Mercy Wasai Mghanga: Profile of a Kenyan Woman Fishworker Leader
Chairperson of the Bamburi Beach Management Unit, Mercy works extensively on fish product development and marketing
By Hadley B. Becha (email@example.com), Executive Director, Community Action for Nature Conservation, Kenya
Mercy is a 45-year-old fish trader in Mombasa in Kenya. She does not come from a fishing family. However, in 1996, after dropping out of school because of poverty, Mercy migrated at the age of 25 to Mombasa city and started out as a fish vendor, selling to different beach hotels in Mombasa.
Taking to fish vending was not easy for Mercy. She had very little knowledge, and had to learn the trade from male traders in the various fish landing sites. Being a Muslim woman, given the biases that Muslim women working outside the home in Kenya have to face, it was not easy to take up a trade that involved interacting a lot with ‘other’ men and working long hours outdoors. Her lack of skill in selecting good stock made her incur losses when she started off.
However, Mercy persisted, establishing her base at the Bamburi fish