Information needs of women fishmongers at Mahyoro Landing Site, Lake George, Kitagwenda District, Uganda
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This study explored information needs of women fishmongers at Mahyoro Landing Site on Lake George, Kitagwenda District, former Kamwenge, and Western Uganda. Women fishmongers at Mahyoro Landing Site were perceived to have minimal education, resources and support networks and operate within the informal sector. Such women are likely to utilize information close to their surroundings which could be unreliable and impede growth and expansion of their businesses, yet successful business growth requires reliable and timely information. One of the issues for the dissertation was to understand and analyze how these women could be facilitated to access relevant information within their means. The objectives of the study were to: understand the business and the information context of women fish mongers; identify sources of information used by women fishmongers at Mahyoro Landing Site; assess the challenges experienced by women fish mongers in accessing and using information; and propose strategies for women fishmongers to access the needed information. A qualitative research approach was used. Data collection techniques used included in-depth interviews, participant observation and documentary review. Respondents were purposively selected in order to obtain information- rich of the participants. Overall, 27 women fish mongers were interviewed. The findings from the study revealed that information needs of women fishmongers were in the context of sourcing capital, acquiring advice and skills, marketing, and reliable networks. Women fish mongers relied on informal sources of information such as, fellow fishmongers, friends, neighbours and relatives. While some women encountered instances of misinformation, others had learned to make distinctions in information sources, mostly achieved through recognized information gate keepers, personal experiences and observations in the trade. It was possible to identify individuals and information that could be trusted. This had given them leverage on information sources that could be trusted and where caution needed to be exercised. Identifying and analyzing reliable informal information sources remains the most important strategy for women fish mongers, who may not possess resources to invest in formal knowledge systems. This study recommends that women fishmongers need support to access relevant information within their means such as strengthening trust networks within themselves and through local radios and television programmes.
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