A small charity from Wales is harnessing the natural power of bees to help families around the world build a sustainable future for themselves.
The charity Bees for Development, which is based in Monmouth, has reached thousands of remote families in more than 50 countries since it was first founded in 1993, supporting them in earning an essential income.
And now, thanks to £50,000 of UK aid funding from the Department for International Development’s (DfID) Small Charities Challenge Fund, the charity will be able to reach many more.
With the new funding, Bees for Development will be training entrepreneurs in the Amhara region of Ethiopia in beekeeping, and supporting them in launching their own businesses.
According to the charity, beekeeping is the “most perfect self-sustaining activity.”
While there are a number of reasons why bees are so great, the key points are that honey and beeswax are familiar products in every society and find ready markets to generate a worthwhile income.
Beekeeping also doesn’t need to be time-consuming for people with other priorities like looking after children, or family; and it’s feasible for people who don’t have land, too, because bees find their own food by foraging on flowering plants wherever they’re growing.
The fact that bee hives can be made from local materials means that they are also very low-cost, or no-cost, and anyone can get started. What's more, bees are usually freely available, and the organisation always advises people to use local bees.
And if that’s not enough, bees also mean people can generate an income without destroying forests or other habitats — and, in fact, provides a financial incentive to protect habitat.
A fantastic training workshop earlier this month for five master #beekeepers in Techiman, in #Ghana. They were joined by two teachers from Trinity Yard School in the country’s Western Region. Amazing to hear the school will be developing the teaching of beekeeping as a vocation. pic.twitter.com/VazNfiOe8F— Bees for Development (@BeesForDev) July 25, 2018
“Bees for Development helps the poorest people earn extra income through beekeeping,” said Dr. Nicola Bradbear, the charity’s director. “We are a specialist organisation, with a niche set of skills.
She added that the grant will “enable us to help families in Ethiopia keep bees profitably, so they can earn extra income to buy school uniforms, pay medical costs, buy food, and pay off debts.”
Penny Mordaunt, the UK’s international development secretary, added: “Small, UK-based charities up and down the country, often staffed by volunteers, are incredibly valuable in making a difference around the world.”
We’re indebted to the generosity of our supporters – and have been since we got going 25 years ago. BfD is a small, unique charity with big ambitions. The kindness of our supporters helps alleviate poverty and sustains #bee populations. Thank you! #internationaldevelopmentpic.twitter.com/Fry29Lq0Nm— Bees for Development (@BeesForDev) June 7, 2018
“Bees for Development is a great example of how a small community in Wales is helping to make a huge difference in Ethiopia,” she added. “They are providing an invaluable entrepreneurial experience to young people, helping them thrive and support their own community.”
DfID launched the Small Charities Challenge Fund in 2017 specifically to provide funding to smaller charities with an income of £250,000 or less — but that are helping drive huge change around the world.
“I am delighted that the hard work of Welsh charity such as Bees for Development is being rewarded for the international impact they have in encouraging entrepreneurship in a way that protects our environment,” said Alan Cairns, secretary of state for Wales.
“I hope that the funds awarded will go a long way to continue the great work they do across Ethiopia,” he said.