal Councillor, Djaha Kouadio, Focal Point of UNDP Projects in Port-Bouët and in charge of the operational follow-up of the young people of the NGO FISS, “the project is a real opportunity for these young people. The young people, ten of whom have university degrees, are now contributing to the elaboration by the town hall of a development strategy for artisanal fishing on the Ivorian coast, which includes a number of civic actions such as cleaning up the maritime border and making the beaches safe.

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