Project final report

Improving nutrition through women’s and men’s engagement across the seaweed food chain in Kiribati and Samoa - Final Report

Date released
22 August 2023
Publication Code

Libby Swanepoel, Courtney Anderson, Nick Paul, Silva Larson, Ulusapeti Tiitii, Losan Madar, Esmay Tanielu, Barbara Pamphilon


This project aimed to develop gender-inclusive seaweed development activities for long-term health, income and wellbeing in coastal communities of Kiribati and Samoa. It worked to transform seaweed fisheries into a nutrition-sensitive food system comprised of short supply chains, village-based processing, targeted use of natural resources and marketing for families.

Working with coastal communities, we defined the elements of Samoan seaweed food chains, uncovered perceived barriers and enablers to men’s and women’s participation, their strengths and aspirations, and identified entry points for addressing gender inequality and nutritional improvement. This informed the codesign of the Village Fishing Teams (VFT) program, based on the Teams approach, adapted from the Family Farm Teams (FFT). The adaptation, piloting and evaluation of this approach in a different context (Samoa) and commodity (fisheries, specifically seaweed), was a key achievement of the project. This has provided a valuable case study to better understand the codesign process for such a program, in order to mainstream gender across other fisheries value chains.

Key achievements and impacts

  • Performed nutrient analysis of a range of key nutrients in locally consumed seaweed.
  • Developed an innovative digital 24-hour dietary recall interview tool for implementation in Pacific Island countries.
  • Collected dietary data from a large sample of Samoan adults, and establishment of a comprehensive Samoan dietary dataset including individual level macronutrient and micronutrient intake.
  • Achieved a new understanding of men’s and women’s roles (actual and potential) in the seaweed value chain, and strengths and aspirations for development of seaweed industries at the village level.
  • Codesigned a village-based capacity building model, Village Fishing Teams (VFT) for gender-inclusive seaweed development activities.
  • Piloted and evaluated the VFT program in one coastal village in Samoa.

Additional training outcomes in Samoa included a range of qualitative methodologies, and participatory research approaches, to upskill Fisheries staff in techniques for community engagement.

View the project page