Samantha Farquhar, a student at the University of Washington studying a Masters in Marine and Environmental Affairs, has received a £500 student bursary to help further her project on the socioeconomic impacts of aquaculture on women in Nepal
IMarEST bursaries are targeted at undergraduate and postgraduate students, cadets and apprentices studying or working in marine engineering, marine science and marine technology and related topics. The bursary can be used to support planned or existing projects, ranging from activities and events, promoting marine engineering, science and technology as a career, undertaking research in your country of residence or overseas, or undertaking other voluntary activities.
Find out more about Samantha's research:
In Nepal, economic opportunity and household food security are recurring issues—especially for women in rural areas. Women traditionally stay in the home while men are more often educated and work. Women also often serve themselves last at meals and consequently eat less nutritious food, particularly protein. In fact, the national average of protein consumption (grams/capita/day) is only about 10% despite that 33% recommended for proper nutrition. To combat these nutrition and economic issues, the government along with NGOs have been encouraging and supporting household fish farming; however, the long-lasting effects of these efforts were not documented.
My research worked to find the socioeconomic impacts of an aquaculture initiative that was over a decade old in the village development community of Kathar. Between January and April 2017, 72 women were interviewed through household surveys in Kathar. Questions were asked regarding fish consumption, income, and feelings of security. Results showed that fish farming families consumed significantly more protein per year—an average of 50 kg more—compared to non-fish farmers. Additionally, fish farmers generated an additional mean of $265 in net profit, almost 40% of the per capita GDP, annually from the selling of fish. Women had formed a fish farming cooperative and its members reported feelings increased levels of happiness, self-confidence, and an increase in their education and skill set. Furthermore, even after the initial implementation of the aquaculture project fifteen years ago, aquaculture practice continued to spread throughout the village. Overall, fish farming was found to be a successful way to increase development and empower women.
"The IMarEST Student Bursary gives me not only finical support, but confidence. IMarEST's encouragement for student work inspires me to keep asking tough questions, and then find the answers to them. I believe IMarEST has allowed me to become a stronger researcher which will help me in my master's program and beyond. Sincerely thank you!"
View Samantha's report here (PDF)