The practice of beekeeping has intrinsic health benefits through providing a food source of great nutritional value, and furthermore beekeeping requires few inputs and capitalizes on a ready supply of pollen. In rural areas there is almost an unlimited source of pollen, and bees’ aid greatly in the natural cross pollination of local crops. The introduction of a BeeFree apiary in the villages within the Kembata-Tembaro region in Southwest Ethiopia will demonstrate how beekeeping based on the principles of bee health and nutrition, will carry forward the same benefits to the communities involved.
Summary: Due to the physical demands of traditional beekeeping in Ethiopia, and women’s household responsibilities, the work is traditionally practiced by men. The products of beekeeping are usually focused on the sale of honey for supplementary income. Introducing modern forms of beekeeping through the creation of therapeutic apiaries will allow for more women to take part in the practice as well as generate a higher yield of product. In addition these new methodologies will improve the health of bees, and thus the flora they service. Beekeepers can then diversify their investment by using a large portion of their harvests for community health issues. Integrating these practices into the community’s agriculture approach will have a much greater affect than merely increasing yields in bee products and crops. If this program is managed effectively pollination will be increased, the community will have direct access to the nutritional and health benefits of honey, pollen, propolis and wax, jobs will be created for women, and the disabled, artisan work will be sourced to local wood and metal workers, and surplus honey and wax can be sold to local markets to generate a cash income for local women and their families.
Our goals at Bee Free Apiaries encompass a holistic three phase approach.
1. Youth Engagement- Beginning with a week long education unit taking place in region’s school we engage community youth through our interactive hands on curriculum in the creation of a unique and personalized shadow puppet theater. Daily lessons and activities are paralleled to the lessons of the stories main characters encompassing such themes as collaboration and teamwork. Our overall goal for this phase is for students to become animated and educated about the the benefits of integrating beehives into their community.
Resources needed to implement phase one include international travel for Bee Free Teachers, in country transportation to and from project site, stipend for local assistant working 13 hours across 5 days aiding in day to day tasks including translation, 10 hours at 2 hours a day of classroom time, materials including projector, white screen, cardboard, cutters and paints. Costs estimated at 4,000 US
2. Apiary Preparation and construction of 25 Community Hives- Community land will be assessed and bee free apiary will be placed in close proximity to plants and trees providing the richest annual forage possible. The area should provide adequate shade by nearby trees and shrubs, and apiary placement will be located at safe distance from regular village livelihoods.
After initial placement of the BeeFree apiary our objectives for phase two
I. Construction of closed roof work space for honey harvest and storage equipment built by available local resources and placed in close proximity to apiary.
II. Working in collaboration with local artisans, our beehives, tools, and protective clothing are designed and built to fit the community’s needs. After fabrication, beehive pieces are brought to the community for assembly and then painted by community youth.
III. Depending on local population of bees, colonies will either be transferred from preexisting traditional beehives, or bought from local beekeepers association.
Resources needed to implement phase 2 include the material and labor of a closed roof work space, 25 bee hives and bee colonies, 12 sets of protective clothing and boots, 12 metal hive tools, 6 smokers, product harvesting materials, packaging containers, and 2 days of car rental including petrol costs for equipment transportation. Costs estimated at $4,000 US
3. Beekeeper Training and Beneficial Bee Product Use Education. In collaboration with local beekeeping association, basic beekeeping principles are taught to participating community members and are provided with the tools and know-how to become healthy and happy beekeepers. Our goal in the Kembata-Tembora region of Ethiopia is to vitalize women with skills in Beekeeping as a way of addressing general health issues and rural poverty. Health benefits of beehive products will be specifically addressed in affiliation with local health care practitioners in respect to traditional care practices.
Once community Apiary is set up and group of village members are educated, its time for nature to do its work.
Resources needed for phase three include time, transportation and lodging of local beekeeper for the duration of the week long unit, Bee Free teacher stipend for time and preparation of course curriculum, class materials of notebooks, writing utensils and beekeeper log books. Estimated cost for phase 3 $2,500 US
Estimated Total Cost for the 3 Phase Implementation Plan= $10,500
In order to make this project possible in the Kembata-Temboro region of Ethiopia we need your help in fulfilling the necessary resources. Whether it be moral or monetary, all assistance is appreciated!