The work in this region started in 2006 in the Soroti Region, through the charity Global Care. The UK project manager, Dave Bonner, whilst working with this NGO, recognised that his beekeeping skills could provide a new income stream for households and give the young people another skill and another source of income.
Bees are plentiful in Uganda. The land is lush and green and there is lots of forage. In 2006, a hive built locally cost about £20 but the average worker was only being paid about £90 a year – making even a single hive unaffordable. By providing some set-up costs and training, each hive could provide households with an additional £50-£60 a year through selling honey and wax.
Bees Abroad Activities
In November 2015, the Olochoi Village Beekeeping Project, in Soroti region, was set up. In 2016, the first training sessions began, and beekeepers trained during the original Soroti project were introduced to the new group. Their role to provide this new group with local support, advice and encouragement.
Twelve Olochoi beekeepers were trained in how Top-Bar Hives could be built, and beesuits made from local materials. A Soroti-built hive was used to demonstrate the basic techniques of baiting a hive, basic beekeeping, smoking the colony, and honey harvesting.
The group was encouraged to use local materials to build their hives, and they were provided with the Basic Beekeeping Manual to help them. They were provided with basic honey harvesting kit of two food grade buckets and some nylon filter cloths to process their first batches of honey.
Into the future
With preliminary training behind them, it is anticipated that the first honey harvest will be small. The group will gain confidence in the coming year making bee-suits, baiting the hives, harvesting and filtering the honey. The next steps will be training in processing the wax obtained when harvesting the honey and then how to use this wax and honey to make value added products eg skin creams, moisturisers and lip balms.