Blog from Cameroon

Read Jo Hiscox’s blog to get a fascinating insight into how our project leaders support beekeepers, and see the impact beekeeping can make to low-income families.  Jo, Brian Durk and Gill Johnson spent 2 months working on various projects in rural Cameroon.   Follow this link to Jo’s Blog.



All the latest and greatest news from Bees Abroad is captured in our newsletters. Please download and share with your friends.

2012 newsletter: click here

2011 newsletter: click here

2010 newsletter: click here

2009 newsletter: click here

2008 newsletter: click here

You can also check out our annual reports for 2012, 2011 and 2010.

Meet our Administrator

Hi – my name is Veronica Brown. I joined Bees Abroad in July 2008, and enjoy being part of a great team of folks who are passionate about helping people in small communities of developing countries world wide. I am the first line of contact, the person who receives the emails, administers the enquiries, reads the correspondence, answers the phone and liaises with the trustees and project managers to make sure your request is actioned or your questions answered as soon as possible. I also keep the web site up to date with the latest and greatest information.

Please bear in mind that Bees Abroad is a small charity who keep their administrative costs low. I try to keep my hours to around eight per week – which means that more money goes to the rural communities. However, I access e-mail every day, and am always available to receive phone messages. So, if you don’t get a reply straight away, please be assured you haven’t been forgotten, we will get there – it just may take a little longer.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Meet our Project Leaders

We have an expanding team of experienced beekeepers who work with small communities who require our help.  These include:

Stuart Andrews: – Uganda

David Blower: – Tanzania

David Bonner: Uganda

Neil Brent: – Sierra Leone

Brian Durk: – instrumental in starting the Kom Beekeeping Project in Cameroon in 1997 prior to the setting up of ‘Bees Abroad’.  In his time with us he has been Project Manager and Fundraiser.  Presently he manages projects in Adrucom, Ghana

Roy Dyche – Roy is a retired teacher, teacher-trainer and author. He took up beekeeping in the early 1990s and since joining Bees Abroad in 2009 has managed projects in Uganda and Zambia, a country he knows well, having taught there in the 1960s. In 2009 he travelled over 2000 miles around Zambia collecting material on its honey industry for a BBC radio programme. He is a long-standing member of the Dover and District Beekeepers’ Association.

Jo Hiscox: – Cameroon

John Home: – Kenya

Beekeeping in the Laikipia area of Kenya

Whilst at Agricultural College I was introduced to beekeeping and this became my hobby. I soon had 10 hives and a growing interest. As my experience grew I was offered a job with the largest Bee Farm in the UK and this made me realise I could achieve this for myself and led to over 30 years making my living from a successful business known as Fosse Way Honey in Warwickshire managing 350/400 hives and marketing the products around the Midlands. I became a member of the Bee Farmers Association and had the honour of twice serving as their chairman.

My retirement came when the business was sold in 2005. It was then that I was introduced to Bees Abroad by one of their project leaders who felt my skills in beekeeping and marketing were ideal to join as a volunteer and learn about helping introduce beekeeping in developing countries.

After visiting a project in Malawi with the late Pam Gregory I was hooked and with the support of my wife became project leader in Kenya. Retirement since 2005 has been so fulfilling sharing and enthusing rural farmers with beekeeping skills to create income for themselves and their families and improving their lives.

When John and I met my career was in nursing and his passion then was beekeeping as a hobby, so we complemented each other have always and been able to work together sharing our interest in the value of honey and hive products. Honey could be used in wound care and nutrition, so I was aware of its value both in the home and in nursing care.

I retired before John and we worked together going to farmers markets enjoyed talking about the hive products by then we had extended the range by adding value to honey and beeswax. These skills have been put to good use in the UK with being very confident helping with the Bees Abroad shop and talking to visitors to the various Agricultural and honey shows which the charity attends

It was beneficial to accompany John on visits to Kenya and soon realised I could help the women improve their income by adding value to the honey and beeswax and began to share recipes with them. It has been a great privilege to see them grow small businesses and create income for themselves to support their families.

Martin Kunz:

Martin’s love affair with India is much older than his involvement with bees: He worked for 1.5 years with Non Governmental Organizations in Kolkata in the 1970s instead of doing military service in Germany. Only in 2013 did he start keeping bees in London – and then started to look for bees during business trips to India and came across Under the Mango Tree – the partner of Bees Abroad – which works in particular with Apis cerana – the ‘Indian bee’. Regular business trips (Martin sets up and manages supply chain for organic and Fair Trade products) ensure a regular contact.
Martin is also a member of the Management Committee of International Bee Research Association (IBRA), and a joint owner of Beebop Honeys Ltd. – a small company aiming to bring honey from non traditional bees the Europe.

Trisha Marlow:
Mother of five and Master Beekeeper, works as Project Manager for Ghana co-ordinating the Brong Ahafo Cashew Farmers’ projects, the Bandaman Senior High School project, the Bia Biosphere project and the Nkabom Women’s project in the Brong Ahafo and Western regions with three partner organisations and an expanding team of Bees Abroad trainers. A successful regional training in late 2017 provided 18 beekeeping associations with local mentors to improve their knowledge and practical experience, and the on-going development of Ghanaian extension workers and trainers continues whenever a gap in the schedule permits.

Adebisi New: –  Nigeria

Richard Ridler: – Uganda

Dawn Williamson: – Rwanda

Julian Willford: – Mwanze in Tanzania.

How to become involved

 Have you Skills that would be helpful to Bees Abroad?

At Bees Abroad we are all beekeepers. We link the love of beekeeping with a desire to help reduce extreme proverty.  We provide groups in developing countries with the practical skills, knowledge and equipment to keep bees. Tey use the extra income to make a better life, to buy medicines and pay for education.Collecting Frame

We are all volunteers. Here at home we do everythin from fundraising and accounting to replying to requests for help and sharing best practice with each other.
In the developing world we teach all aspects of beekeeping from making hives and suits to luring passing swarms, basic business disciplines and processing honey for sale.

There is far more thanenough to do so we are always on the lookout for beekeepers who might share our interests. Here are just some of the ways other beekeepers can help us:

Adopt a project – individually or as a group:

  • Learn all about the project from its project manager
  • Support the project by fundraisingLining Log Hive with mud
  • Visit the project as part of your holiday
  • Help the project manager whilst in the UK

Give your time/use your skills
We often have opportunities. Do you have skills in:

  • Website design
  • Accounting
  • Project controlComplete Log Hive
  • Governance
  • Fundraising
  • Graphc Design
  • Charity Management
  • IT
  • Writing reports/articles

Become a Supporter

  • Make a regular donation by standing order
  • Receive our quarterly newsletter


Volunteering with Bees Abroad

A big thank you to all our volunteers.  We couldn’t run our projects without you. Our volunteers play a key role in many aspects of running the Charity.  There are many roles performed by a few people, so we are always pleased to hear of people who have skills they can bring to our Charity.

We have volunteer positions available in the following areas:

Newsletter management, Show coordination, Fundraising and Administration, as well as positions for Project Leaders in Developing Countries.

For more information on these roles, please go to this page.

If you have experience working in Beekeeping in a developing country, we would particularly like to hear from you.

The administration roles mentioned above, would suit a newly qualified graduate who has studied in administration, marketing or fundraising.  Alternatively, an experienced administrator who requires the flexibility of working from home.

We are a Charity which does not have a central office. Therefore volunteers should have access to their own computer equipment. Bees Abroad UK  Limited cannot accept any liability for any damage caused to volunteer’s equipment which they are using to help the Charity.  It is the responsibility of the volunteer to ensure that the relevant security precautions are taken into account.

Our quarterly meetings are frequently held using Skype.

If you think you could help in any way, please complete the volunteer-app-form or  email us

We would like to say a big “Thank You” to all our volunteers who regularly give the most valuable asset, their time, to help at shows. These include: Jeff Bee, Mary Home, Angie Gallagher, Stuart Andrews, Jeannie Hainsworth-Lamb, Sally Fletcher-Pemberton and Jane Frank.

Bees in the Warm Heart of Africa

Nkhata Bay Honey Producers Co-operative

Malawi is a country of exhilarating beauty. The people are welcoming and full of smiles. It is known as the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’. Formerly Nyasaland, Malawi is situated at the southern end of Africa’s Great Rift Valley.

The life of the country revolves around the vast, sparkling, expanse of Lake Malawi. At night the moon shimmers across the lake and it is full of lights as fishermen, in their precarious dugout canoes, struggle to make a living. In African terms the country is small, about the same size as England but with scant resources and a burgeoning population despite the prevalence of AIDS.

Malawi ranks among the world’s least developed countries. The UN Human Development Index grades Malawi as the 6th poorest country in the world. The economy is predominately agricultural. About 90% of the population live in rural areas and most of these people depend on subsistence agriculture. There are few other exploitable resources and the economy depends on substantial inflows of economic assistance. 54% of the 12 million people in Malawi live below the poverty line and there is a severe AIDS pandemic leading to very low life expectancy.  It is a densely populated country with a high rate of forest loss and a fragile environment seriously at risk of degradation as a result of population pressure and poor farming methods. Educational attainment is low, economic prospects are poor and women suffer continued discrimination.

In these difficult circumstances Bees Abroad are proud to be working with a vibrant, local initiative in the Nkhata Bay area of Northern Malawi representing the combined efforts of over 90 beekeeping groups – more than 1000 people – who are taking control of the means to improve their lives. NHPC Beekeeping Project is designed to help villagers to develop their bee farming so that people are able to improve both their income and their domestic food security.

Beekeeping is well suited to these areas and many people in Malawi are already excellent beekeepers. Bees are beneficial to the environment and can improve people’s lives in many ways. Beekeeping and related activities can also offer women a viable means to generate significant cash income. Honey is a high calorie, digestible foodstuff for sale or domestic use.

Secondary hive products such as beeswax and propolis provide additional income generation and the opportunity to develop effective, locally made medicinal products and are particularly suitable for women as it takes advantage of their traditional skills. Bee farming improves general food security within an area by encouraging the care of pollinating insects to improve the seed set and quality of crops. Tree planting for bee forage and the protection afforded to trees by keeping bees in them helps to preserve fragile soils from erosion, protects vulnerable forest ecosystems and encourages uptake of modern, multipurpose agroforestry. The natural miombo woodland in Northern Malawi produces a delicious, light coloured honey.

At the start of the project, the distance from the urban markets and lack of transport made it hard for the beekeepers to sell their honey for a good price – crazy in a place where people, are often hungry.  People were trading from a position of weakness in a buyers market. Sometimes unscrupulous traders cheated the beekeepers taking the honey never to return, so beekeepers lost both their crop and their precious honey storage containers. The local organisers were enthusiastic but had no idea what they could do to help.

What we set out to do was to create a co-operative marketing organisation that provided a convenient and honest outlet for beekeepers to sell their honey and provided beekeeping training. At the start of the project Bees Abroad (a UK beekeeping charity) provided seed corn capital to allow honey to be purchased from the villagers for immediate cash, to pay for honey storage and retail containers, as well as transport to collect and sell honey plus wages and overheads.

They later sponsored the development of a resource and packing centre, which has been built with love and care. It has a garden with fruit trees and crops where the project can keep its demonstration hives and a tree nursery, and SBDARA/NHPC have developed into a very hardworking commercial enterprise.

In 2007 the project was divided into two parts; the marketing organisation with the new name Nkhata-bay Honey Producers Co-operative (NHPC) – so that it could be legally registered as a co-operative – and the original Small Beekeepers Development and Research Association (SBDARA) which organises training.

A vehicle-hiring scheme set up in 2009 and funded personally by Pam Gregory of Bees Abroad, allows honey to be delivered more easily. Up to that point the honey was being delivered on the overcrowded and dangerous mini-buses. Can you imagine how difficult it is to travel on a bus with ½ tonne of honey?

The project has made some fantastic achievements. It has developed a centre of beekeeping excellence and village based field extension services. Experienced local people who can train and advise others in sustainable and profitable bee farming techniques staff the resource centre. A village-based programme of beekeeping training with 7 locally based beekeeping trainers and 2 community organisers has been established. The trainers have been trained in new beekeeping techniques and also in maximising the value of traditional methods. The trainers have been issued with bicycles and some have mobile phones so they can organise their work more efficiently.

They have also had their skills assessed using the British Beekeepers Association’s (BBKA’s) special scheme for helping African beekeepers to gain a formal beekeeping qualification. Three full time workers (Lenson, George and Lizzie) two night watchmen and two gardeners are also employed and the project serves as an outlet for up to 1000 bee farmers to sell their honey with about 250 regular and large-scale producers.

A small shop has been set up to sell locally made beekeeping equipment at affordable cost. Eventually it is hoped that it will be able to sell enough equipment to cover the wages of one of the workers at the project, which will enhance the sustainability of the shop. The project encourages the use of beneficial agroforestry trees and tree planting and promotes honey, wax and propolis products for medicinal use. The design of the project will enable it to eventually become self-financing in the long term. This project is growing in size and reputation and it is starting to form the basis of valuable social infrastructure facilitating further development initiatives in the region. A generous sponsor funded Lenson Simumba to attend college to gain some business management training and he hopes to complete his diploma next year. They also have regular American Peace Corps volunteers to helping with business development.

NHPC have developed the market for Forest Gold Honey from zero to 10 tonnes of honey annually in the space of 7 years. In this 2010/2011 season NHPC are expecting to raise the amount of honey sold to 20 tonnes with the aid of a soft loan from the Waterloo Foundation and they will be training another 50 beekeeping groups in 2011.

Getting to this point has been anything but smooth but it has been exciting – and frequently an appalling emotional roller coaster. Everyone was devastated when the project manager’s wife, Blessings Simumba, died in June. She was not yet 30 and died from complications after giving birth to twins last November leaving Lenson with a broken heart and 3 small children to care for. It would not have happened in Britain and makes us realise why we do this work.