This week, as part of our “Meet the Beekeeper” series we would like you to meet Anastazia Charles, from the Jikomboe Women’s Beekeeping group in Tanzania. Anastazia lives in the small village of Nyamkolechiwa on Kome Island, on Lake Victoria.
“The women didn’t have any knowledge of beekeeping and were afraid of the bees, but now, they are very bold and are ready to work very hard to ensure the project is successful.”
(Justina Nswilla, local EI trainer for Jikomboe Group)
Anastazia is 57 years old and has seven children and four grandchildren. She works hard, growing food for her family to eat. Before joining the beekeeping group, she relied on selling “pombe” (homemade beer), but was unhappy, knowing it was not a good thing to do. She is now delighted to be part of Jikomboe (“Self Liberation”) group and looking forward to raising better capital through selling honey, and then being able to start other small businesses. Her hope is that this will enable her children and her grandchildren to go to school.
Anastazia recently attended her first beekeeping training with the group of twenty other women from her small community on this island in Lake Victoria. There is very limited infrastructure on the island and most of its people (the ‘Wazinza’) are subsistence farmers. Faced with a continual decrease in their crop yields and degradation of their natural ecosystem along with other poverty-related issues affecting health and education, there is a need for change.
Anastazia and the other women are excited about being empowered to enact this change! They are working together to learn beekeeping with trainers from Bees Abroad local partner, Emmanuel International (EI), and have hung their first 40 hives. The women are taught to incorporate beekeeping with conservation agriculture techniques, which combined with bee pollination will increase their crop yield and food security. They are also receiving training and support to establish and tree nurseries to improve their environment and raise extra income through sales.
Anastazia and the other women in the group are truly becoming beekeepers for life!