Thank you for Being Part of the Story!

Thank you for Being Part of the Story!

December 8, 2022

We Did It!

We are thrilled to announce that we more than exceeded our target for the Big Give Christmas Challenge! Thanks to your wonderful support, our match funder and generous pledgers and the extra with GiftAid, we raised  over £46,000!

We are absolutely delighted and so grateful to everyone who has supported this campaign! And we know that you will all be as excited as we are to see this money go towards supporting more beekeepers and the training of more beeswax artisans. Please continue to be part of the story and follow along to see new social enterprises in honey and beeswax develop and new beekeeping groups start in 2023. 


Thank you to everyone who contributed to make this possible!

Books and Bees Evening

It was a real treat to have authors, Laurie King and Siya Turabi with us for the Books and Bees Evening last Friday. With Jane Ridler hosting, everyone thoroughly enjoyed the evening, hearing the stories from our authors and appreciating the connection we had with bees and fiction books! The books, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice and The Last Beekeeper are easily available for purchase online through the links below. And if you missed the event, you can catch up on You Tube through the link below.


Congratulations to our Prize Draw Winners! Jitesh and Neil won our super hotel prizes!
And well done to Jonathan, Linda, Paul, Jess, John, Simon and Kate who won some great prizes from our generous prize donors!

Thank you to everyone who bought tickets; all the proceeds went towards to the campaign, further raising our total!

Top Bar Tuesday: Ghana

TopBar Tuesday: Ghana

November 22, 2022

Hekenofom (“Hope”) Beekeepers

Our Top-Bar Story this week features the Hekenofom (Hope) Beekeepers in Ghana.

Only the drivers of the least roadworthy taxis from Asesewa town will attempt the half hour journey down the “rough road” to the Hekenofom project, and we are grateful for that. In the rainy season the rutted and pot-holed track is sometimes impassable even for the weekly market trucks, making the trip both a feat of endurance and a risk to health on foot in pursuit of essential cash income. In this part of Upper Manya Krobo district in Eastern region, Ghana the villagers are highly resilient and resourceful out of necessity.

Asesewa market is well-known in Ghana as the subject of a former Basic school textbook. Vibrant, bustling, with the simplest of infrastructure, and crucial to the economy of the area with traders from several towns in the region. Yet there is no honey on sale, no added value products made from high quality Ghanaian ingredients – coconut oil, shea and cocoa butters, baobab oil, honey and beeswax. It is our aim to enable that change.

The community is blessed with significant areas of secondary forest, including acacias, which bees forage on avidly. As stewards of the landscape, the Hekenofom beekeeping group and their traditional Chiefs aim to balance nature with better productivity of local food crops due to increased pollination of cassava, maize, beans, pepper, okra, orange, mango, banana and plantain by honey bees. Alongside improved nutrition, uninterrupted education, affordable healthcare and other benefits can become realities with “honey money”.

With 25 new beekeepers now trained and top bar hives hung and colonised, and women waiting for training on making value-added beeswax products, so begins a story of hope for these Hekenofom beekeepers!

And so, we invite you to “bee part of their story! Join in for the Big Give Christmas Challenge from 29 November to 6 December by giving online, and see your donation doubled!

Value-added Beeswax Product of the Week: Kitenge Beeswraps

Beeswax wraps are a fantastic re-useable, eco-friendly alternative to plastic wrap! These Kitenge Beeswraps are made by the women in the Upendo wa Mama Group (“Mother’s Love”) in Tanzania. and use local kitenge cotton cloth coated with a mixture of beeswax, resin and coconut oil. Naturally anti-bacterial and waterproof, they keep food fresher for longer. They sell extremely well locally and abroad and have been used by the crew of the FlipFlopi, the world’s first world’s first recycled plastic sailing dhow which voyages on a mission to end single-use plastic across East Africa. Mama Rose explains in Swahili how to make them here!

“We cut the fabric like this (in squares). We have a tray like this. We lay it down nicely. We brush with melted pine resin, beeswax and coconut oil. We use scales to measure these accurately.”

The BeesWraps are then placed in the oven for a minute and then hung on a line to dry.

Follow along and join in with your own beeswax stories in the comments on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Top Bar Tuesday: Tanzania

Top Bar Tuesday:

November 15, 2022

A group of women standing together smiling and facing the camera
Play Video about Lucia Alex, a female beekeeper from Tanzania, is smiling and shyly looking away from the camera

Lucia's Story

Lucia is part of the Jikomboe Women’s Beekeeping Group,  a project in partnernship with Emmanuel International on Kome Island in Tanzania. She  is thankful for the opportunity that being part of the beekeeping group provides to improve the quality of her family life. After the birth of her second baby, her husband left her and went to another island. Her life became very difficult as she struggled to survive with two young children. This is a common story in the villages on the island. But Lucia’s is a lovely story of reconciliation and peace as her husband returned and asked her forgiveness and now they live happily together. She has learned how to be a beekeeper and is enjoying being part of the group and excited to see the project grow as they add more top-bar hives and harvest more honey!

Value-added Beeswax Product of the Week


Batik-making with beeswax is such a fun creative activity and one very much enjoyed by the women in the Upendo wa Mama Women’s group in Tanzania. Watch Jeni make some here! Carefully carved foam stamps are chosen and dipped in hot, melted wax before stamping in blocks on plain cotton material. The fabric is then dyed and the wax resist creates a beautiful and very unique design. Seamstresses in the group are then able to sew this lovely material into cushion covers, cloth napkins, aprons and more to sell in their shop, The Hive. Yet another way of adding value to beeswax and improving livelihoods! 

Follow along and join in with your own beeswax stories in the comments on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Play Video about Two women making Batiks using beeswax
Four different designs of Batiks laid out side by side. Green , white, blue and green colours
Two women making Batiks using beeswax

29 November – 6 December 2022

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Save your Donations

Top Bar Tuesday: Sierra Leone

Top Bar Tuesday:
Sierra Leone

November 08, 2022

Fatimata, a mother in Sierra Leone and beekeeper trained by Bees Abroad is smiling at the camera with one of her children next to her
Play Video about Fatuma, a female beekeeper in Sierra Leone, is standing outside smiling towards the camera

Fatimata's Story

Fatuma is from Taniniahun, a village of the Barri Chiefdom, on the fringes of the Gola Rainforest in Sierra Leone. She was one of the first beekeeping trainees in November of 2017. Due to tragic circumstances, she was unable to continue beekeeping, but recently reconnected with Bees Abroad in May of this year and now other beekeepers are gathering around her to help her get started again with new hives.

This forest area fringing the Gola is a challenging environment and the District of Pujehun, which contains Barri Chiefdom is, according to the Human Development Index, the most deprived district in the country. Through the beekeeping project, we are eager to see single mothers like Fatuma increase household resilience to economic difficulties. Listen to her story here.

Value-Added Beeswax Product of the Week

Beeswax Balms

Throughout this month we are showing you some of the amazing value-added beeswax products being made by our groups around the world. One of the first beeswax products groups learn how to make is a beeswax balm. This versatile product can be made simply with beeswax and oil and can then be adapted and embellished to make an amazing variety of value-added products to sell. A Neem Balm is very medicinal. A Bug Balm (with citronella) keeps the bugs at bay and soothes bites. The Kili Climb Balm is great for rock climbers; the Beard Balm speaks for itself! Our women’s groups in Sierra Leone, Uganda and Tanzania are supporting themselves and their children through the creative production of different beeswax balms.

In Sierra Leone, the Barri Beekeepers are now moving into the manufacture of wax-based products such as body and lip balms. Village women like Fatimata are closely involved in this stage and the intention is to offer franchises to women’s groups in each village to manufacture and sell creams and balms locally and at nearby village markets. Fatimata is very interested in playing a key role in such an endeavour! 

Follow the Story

‘Bee part of the story’ this Christmas to help support women like Fatimata to become skilled beeswax artisans developing sustainable businesses selling their products and generating income to support their families.

Follow Bees Abroad on social media to see more beeswax products being made by out project participants!

A xlear, plastic container with beeswax cream inside
Multiple clear, plastic containers with beeswax products inside. Products include mosquito repellent, lip balm, body cream and shoe polish

Top-Bar Tuesday: Uganda

Top-Bar Tuesday: Uganda

November 1st 2022

Beekeeping brings medicine to remote village in Rwenzori mountains

The Kihungu Thusube Engeru (KITE) Women Beekeepers group is first of its kind in the village of Kihungu, Uganda. Described as a group of “brave women” by their community, they aspire to do more for their village. Through training with Bees Abroad and their local partner, LIDEFO, they have gained experience in producing Value Addition products, such as healing creams for rashes and propolis tincture for stomach ulcers and coughs, using ingredients from their own beehives.

For a remote village, such as Kihungu, bringing medicine to the community has changed their lives. Not only are these products more affordable, they are natural and safe to use. Even more valuable is the time and energy saved by those who would have to travel 30km to the nearest town, Kasese, in order to buy medicine. The women of the group intend to use the additional income to invest in their beekeeping activities and to strengthen their savings.

Value-added Beeswax Product of the Week

The KITE women make this propolis tincture with the propolis harvested from their hives mixed with ethanol. Jostina Biira is the chair of the KITE group and explains what they do. “We keep it in a dark place for fourteen days where each day we shake the bottle once.” The women then sell the propolis in both the rural and urban local communities and are profiting from the sales as people with ulcers and coughs are benefiting from the available natural medicine.

Follow Bees Abroad on social media to see more beeswax products being made by our project participants on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Introducing Top-Bar Tuesdays

Top-Bar Tuesdays!

Every Tuesday from November 1st until our Big Give Christmas Challenge starting on 29th November. We are going to share a story, here on our blog, from one of our project countries.

We want you to ‘Bee Part of the Story’ and meet some of the incredible beekeepers and beeswax artisans that Bees Abroad are supporting.

Do follow along and share our story!

Curious to know what a Top-Bar is?

Top-bar hives (TBH) were introduced specifically to suit conditions in Africa. They are low cost, easy to make and require little maintenance. They are accessible to women who can’t climb high into trees to harvest honey, and also to people with disabilities. 

Designs vary depending on local materials; wood, split bamboo, raffia, palm leaves and mud can all be used. Beekeepers and local carpenters are taught to make the hives. Shape can vary; a Kenyan TBH for example, has sloped sides but a Tanzanian TBH is often a straight-sided box. The most important and key consistent element however is the width of the top bar which can be easily measured using a common soda bottle lid! It must be 32mm, the perfect bee-spacing for the Apis mellifera scutellate, the most common bee in Africa. Our English bees are slightly larger and therefore need a slightly larger bee space.

How many things can you list made of Beeswax?

As we count down to the “Bee Part of the Story” Big Give Christmas Challenge, we will be sharing on social media many of the amazing things that our beeswax artisans around the world are making with beeswax.

Follow along and join in with your own beeswax stories in the comments on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Value Added Beeswax Products

Did you know that the value of beeswax is often unknown and its’ use widely untapped in many of the areas we work across Africa? We are excited to see beekeepers discover the value and huge potential of this resource as they learn to process and clean the wax for sale or to make value-added products.

Before you see all the finished products, take a minute now to think about all the work that has gone into processing and cleaning the beeswax! Once the honey has been pressed out, the comb is put in a large pot of boiling water. The wax melts and then the pot is filtered into a bucket. The water and cleaned melted wax is strained into the bucket and as the water cools, the wax hardens into a disc floating on the top of the water. This wax can then be sold and cleaned and filtered further before being used for an amazing variety of value-added products!