Supporting Beekeepers in South Sudan

Supporting Beekeepers in South Sudan

June 2, 2024

A request for beekeeping support from South Sudan

South Sudan became the World’s newest country in 2011 following 20 years of civil wars. It remains unstable and the UK government advises against all travel. Support for communities in-country is therefore challenging and limited.

We received a request through our website for support from the Namatina Payam Community Beekeeping (NPCB), in South Sudan. They are s 600km West of Juba, the capital in a very remote region near the border with Central African Republic.

A long-established beekeeping community seeking to self-improve

 The community has practiced beekeeping for many generations, this is what they told us when they requested support:

“Beekeeping is a traditional income generating activities handed over to us by our ancestors and we educate our children through it. It’s a source of income handed down to us by our ancestors and we need to improve on it for better production.”

We were contacted by a member from the community who is now a lawyer in the capital, he told us that it was income from honey sales that helped pay for his education. They use log hives and make-shift tools with grass bundles for smokers (see photo).

Logistical challenges and making it happen

We first explored whether we could help them find support from an organization with a presence in South Sudan but found that there were none.  We could not ask our local partner in Uganda, the closest Bees Abroad country, to travel because of the security risk. The only option was to bring them to us. We arranged for three individuals, , who speak English  to make the 4 day journey to  Kasese in Uganda to receive training from Daniel and his team at LIDEFO, our local partner.

They arrived on World Bee Day, 20th May. On the agenda was training, securing equipment in Uganda (they have never had bee suits) and planning for the future. For eight days they had classroom training, practical training and apiary visits.  Beforehand they had not even known that honeybee colonies had workers, drones and a queen. 

What’s next for Namatina Payam Community Beekeeping (NPCB)?

NPCB are now part of our very active partner WhatsApp group where there is a constant exchange of experiences and knowledge.  Although we do not plan on establishing a presence in South Sudan we are considering how our local partner and trainer in Uganda can provide support remotely. We have been working with Daniel, the local trainer and founder of LIDEFO, for 10 years in Uganda. Daniel and LIDEFO have become a wealth of experience and have the capabilities to act as a hub to provide outreach and training in new areas.

Stay tuned for updates.