Project Smoke It :Take Action Stage (University of Port Harcourt)

Studies have shown that women have higher labor burden as opposed to men. (Dejene, 2006). In fact, Women’s lack of assets, due to the gender discriminatory property and inheritance practices in many of the African countries limit women’s access and control over resources specifically land. Taking our local community as a key point of study and impact, it was discovered that the fish smoking business as one of the major source of livelihood for women in the Choba community Rivers State. The Fish traders of Choba community smoked their fishes in a very dirty environment, the traditional method of smoking fish also used poses health challenges like eye irritation, respiratory diseases and headache to the women and gave low economic yield to the traders. We saw possibilities and took action.

Having discovered the challenges faced by the fish processing women in the Niger Delta, we visited choba market where most women are into fish processing. We studied their local condition and observed that the Chorkor oven is closer to their traditional technique.

 

Stage 1: we met with the chairman, chairlady and members of the fish processing women committee and told them our plans of providing a chorkor oven for the benefit of all the fish processing women. They gave us a date where all the women will be available so we can meet with them.

On the 16th of April 2014 which was their general market day, we met with the women where we had group interview, discussion and demonstration concerning the importance of this new technique of smoking fish. We showed them the pictures of the chorkor oven and also decided to follow them by individual visitation. These methods were used based on their age, level of education, and family status.

 

Stage 2: One of the economic approaches we applied was to teach them a simple book keeping skills for proper account. This is to enable them compare the gains made between the two techniques of smoking fish.

 

Stage 3: The materials needed for the construction of the chorkor oven are; stabilized earth bricks, hard wood’ soft wood, sharp sand’ granite, cement and plywood.

The chairman gave us a land and the women also supported by providing man power. We decided to use the stabilized earth bricks because it is less costly than cement smoker, easier to maintain and also has a longer lifespan.

We partnered with Partnership Initiative in the Niger Delta (PIND) who also sent a representative to join us in our third meeting with the fish processing women on the 15th of May. We gave them advice on how to maintain and sustain the project. PIND agreed to provide the entire materials listed above for the chorker oven.

Stage 4: Using the entrepreneurial approach, a representative from PIND will construct the chorker oven while ENACTUS team members, the market women and some youths will assist and learn during the process. This is to enable the beneficiaries to replicate it any where else and at the same time earn wages through the acquired skill.

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