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Mwasuma Beekeepers; Tabitha Komu, Dorcas Kenyatta and Nzomo Musyoka from Kitui, Kenya.


Honey money: Beekeeping provides new livelihoods in drought-prone Kenya

Dorcas Kenyatta lives in Kitui County, one of the most arid areas in Kenya. Following her husband’s death, she struggled to support her family.

Many Kenyan’s are reliant on subsistence farming and more than 43% are living in poverty. Many are also affected by long periods of drought. Trócaire has been working with local communities in Kenya for the past 40 years to encourage and enable sustainable livelihoods.

Beekeeping is a livelihood that offers strong benefits to people like Dorcas. Not only is it a sustainable activity, it has the additional positive impact of helping to pollinate crops.

Give a sustainable Trócaire gift to someone like Dorcas this Christmas

Dorcas kenyatta with her honey

Photo Caption: Dorcas displays her honey produce, Kitui, 2016

Dorcas, her family and members of her community received training in beekeeping and the necessary supplies to get started. Soon, Dorcas became the Chair of her local beekeepers group, who call themselves Mwasuma.

Each of the 20 Mwasuma beekeepers have been trained in hygienic methods of honey production and processing. They have five hives each from which they can harvest around 10 kilograms of honey annually. Beekeeping has become an important income generating activity in Kitui and supports the community by the sale of honey, beeswax for candles and soap.

Dorcas said: “Members have been maintaining their hives and the quantity and quality of honey harvested has improved. We eventually hope to open a honey processing factory in our area.”

honey bees

The introduction of the freestanding, low to ground, ‘Langstroth’ hive, which can be placed on a small patch of ground close to home, has also made beekeeping far more accessible to women as, previously, the work involved climbing trees to access hives – an unacceptable practice for women in Dorcas’ culture.

Dorcas added: “More women are involved in decisions about harvesting, selling and the use of honey money.  Now we are part of this, not just watching the men from the side-lines.”

“The beekeeping and honey harvesting is carried out during the day along with household chores. This means I can support my family as both a mother and a provider.”

honey bees

Photo caption: Annabel (3), Jess Walker (4) and James (2) help to promote the Trócaire Gift of Honey Bees in Maynooth, Co Kildare.

The Trócaire Gift of Honey Bees provides a family with training, bees, hives, flowering plants and water. Once the bees move in, families can earn money selling honey and beeswax for candles and soap.

Find out more about giving an ethical gift this Christmas to support people in developing countries.


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