Lake Victoria is the largest freshwater lake in Africa and the second biggest in the world. It is located in East Africa around the East African countries which are Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. Tanzania covers the largest part of the Lake followed by Uganda and Kenya occupies the smallest portion of it.
More that 40 million of people use it for their social-economic activities, which build the strong cooperation among the East African countries.
To the side of my country (Tanzania), the fishermen situation goes bad day after day. These people conduct fishing activities within the islands found in the Lake Victoria. Despite the fact that those activities contribute much in the national income but still fishermen face many challenges. For instance lack of capital to generate their activities, absence of fishing experts, good fishing technology hence some it conduct very locally and get less, good security patrol as some in a very small scale conduct illegal fishing either by using poison or dynamite to easily catch a lot and affect people.
Most of fishermen are uninformed where some are illiterate, lack social services like media, health services, better shelter and schools. HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is very high compared to the mainland, there is a lot of water borne disease there, like diarrhea, dysentery and malaria despite of this situation health services are inadequate, you will find a lot of medical stores there where people take medicines without diagnostic as laboratories are few. People die every day due to lack of hospitals.
In general fishermen in around the Lake live in isolated environments; even most of leaders are not that informed about what happens in the islands, most are scared to often go there due to the risky of poor means of transport to reach those remote islands; despite of all the fact that fishermen also deserve all benefits as other citizens living in the mainland.
The world understand the importance of Lake Victoria fishermen in international marketing where tones of fish fillets are processed in Tanzania where people get a job to do, exported to Europe, America where our countries gain foreign currencies. United Nations has established and sponsored various projects based on sustainable fishing development. This is implemented by various UN agencies like UNDP, UNAIDS and UN HABITANT. All studies have shown HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is veryhigh. This shows these islands need special attention to help the lives of these uninformed poor communities before it is too late.
As I see it, a lot more work needs to be done. This is not only in Tanzania but in all regions of East Africa as we are in a shared Lake. Let’s not only enjoy what is brought by the fishermen to our table and our economy without considering their challenges. Nobody cares or ask why no enough schools in islands, no electricity, no enough dispensaries/hospitals, what about the lives of pregnant women in the islands, people die everyday not even appearing in the newspapers.
Majority of fishermen working in the islands are young people who sacrificed to work for their countries and feed the world. Something needs to be done for our fellow young people in the islands with their poor families which live in isolated islands. Spoiling the future of these young fishermen with their working environments is destruction of the existence of Lake Victoria with its resources that can be seen even more in few years to come. We young people need to wake up and start to speak for our fellow young fishermen in every little we do everywhere!