A Beekeeping Course for the Murambo Beekeepers

A Beekeeping Course for the Murambo Beekeepers Catherine Ridler October 2018

The four-day residential course was run by Daniel Ngangasi and Simon Byongo from LIDEFO (Liberty Development Foundation) in Kasese some 220km from the homes of the Murambo beekeepers. It was part of an ongoing development project for them. Bees Abroad have built up a close relationship with Daniel and Simon and they provided an outline of what the course should contain. Daniel and Simon produced the course programme and taught a great course which included classroom and practical beekeeping sessions. It was the first such course run by LIDEFO.

Daniel teaching

Bees Abroad paid the course fees, accommodation, food and travel for the attendees. This was effective in removing barriers for people so they were able to attend the course and resulted in a really enthusiastic group.

An individual presentation

The group consisted of four pairs of attendees from small local beekeeping groups in the Murambo district plus two individuals representing other groups and the district coordinator, Ezra Sigirenda. The aim was for them to take the knowledge acquired on this course and disseminate it amongst the other beekeepers in their local area. They were a keen group – we started the morning session 10 minutes ahead of schedule every day! They were very focused on learning and all took copious notes and photographs.


The attendees arrived on the Monday evening on the local bus after a full day’s travel. Well cooked local food was provided by the hotel. Notepads and pens were provided to all of the attendees and their first task was to write an introduction to themselves and their beekeeping experience to be presented the next morning.

Investigating an empty top bar hive

The course started with breakfast on Tuesday and moved directly on to the individual presentations. About half of the attendees were from beekeeping families. Many were using traditional basket hives, with some using Kenyan Top Bar Hives. They wanted to learn how to increase their honey production by adding more hives, managing their bees better and dealing with diseases.

Filtering Honey

Daniel spent the sessions teaching about beekeeping, such as differences between the queen, workers and drones while integrating the business information such as the amount of space needed to create an apiary and how much honey and therefore money could result from a fairly small area.

The final session of the afternoon was a small group discussion of the questions ‘what has fuelled the development of beekeeping in your community?’ and ‘how will you make changes that will promote beekeeping as a business?’

Group discussion

The practical element of the course was taught by Simon. This included how to filter honey, how to melt the wax and an introduction to Kenyan Top Bar Hives.

There was a group apiary visit and a visit to LIDEFO’s honey storage and bottling room and some hands-on bottling practice.

Apiary visit

I hope that this course has encouraged the attendees to take both small steps such as clearing vegetation around their apiaries and larger steps such as starting to set up beekeeping co-operative groups in their areas with a view towards producing commercially saleable honey.

Group with certificates at the end of the course

Success at BBKA National Honey Show

Bees Abroad Projects Win 1st, 2nd and 3rd Prizes in New Charity Class at National Honey Show

Bees Abroad are world leaders in the practical relief of poverty through beekeeping. As soon as we knew the National Honey Show was to have a new class for charities working with beekeepers we realised we could showcase the gorgeous honey produced by the beekeepers we are working with overseas. Honey from twelve projects entered for judging at the UK National Honey Show in October 2018. The winning entry was from Liberia, where we partnered with the Universal Outreach Foundation which trains communities as beekeepers “so more Liberians can have the dignity that comes with being able to provide for their families’ needs.” The 2nd prize was awarded to our entry from Kenya. This UK government funded project given an A+ evaluation by the UK assessors benefits over 1200 households. The 3rd prize was won by the entry from our local project delivery partner in Western Uganda the Liberty Development Foundation. The lead judge explained that the criteria used were aroma, taste and viscosity; he was delighted that there were so many excellent entries. Richard Ridler, Bees Abroad Chairman, said ‘these wins are a huge endorsement for the very practical help our volunteers give to people in low-income communities around the world to learn hands-on beekeeping, high-quality honey production and business skills to generate income and improve their lives’. Bees Abroad are world leaders in the practical relief of poverty through beekeeping.

Creating a new livelihood in West Ghana

The Bia Biosphere Reserve in west Ghana covers some 7,770 hectares and is where the country’s major forest animals are found including the forest elephant and the endangered bongo. It’s been closed to people to preserve one of the few remaining areas of precious virgin forest. This has forced local the community who depended on the forest to find new ways to make a living. Those selected include growing palm oil and mushrooms, snail farming and beekeeping.

Learn more about the  Bia Biosphere project here

Kenyan partner wins First Prize

News from the National Show held in Nanyuki Town, Kenya. Congratulations go to Joseph Gitonga and the team on this very well-deserved prize. The show promoted innovation and technology in agriculture and trade. The Bees Abroad project related well across the themes of pollination, food security and income achieving a very successful result.

Bees Abroad Kenya wins 1st Prize at Show

Workshop: Beekeeping Projects in Africa 27-10-18

Booking is now open for the National Honey Show’s Workshop – Beekeeping Projects in Africa. This is for those considering, or already involved, in projects which use beekeeping to help people help themselves out of poverty. It will offer practical advice based on case studies on all aspects of African Beekeeping.
There are only 20 places, to book visit: Workshop: Beekeeping Projects in Africa

London to Paris Bike Ride

Enablon, a Wolters Kluwer business, is the world’s leading provider of Sustainability, EH&S and Operational Risk Management Software. A big thank you to seven Enablonians and their Road Crew who will ride 1-3 June 2018 before the start of the 2018 SPF EMEA conference. In 3 days they will cycle almost 330 km starting in London and ending at the Enablon office in Paris. Please sponsor this terrific team at Virgin Money Giving

Beekeeper Marketing

This is a new role. Its purpose is to increase the awareness of Bees Abroad amongst the 25,000 members of UK beekeeping associations. Generous beekeepers currently provide a large proportion of our income. However, awareness of Bees Abroad is very limited and by increasing our focus on beekeepers we know there is considerable potential for additional income.

The are many ways of achieving this e.g.

  • Regularly targeted mailings to beekeeping associations with appealing content.
  • Increased attendance at beekeeper’s conferences.
  • A programme of presentations at meetings of beekeeping associations.
  • Greater use of social media.
  • Personal networking…we are all beekeepers, we all have contacts but we need a methodical approach to exploiting them.

We need a volunteer beekeeper to join our fundraising and communications team to develop and implement a plan to which the whole Bees Abroad team can be harnessed to support.

Project Manager – what does it involve?

A Project Manager makes sure that we deliver agreed outputs and outcomes to the best of everyone’s ability. Our Process Guide details how we go about our project work. Increasing numbers of projects are delivered with local partners. The role includes:

  • Making sure that applicants are suitable beneficiaries. This usually happens in country face-to-face.
  • Project design, budgeting, planning and approval.
  • Securing of adequate funds.
  • Monitoring and managing project delivery. This involves in-country visits and sometimes delivering training and training and assessing local trainers.
  • Controlling project budgets.
  • Reporting on progress.
  • For our current projects please visit our projects page.

A successful Project Manager is:

  • A competent beekeeper beyond BBKA Basic Assessment level – and not just with gentle bees.
  • Familiar with general business skills. Our projects are about setting up small businesses, not just beekeeping.
  • An excellent communicator and networker, particularly good at listening, sensitive to other cultures, tactful and diplomatic.
  • Highly capable in planning and organising, including financial control.
  • Able to work in difficult conditions and not risk-averse.
  • Enthusiastic, flexible, able to work alone and take responsibility yet a keen team player too.
  • Available for sufficient time to maximise success.

Induction process – three routes:

Pre-Existing Project Experience
If you have already managed beekeeping projects in the developing world why not get in touch? We can offer the opportunity to share knowledge with our team and the benefits of being part of an organisation dedicated to the relief of poverty through beekeeping.

Apprenticeship with a Bees Abroad Project Manager

There are sometimes opportunities to travel to a project or projects with an experienced Bees Abroad project manager. You will need to fund your own costs (or fundraise to do so) and should budget in the region of £1500. There are some suggestions below about raising funds.

Apprenticeship without a Bees Abroad Project Manager

We can help with visits for individuals to existing mature projects in Kenya or Uganda to observe and learn about the challenges of beekeeping in Africa. Again you will need to self-fund or fund-raise for this initial visit and the cost is typically £1000 to £1500.

Fundraising routes for Initial Visits, some suggestions:

Self-Funding – Donations of personal funds to Bees Abroad which are then used for visits attract gift aid of 25% if the donor is a taxpayer.

Local Beekeepers – A recent recruit convinced her local Beekeeping Association to give the money made from their annual raffle to help fund her visit and to give any surplus to Bees Abroad. The raffle raised £1300 which Santander Bank agreed to match fund to a tune of £1000. A school at which one of her friends does some beekeeping work raised £163 in a bucket collection. Result £2463 raised in 5 months.

Relatives and Friends – ‘No birthday presents thanks – give to Bees Abroad this year’.

Buy & Sell on eBay – it works for one of our project managers for continued project funds.

Swarms & Nuclei – Ask for donations to Bees Abroad when you collect a swarm or give bees away.