As I gaze out my balcony window here in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, my view of the empty concrete tower foregrounded by the shimmering blue swimming pool reflecting the hazy November sky offers me the opportunity to think about the “Development Work” I too have engaged myself in.
Far too often and more and more common, development work, or the concept of providing forward progress relies on copying buildings, systems or markets which seam to be successful in their birthplace and copy and paste them every where else around the world. Materials are gathered, machinery is sourced, and people are given labor. Yet, this one size fits all scope doesn’t work; though shinny and pretty, no one’s swimming in the pool and I wander how many even know how to swim.
Though the tourism and urban planning sectors are distinct from that of beekeeping development, many lessons can be learned and mistakes associated with hopes for fast growth can be avoided.
8 months following the active formation of 70 Kembata Tembaro community members in our WEEMA Honey beekeeping development program last February, as of 1 AM this morning I am back in Ethiopia and am excited as ever to begin the next phase of our program.
In partnership with the local agriculture office our program and the WEEMA Honey team will begin this Friday and commence with apiary site visits at the homes of our phase one beneficiaries. Saturday and Sunday we will hold a pair of full day advanced beekeeper workshops for the most committed beneficiaries in each group and in the evening hold a practical honey harvest workshop with the entirety of both. Monday and Tuesday will be spent introducing the new honey press and assisting trainees in the healthy and hygienic harvest of honey goods. Throughout the 5 days visit a large focus will be spent surveying program participants in order to to better understand the short term impact, benefits and areas for improvement of our program.
As the swimming pool construction lot view reminds me, slow growth and consistency based in education which allow time for adaptation and incorporation will offer our program the sustainability it can later be based and expanded on.
So thank you everyone for your support and to WEEMA International for making this all happen!