Mainstreaming Gender Equity and Youth Inclusion
Although women and youth (ages 10-29) contribute significantly to aquaculture and fisheries productivity, their contributions have historically been overlooked and/or undervalued. The Fish Innovation Lab promotes culturally sensitive, gender-transformative, and youth-inclusive research for development through the dissemination of knowledge, tools, recommendations, and promising practices that recognize and account for 1) multiple needs and roles of youth, women, and men in small-scale production marketing systems, and 2) multiple domains of influence that facilitate or constrain the participation of youth, women, and men in development and sustainable management along the fish value chain.
Advancing Human and Institutional Capacity Development
Focusing on strengthening the capacity of host-country individuals and organizations, the Fish Innovation Lab efforts encompass the widening diversity of people and institutions that have a stake in fisheries-food-security outcomes and impacts. We mainstream capacity-development initiatives that build on a competency-based approach, which recognizes the value of both tangible and intangible aspects of capacity development. This approach allows us to strengthen development conditions across the fish value chain; promote community buy-in; and stimulate sustainability and scalability by supporting individuals and organizations to develop, manage, and own capacity-development and learning plans that lead to continuous improvement.
The Fish Innovation Lab will fund research for development that increases resilience and reduces risk at different stages of the fish value chain and at the household level. By resilience, we are referring to the ability of coastal residents reliant on income, food, and nutrition from aquaculture and fisheries to mitigate, adapt to, and recover from shocks and stresses. Aquaculture and fishery systems are particularly vulnerable to extreme storm events, unusual fluctuations in temperature and rain, and anthropogenic stresses and shocks. In aquaculture systems, fish are susceptible to disease outbreak shocks that can cause rapid, high mortalities and move swiftly from farm to farm. As a highly traded commodity, fish are susceptible to price fluctuations and are greatly impacted by feed prices. Contamination of fish from foodborne pathogens can also suddenly close trade markets. These are just some examples of how low ecological, environmental, and economic resilience in aquaculture and fishery systems may have devastating effects for the households and communities that depend on them. The Fish Innovation Lab ensures that strengthening the resilience of these systems, and the resilience capacities of coastal households, is a feature of all projects in order to better prepare communities to address the grave challenges they face.
The Fish Innovation Lab aims to assess nutrition as both outcome and determinant and supports research to identify interventions that optimize human health and livelihoods while sustaining aquatic ecosystems over the long term. Through research in our three areas of inquiry, we delineate and ultimately impact multiple pathways to food security and human nutrition in vulnerable groups living in low-resource households and among smallholder fisher families: pregnant and lactating women; infants and young children; and school-aged children.