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New Research Project Addresses Gender-Based Violence in Africa’s Fishing Industry


Saint Paul University is proud to share that Dr Philip Onguny, Associate Professor in the School of Conflict Studies, is among the latest recipients of the New Frontiers in Research Fund – Exploration (NFRF-Exploration) grant.

Dr Onguny, the project’s principal investigator, and his team have been awarded $225,660 to develop an interdisciplinary ecosystem model and innovative tools to address the issues of transactional sex-for-fish and gender-based violence in fishing communities in Africa. The two-year pilot project will be implemented in three Kenyan counties (Kisumu, Siaya and Homa Bay) along the shores of Lake Victoria.

“Although the impact of gender-based violence has received much academic and policy attention over the years, there is limited research on how competition for scarce resources, such as dwindling fish stocks, coupled with exploitative practices such as transactional sex-for-fish, exacerbate these problems, yet several livelihoods depend directly on the blue economy,” observed Dr Onguny.

 “Given the complex and multifaceted nature of transactional sex-for-fish and gender-based violence in the region, we aim to develop and evaluate gender-responsive, survivor-centred and trauma-informed learning and training tools using an interdisciplinary ecosystem approach and exploratory mixed-methods participatory action research,” he explains. “This will help to strengthen the advocacy efforts of our local partner organisations such as Stawisha Dada (STADA), Women in Sustainable Enterprise (WISE) and Kivulini Women’s Rights Organisation.”

The New Frontiers in Research Fund – Exploration — an initiative of the Canada Research Coordinating Committee —supports Canadian-led interdisciplinary research projects that are high-risk and high-reward.

About the Project Participants

Dr. Onguny’s project brings together an international team of academics, practitioners and policy makers of various disciplines and sectors, including: Neil Arya (Co-Principal Investigator – PEGASUS Institute, Canada), Caroline Odera (Co-applicant  – WISE, Kenya), Ilene Hyman (Co-applicant – University of Toronto, Canada), Patricia Orawo (Co-applicant – STADA, Kenya), Mumbua Mutunga (Collaborator – University of Nairobi), Philip Osano (Collaborator – Stockholm Environment Institute Africa), Melissa Whaling (Collaborator – PEGASUS Institute, Canada), Victoria Gachuche (Collaborator – Saint Paul University, Canada), Ally Yassin (Collaborator – Kivulini Women’s Rights Organization, Tanzania), and Austin Omondi Okuku (Collaborator – Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, Kenya).

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