The humble honey bee is saving lives in Uganda
The health benefits of honey are well known and now this wonderful natural resource could be available to many of the rural poor in East Africa.
Hives Save Lives is a bright idea from Richard Unwin, a successful businessman who is also passionate about ingenious ways of tackling rural poverty in Africa. The charity also boasts an impressive board of trustees with many titled patrons supporting their work.
Richard set up Hives Saves Lives to introduce beekeeping equipment and training to enable honey harvests to provide a sustainable and viable income for poor rural people.
Although Richard is introducing modern Apiculture (Beekeeping) to this part of Africa, collecting honey has actually been a long tradition in Africa. Traditional African ‘honey harvesting’ targeted natural bee colonies, often in log hives and collecting the honey often resulted in the hives destruction.
Farming the bees or realising the potential for a cash crop had been difficult because of lack of resources and training. Setting up any kind of commercial activity is difficult in any poverty stricken developing country due to lack of resources.
Currently based in Uganda, making hives that have been specifically designed to be easy and cheap to produce in East Africa from locally available materials. Making the hives along with other equipment needed to keep bees also provides a source of income through employment.
Week long training packages, including hives and equipment are provided to approved projects along with ongoing support to get the hives established and producing honey. Simple business help is also given to ensure that the honey finds a good market and achieves a fair price. Projects agree to repay the cost of training and equipment over 4 or 5 years, (interest free) using income from selling honey, thus making it very sustainable.
Suitable projects can be local NGO’s (non governmental organisations), farmers groups, cooperatives, youth groups, women’s groups and even schools.
Projects also report back each month on their progress and this enables the staff at hives saves lives to quickly sort out any problems with the bees or management.
To find out more about this project, visit ‘Hives Saves Lives‘ and get involved!
Ian Anderson is a builder turned humanitarian and most days you can find him pottering about at his blog polishing peanuts, trying to find sense in an often bewildering world.