Mrs Ndoye Mame Penda and Senegalese Federation of 'Femmes Transformatrices de Poisson' (Women fish processors) received today in Brussels the 2016 Global Progressive Achiever award for their contribution to empowering women and implementing modern and sustainable processing techniques to improve their economic conditions. The award is given by the Global Progressive Forum to leading figures who achieved tangible results to promote worldwide progress and people's well-being.
Fish processing, a sector controlled 90 percent by women, is recognized as having high potential in Senegal. Women play a fundamental role in transforming the excess fish that would otherwise be destined for disposal.
A key move for women working in this sector was the decision to organize themselves and replace traditional wood ovens with modern fish processing equipment designed to reduce negative impacts on the environment and on the health of female workers. Moreover, new processing techniques allow these women to benefit from a stable income.
Receiving the prize from Global Progressive Forum secretary-general Doriano Dragoni, Ms Ndoye Mame Penda said:
"This award is an important recognition for all Senegalese women who fight for their independence and for their capacity to respond to their challenges and needs".
Socialist Maria Arena MEP commented:
"Mrs Penda and the Federation of women fish processors perfectly illustrates the potential that women represent to play a central role in African economies.
"Despite the adoption of numerous international conventions and protocols that reaffirm gender equality, discrimination and prejudices hinder the emancipation of African women. They hold less than 1% of the continent's land and receive only 1% of the amount of funds allocated to agriculture whereas they are the source of 70% of food production".
Zita Gurmai, president of the European Socialist Women, added:
"Especially with the UN Sustainable Developments Goals in place, we need to keep working on the implementation of law, programmes, funding and actions that help women improve their lives be it economically, politically or socially".