We live in Mwanza, Tanzania, serving with Emmanuel International helping local churches in physical and spiritual ministry.

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Why Do Beekeeping?

For those of you who have followed this blog for some time, you know a lot about our journey into beekeeping! And it's been such a crazy journey! But we realise some of you here are new and may well be wondering, what the beekeeping is all about! 

We have been working with subsistence farmers in rural villages in Tanzania where a year of food for the family is dependent on their crop harvest. This can be hugely challenging in seasons of droughts or floods. Women carry a huge load of the work in tending the fields, cooking, collecting water and firewood, caring for children. Life is hard work. Secondary education is a privilege... There is so much more I could say! So why on earth do beekeeping with communities in Tanzania? Why raise money to support a beekeeping project? 


So Why Do Beekeeping?

Beekeeping is a sustainable, accessible, income-generating project for rural communities. Bees arrive in the hives for free (with a little encouragement!) and hives are locally made. Honey sales improve livelihoods, allieviating poverty ...and learning about beeswax as a valuable marketable commodity can often surprise people!

Top-Bar beekeeping (as opposed to traditional log hives high in trees) is inclusive, a project now possible for women! 

Keeping hives in fields greatly increases crop yields for these farmers, hives in trees increase fruit yields, improving livelihoods through diet and increased family income.

Beekeeping provides a perfect incentive to protect and care for forested areas for hives. A beekeeping group is motivated to integrate tree planting into their activities and start tree nurseries in their villages.

Training beekeepers in community village groups provides a wonderful opportunity to engage with people, establish support networks with discipleship and prayer, offer further training in entrepreneurship, savings and loans, and working together on other income-generating projects.  

And Why The Hive?

Through Emmanuel International and the local churches we work with, we have trained beekeepers in community groups in four rural villages so far. The Hive is a central place in the city of Mwanza where these beekeepers can bring their honey to process in a clean and enclosed (bee-proof!) environment. It gives the beekeepers a good market for their honey. And as these beekeepers are well trained in harvesting quality honey, the honey at the Hive is highly sought after, trusted not to be boiled with sugar or diluted with water! 

All of these groups are able to send a beekeeper to Mwanza with buckets of honey that the group has harvested. At the Hive, we have trained Aikande and Monika (in the Upendo wa Mama Group) to test the quality of the honey. If the honey meets Hive standards, the Hive will buy the honey and sell in the shop. (If the quality is not good enough, the beekeepers can always process it and then sell it in their own village). The women work with the beekeepers to process the honey and then the honey is all put in labelled jars to sell!  




We are excited about seeing The Hive help increasingly more rural beekeepers in providing access to good processing, a promising market and also hopefully soon, access to more resources and equipment! We will be sharing more in another blog about an exciting new project coming up in partnership with Bees Abroad for women beekeepers on Kome Island! 

If you would like to donate to Help The Hive, please head over to our Virgin Money Giving Page here

Thank you so very much! We so appreciate your support and the difference it all makes! 

 


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