The team from the OTEPIC Peace Project, represented by Coordinator, Philip Odhiambo Munyasia, thanks donors to PA’s Permafund for their support in promoting permaculture in Kitale Kenya.
In 2020, OTEPIC received a $2,000 Permafund grant for a beekeeping project. This included establishing ten bee hives initially and training a core contingent of 70 local community members in beekeeping. A further 100 community members are being introduced to beekeeping as a means of generating personal incomes and reducing local poverty. Youth leadership training is ongoing.
As an alternative local farming enterprise, beekeeping is already creating employment at a low level. Four people are working on the bee project while learning to build bee hives to sell to the local market. Farm yields have also increased due to the availability of bees as pollinators.
OTEPIC’s apiary was established in April ’21 providing ongoing beekeeping business management training and demonstrations for members of the Biddi community. By December 2021 members of the community will be sharing roles for the collective management of the apiary and the surrounding bee attracting gardens and food forest.
Honey has been harvested twice already with a beeswax and propolis extraction process to be established by the end of 2021. Hives have been bought collectively and are being managed by OTEPIC project community members as a group demonstration site at the Upendo garden.
To keep the bees in good health for the long-term sunflowers and nectar rich flowers have been planted, water sources made available and bee feeding stations are set up when required.
There are many social and economic factors that cause division among communities and bee keeping has helped to bring people together to exchange and share, promoting unity and diminishing the divides of political and resource-based disagreements and conflicts.
The project has its challenges including transportation of materials, bee hives and volunteers to the working site. The unpredictable rainy season has affected the swarming season which helps add colonies for the bee hives. There wasn’t enough shade when the hives were first installed so fast-growing trees are being grown around them.
A lot has been learned during the project planning process, which has served as a reminder to look at how each element is connected to the others and the importance of looking at whole systems and the complete vision when planning one aspect.
Members of OTEPIC and its neighbours have learned from every step of the installation of the bee keeping project and will be able to replicate the process in future projects. They have been inspired by the experience of collaboration and exchange with other regional projects such as the Garden of Hope project and will continue to look for these opportunities, Monitoring and evaluation of the project is ongoing.
Donations to Permaculture Australia’s Permafund over $2 are tax deductible in Australia and support environmental and community building projects like the OTEPIC Beekeeping project. Find out more including how to donate here.