The formation of Women in the Maritime Sector in East and Southern Africa (WOMESA) was initiated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and launched in December 2007, in Mombasa, Kenya, under IMO’s program on the Integration of Women in the Maritime Sector (IWMS). The IWMS aims to encourage IMO Member States to open doors of their maritime institutes to enable women to train alongside men and therefore acquire a high-level of competence that the maritime industry demands.

WOMESA comprises of 50 founder members, drawn from countries within East and Southern African region namely: Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Zambia, Botswana, Angola, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Swaziland, Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan, DR Congo, Comoros, and Kenya.

Key Developments

In 2008, one year after its launch, WOMESA developed its first five-year strategic plan (2008 – 2013). The strategic plan called for the formation of national chapters in each Member State in order to determine and prioritize the implementation of the identified programs. So far, five countries have launched their national chapters namely: Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa and the United Republic of Tanzania. Ethiopia is in the process of launching its chapter in the First Quarter of 2014.

Through a workshop held in 2014, WOMESA, with assistance from IMO developed a five-year Strategic Plan (2014-2019). The objective of the workshop was to bring together WOMESA Governing Council Members, chairpersons from the different national chapters and IMO officials, to review the achievements made over the last five years and to develop a strategic plan that will guide the activities of the Association for the next five years.


To advocate gender equity, improve women’s access to maritime training and technology and promote their advancement to key decision making levels in the maritime sector in Eastern and Southern Africa.


To be a professional association spearheading the advancement of women as a key resource in the maritime sector