This began in 2012, to help vulnerable women in Uganda’s Hoima District to provide an income stream for their households through beekeeping.
Many of the women are widows or single mothers; most are subsistence farmers. Local partners, Bigasa Sustainable Development Foundation (BISUDEF), a small NGO, have implemented the project and set up a sales / marketing structure.
The final Bees Abroad phase was completed in May 2016 ending its formal involvement. During this time, 16 women’s groups (170 women) were trained in basic apiary and hive management by group leaders who had attended a train-the-trainers workshop. As each woman is from a different household (average 6-7 members), over 900 additional villagers, half of them children, have gained from the project to date.
This ambitious four-year project has certainly accomplished a great deal:
- A total of 16 women’s groups (170 impoverished women), representing households with a total of 1100 residents, have been trained in modern beekeeping, resulting in a substantial additional income
- Women have learnt how to make their own hives at little cost, allowing for beekeeping expansion without outside help
- Their organisation into groups managed by Bees Abroad trained leaders means that even after BISUDEF’s withdrawal they can rely on support from their peers
- BISUDEF’s buying and marketing operation has ensured that members can sell all the honey they wish at a fair price.
- A pool of modern beekeeping knowledge now exists, from which other villagers can draw
- Local government officials have been impressed by the initiative. The local (beekeeping) government entomologist considers it a model project
- The women have seen the project as an exercise in female empowerment and they are justifiably proud of their contribution to their household income.
Into the future
Bees Abroad needs to know that the benefits enjoyed by the women at the moment will be sustained in the future. In 2017, a Bees Abroad manager will review the activities of the recently registered Women’s Beekeeping Association to assess its future potential.