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A sweet new livelihood for young people in northern Ethiopia

Beekeeping project in northern Ethiopia helps young landless people to gain independence and imagine a brighter future.

Gebremichael Gebretsadiq (25) and Silas Woldegergis (20) at the beehives in the community of ‘Mariamshewito Kebele’ in northern Ethiopia. Photo: Sarah Hunter Gebremichael Gebretsadiq (25) and Silas Woldegergis (20) at the beehives in the community of ‘Mariamshewito Kebele’ in northern Ethiopia. Photo: Sarah Hunter

“I had to work as a daily labourer to make ends meet before. I had to move from place to place but there was no guarantee that work would be available. I did a lot of different kinds of work—in the fields, on building sites—and it was very hard. I worked from 6am to 6pm. I live with my parents. Before I just worked day to day and had no vision for the future.”

Gebremichael Gebretsadiq (25) is part of a beekeeping cooperative in ‘Mariamshewito Kebele’ in northern Ethiopia which brings together young people with no land and limited livelihood opportunities. The cooperative is owned equally by its 10 male and 10 female members, and all decisions are made democratically.

Another cooperative member, Silas Woldegergis (20), spoke to us about how the project is helping to transform her life:

“I had wanted to go to university after I finished school but unfortunately I didn’t get the required grades. I became totally reliant on my parents. They found it very difficult as they had only a small piece of land. I had to work as a daily labourer earning 45 Birr (£1.50) a day (males earn 75 Birr or £2.50 a day). I now have hopes for the future. I plan to be a good person with a good steady income. I would like to diversify my income by buying livestock or opening a shop. I could even consider trying for university again. I want a family of my own some day. If this project is a success I will be able to provide for my children in the future.”

Trócaire and its partners provided project participants with materials to build a shed, hives, bees, and training. The local government has provided experts in training and assessment to support the project. The endorsement of local government also helps ensure the project is sustainable.

You can support an initiative like this through the Trócaire Gifts programme, buying a charity gift in the name of a loved one as a Christmas present, or for any occasion. The Gift of Honeybees goes to communities like Kabele to help poor and marginalised people develop profitable new livelihoods.

“I am investing for my future. I hope to have good money in a few years. I am also helping to educate others—I want us to get rich together! This is a really good new initiative. I have confidence in the project. We might be able to purchase a vehicle some day for the cooperative so we can transport our honey to market ourselves. I would love to build a house. We all work well together and our parents are proud of us,” Gebremichael Gebretsadiq told us.

Find out more about the Trócaire Gift of Honeybees by clicking below.

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