The BeeKeepers: how African women are making history, changing culture and rebooting their lives.

The BeeKeepers: how African women are making history, changing culture, and rebooting their lives.

This morning a note landed in my inbasket from Kiva. It was a field report about something wonderful that’s been happening in Kenya, where a group of women are making history. We’re hearing lots about bees these days, usually because our ecosystem is drastically threatened by their looming extinction, so you can imagine my delight when this particular note about bees was about the way that an organization called “Honey Care Africa” had become a Kiva partner, and was empowering women to start new businesses to lift themselves out of poverty. The part that had me nearly standing on my chair and cheering was realizing that this group of women was doing something that had never been done before, simply because they were women. They’re not only changing the way bee keeping is done, but knocking down walls in a culture of male-dominance. Let me share a bit of the note that I got from Kiva explaining why:

From the field report on Kenya’s Women Beekeepers:

Impact. Studies have shown that women are the ‘change’ agents of the family since women spend a greater percentage of their income on the welfare of their households than do men. As a consequence, increases in women’s incomes improve the health, nutritional and educational status of other household members, particularly children.

Empowerment. Joseph, Honey Care’s cluster manager in Kakamega, said that bringing women into beekeeping was important because it can assist in shifting a culture. “African men were selfish in that the best parts of a sheep went to men, honey was used by men, culturally the best things go to men, and that’s why they were kept aside. Beekeeping was traditionally predominantly for men. We need to water down that culture to increase beekeeping overall.”

Environment. Increasing beekeeping overall is a good thing for all of us. Bees are pollinators vital to our food chain. Declining numbers of bees and other pollinators have been causing growing concern in recent years, as scientists fear that decreased pollination could have major impacts on world food supplies.

Honey! Jeremiah, a Honey Care hive technician in Kitale said, “Kenyan Women spend 80% of their time in the farm, while men spend 20%, so it is necessary to promote these women because they are good managers.” Female farmers are extremely hardworking and their diligence in management and upkeep with the apiaries can lead to more honey, which benefits both the farmer and Honey Care Africa.

While at the moment all of the kiva entrepreneurs that are part of this program have been funded, you can be sure we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for a chance to invest in a woman that joins this wonderful program down the road!

Want to watch for an opportunity to do this too? Sign into Kiva and follow the Honey Care Africa page so that you’ll get an email notification the moment a new entrepreneur needs sponsorship:

Namaste,

 

Sue

 

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