African Beekeepers Limited is a private company working to develop beekeeping and the honey industry in Kenya. Through the project, they had the opportunity to receive training through Hand in Hand’s self-help groups. This focussed on staffing for modern beekeeping, honey production, and necessary equipment.
Weseyo Women Group, which had implemented Hand in Hand’s entrepreneurship training in 2013, received further education concerning beekeeping. They were trained in constructing beehives, using advanced machinery, and harvesting honey. In addition, they learned to package and market their product.
Using their newly gained skills, the women of Weseyo Women Group decided to go “all in” and invest in one bee colony each. They also purchased equipment for harvesting honey. They had a smart idea concerning this purchase – the machines would only be used within the group, but also rented out to other parties to generate additional income.
“Many of us were scared before we started, especially as the beekeeping profession is dominated by men. But we were encouraged by the education we had received, and we are looking forward to our first harvest,” said the group’s chair, Pascaline Cherotich, in 2016.
One year later (2017), they had two harvests and collected 80 kilogrammes of honey. It was time to take the next step. The Baringo Honey Value Chains co-op was established with the goal of producing and selling large quantities of honey.
“Nowadays, we women support our families. We can buy food and send our children to school. We have seen that women can be just as good at beekeeping as men. We were dependent on them in the past. Now, we are not dependent on anyone; we are entrepreneurs,” said Pascaline Cherotich in 2017.
As of today (2020), Baringo Honey Value Chains has contributed to helping several thousand women like Pascaline to improve their livelihood. From 2020 to 2021, a project is being implemented to strengthen the co-op and provide small-scale farmers in Baringo with continued training in sustainable agricultural practices with a focus on beekeeping and honey production.