SeaPoWer’s goals and activities

To achieve an improved seaweed farming technology – the tubular nets – that transform the lives of women seaweed producers, supports their aspirations, farming and livelihoods needs and helps the sustainable integration of seaweed farming in the local economic and ecological landscapes, Sea PoWer implemented a unique approach linking innovation with women’s empowerment.

In partnership with the women seaweed farmers, we focused on :

  1. testing and improving the design of tubular nets for enhanced seaweed productivity;            
  2. validating the relevance and value of this new technology for improving women seaweed farmers’ wellbeing and empowerment.

We ran:

  • seaweed growth pilots with tubular nets in partnership with the women seaweed farmers from two communities in Zanzibar,
  • training and capacity building workshops with the women seaweed farmers on tubular net making and handling, safety at sea skills, record keeping, monitoring of seaweed growth and recording of environmental changes,
  • group management and social capital strengthening (co-learning, election of a secretary, oversight of seaweed growth trials etc.)
Getting familiar with life jackets for greater safety at sea.
Photo credit: C. Brugere
Knowledge exchanges and co-learning about tubular net making among seaweed farmers’ groups.
Photo credit: C. Brugere

We scientifically monitored:

  • seaweed productivity, environmental parameters, and fish biodiversity under the nets,
  • women seaweed producers’ perceptions of change and empowerment following the introduction of the technology.

We told the Sea PoWer story:

  • To other seaweed farmers, seaweed buyers, researchers and policy makers in Zanzibar during a one-day exchange and net-making demonstration workshop.
Sea PoWer producers sharing their experiences with tubular nets to a wide audience in Zanzibar, 2017.
Photo credit: C. Brugere
  • At national fairs and international conferences (e.g. WIOMSA Symposium 2017, WAS/EAS Aqua2018 conference, GAF7 2018).
  • To the international scientific community: our videoMaking Waves: Rethinking Seaweed Farming for Women’s Empowerment” was submitted to the Women in Seafood Competition at the World Seafood Competition at the World Seafood Congress, Reykjavik, Iceland, 10-13 September 2017. It earned over 840 votes (arriving in 2nd position out of 11 videos in terms of votes) and was widely circulated on social media and in our networks, including in the UN.
Demonstrating the functioning of tubular nets to Tanzania’s Minister of Industries, Trade and Investment.
Photo credit: F. Msuya
With my Sea PoWer sisters Dr Narriman Jiddawi (left) and Dr Flower Msuya (right) at the 10th WIOMSA Scientific Symposium, Dar es Salam, Tanzania, 2017.
Photo credit: C. Brugere
Presenting the Sea PoWer story at GAF7, Bangkok, October 2018.
Photo credit: N. Paul

We promoted the tubular net technology and the Sea PoWer approach:

  • To other seaweed producers in Tanzania mainland and in Kenya.
  • To other Blue Economy Challenge winners and other partners  at high-level networking events, e.g. Aquaculture Big Thin Tanzania, held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

We established links with:

ZaSCI – Zanzibar Seaweed Cluster Initiative ( – An initiative involved in seaweed innovative farming and value addition in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Most seaweed farmers are members of ZaSCI.

Seaweed traders (ZANEA – Zanzibar East Africa Seaweed Company). This export company interacted with the women seaweed producers of Sea PoWer in view of developing a possible collaboration for the marketing of the higher valued seaweed ‘Cottonii’.

Milele Zanzibar Foundation’s Panje Project (, which teaches Zanzibari women how to swim.

International Media Attention

Media outreach took several forms during the project and continues to this day. SeaPoWer was the topic of a number of mainstream TV and radio documentaries on seaweed farming in Zanzibar, in which members of the Sea PoWer team featured.

TV documentaries

CBS News, Climate Change eroding women’s status in Zanzibar
By Haley Joelle OTT, supported by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

BBC News, World Service, Seaweed, Sex and Liberation, by Lucy Ash

The BBC’s documentary about how women from Zanzibar are using SeaPoWer to fight for their livelihoods and empowerment.

ABC News, Seaweed fishing in Zanzibar, by Geraldine Doogue

A selection of press articles

CBS News
Women Seaweed Farmers in Zanzibar, by Haley Joelle OTT

The crop that put women on top in Zanzibar, by Lucy Ash, BBC World Service, Zanzibar 

The Daily Mail
Seaweed Farmers in Hot Water in Zanzibar

Algae World News
Climate Change eroding women’s status in Zanzibar

Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation
Revitalising Seaweed Farming in Zanzibar

MSN News
Climate Change eroding women’s status in Zanzibar

Final report

The details of all the Sea PoWer research activities, findings and achievements are available in the final report.