Mama Karanga

 Women in small-scale fisheries for food sovereignty

project area

 Kenya, Coast Region, Kilifi County, Kilifi township


February 2015 – June 2016


 Kilifi County hosts 5,085 families totally dependent on fisheries for their livelihood. Mama Karanga refers to female small scale fishery actors: traditional fish mongers and processors, well-known for their characteristic fried fish sold in the street markets of coastal Kenya. Their fish is mostly used at household level.

Mama Karanga are faced with daily structural and gender-based challenges. These challenges include the following:

  1. Difficulty in access to fresh fish due to their total dependence on the fishermen and the competition from bigger traders;
  2. Low representation and decision-making power inside the Beach Management Units (BMU)
  3. Poor quality and low value processed products due to inappropriate equipment and lack of relevant skills
  4. Household food insecurity due to low and uncertain income: 25.9% of women are head of families with an average of 7 dependents in the family.


The intervention aims to contribute to the improvement of life conditions and food sovereignty of coastal communities, in Kilifi County- Kenya, through raising of income and  food security improvement generated by enhancement of fish processing skills and preservation technologies.


  • 15 members of Uwezo Women Group


CAST, in cooperation with Kilifi County Fisheries Department, elaborated an intervention aimed to support the development of small scale fisheries. Specific attention has been paid to a group of women  (Uwezo Women Group) working in the preservation, processing and commercialization of fishThe intervention is aimed at spreading food safety practices in order to reduce Post-Harvest Losses (PHL) in small scale fisheries; to improve raw and processed sea food quality and its added value and; to diversify the final products sold into local markets.

Start-up and consolidation of a fish shop run by the same Uwezo Women Group, has the main goal of securing access to raw fish for women, mainly during low fishing season. To realize the project outputs, activities which include training, renovation of a shop, procurement and installation of fish storage and handling equipment and, development of an operational plan for best hygienic practices and identification of hazard, and the marketing strategy are earmarked for implementation within the one year period of the project’s duration.


1 – Knowledge, Attitudes, Practices (KAP) survey of fish mongers in fish processing and handling.

2 – Renovation and equipment of one fish shop

3 – Elaboration of an operational plan for best hygienic practices

4 – Vocational training in food safety and good manufacturing practices

5 – Market survey

7 – Start-up and consolidation of the Fish Shop


Kilifi County Fisheries Department


Chiesa Evangelica Valdese

Project key words: small-scale fisheries, mama karanga, food safety, food sovereignty