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The specialist international beekeeping organisation
In Amhara, Ethiopia, many thousands of rural families rely on farming and livestock for their livelihoods. The problem is that with population growth, land sizes per household are getting smaller. The youth are unable to acquire land to establish farms of their own and face a future of deepening poverty. The situation is exacerbated by deforestation and soil erosion - factors which undermine the natural resources base upon which the rural population depend.
Young people need an income generating activity that does not require a lot of land and is environmentally sustainable. This is where beekeeping is so uniquely important - and your support can make a real difference.
This is Wubnesh Kindu (above left). A young woman with big ambitions but limited opportunities. This is her story.
"Before the Project I had nothing to do. I had dropped out from my grade 8 class because my family could not afford the cost of secondary school. I felt like I was wasting my life living at my family’s home with no future. I have been assisting my Mum, taking care of my younger siblings and working as a casual farm labourer - just like many other women in our village. I had no idea what work to do for a living. I had no money and no one to help me even though I was ready to work hard and apply myself to changing my life. I needed a chance."
She was given the opportunity to join a beekeeping training programme delivered by Bees for Development Ethiopia. At first some people were sceptical because beekeeping is usually done by men, not women. Kindu was not deterred. The first training course was about how to make simple, low-cost hives and it was a requirement of the Project that she must make her own hives at home before she would be given her first bee colony. She did not hesitate and with huge dedication she made her own hives and has carefully tended the first bee colony she was given.
This project is being extended through funding from UK Aid Direct through a Small Charities Challenge Fund grant. We are working with a cohort of 48 enterprising young people who have already demonstrated commitment to, and a measure of success in beekeeping. They are being helped to advance their skills and build vibrant sustainable enterprises, based on bees, beekeeping, beekeeping service provision and trade in bee products.
The Lead Beekeepers have willingly taken on the added responsibility of helping others to acquire bees, skills and marketing know-how, and in doing so are passing on their knowledge and skills to other vulnerable people.
After her first year, Kindu sold enough honey to buy three months worth of grain for her family. This year she has more bee hives, and has sold enough honey to pay the fees for her younger sister to attend secondary school – an education that Kindu had only dreamed of. Becoming a skilled beekeeper and business woman has given her confidence and she is now training other women in her community. ‘With bees’, she says, ‘you need not worry about the future!’