Kome Island - Exciting First Steps For Our Newest Project

A Great Start for 26 Rural Women Attending Their First Beekeeping Training Seminar!

Classroom learning with Bhatendi and Justina

Bees Abroad's latest Beekeepers For Life project is on Kome, an island of Lake Victoria in Tanzania. When the community of Nyamkolechiwa asked our partner, Emmanuel International, for help to start a beekeeping project, this was an amazing opportunity for Bees Abroad to partner with them to fund a Beekeepers For Life project. It meant that we could deepen our relationship with our local delivery partner, Emmanuel International - who have great experience with beekeeping projects in the Mwanza region and also as you may have read on our blogs, in starting The Hive, a local honey centre. We could deploy our wonderful trainer, Bhatendi, to Kome with the objective of training our newest recruit, Justina, to lead the training project on the island over the coming years.

Kome Island is remote, but surprisingly accessible and our project plan evolved rapidly to aim over the next three years to train 60 rural women in all the skills required to become competent beekeepers. Over a period of three years, 60 women will be trained, 300 hives will be built and placed in crop fields and apiaries on the island. Over 1200 trees will be planted and 3 tree nurseries established – an important part of the programme from a forage perspective. By the end of the project it is possible to envisage the production of over 1,350kg of honey a year, bringing cash, nutrition and empowerment to our programme participants, changing the lives of hundreds of dependents. This is one of Bees Abroad's largest projects - but we believe the Beekeepers For Life programme needs to be expanded at scale. Our only limitation is funding....

The first training session this week was attended by 26 women and here are Bhatendi's first photos. The group has made amazing progress already - with initial visits and treks around the area over past weeks, choosing the best apiary locations. And now this week, after the first nervous minutes in the classroom, the women showed the excited, keen interest in learning a new skill and then were giggling trying on a bee suit for the first time! The team has been working with local carpenters on the island, teaching them how to make the top bar hives. The first 20 hives are ready and waiting for the group to bait and hang...

Trying on the bee suit for the first time ...

Celebrating the end of the first training session with a group photo with their new manuals!

Stop press: we have just received a WhatsApp from Bhatendi to tell us that the group now has the first twenty hives and they have been baiting them ready to hang ... Watch this blog for the video when it comes through!

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