In October 2015, DDE received a grant of £3650 to deliver beekeeping training to rural primary schools in our Food For Thought (FTT) programme in Uganda. We chose to run the workshops in May 2018 as the weather is good for bees and schools are on holidays so teachers will be more willing to attend training. We were delighted to be put in contact with a very experienced bee-keeping trainer, Patrick Ssekyanzi, who lived in Mubende.
Training Session (6th – 11th May 2018):
The first training session took place on the 6th-11th May 2018 at the Homeland Organic and Agro Tourism Centre. During this workshop, 10 young people (recruited though the Kulika project) were trained in carpentry and made 60 beehives during the week. Before the workshops, we were told that the biggest constraint on new beekeepers is obtaining a bee hive due to their cost. Therefore, we decided it was important for these young people to learn how to build their own bee hives. The workshop was an overall success. We were also pleased to have the Mubende District Agricultural Production Officer and District Agricultural Officer visit the training site and recognised the importance of the course.
Training Session (13th– 17th May 2018):
Our second training session took place on the 13th– 17th May at the Homeland Organic and Agro Tourism Centre. For this session, 10 garden teachers from 5 Food For Thought schools attended the training as well as the 10 young people, making 20 trainees altogether. While the previous workshop focussed on the carpentry side of bee keeping, this workshop focussed on the skill of beekeeping itself. The aim of this workshop was to teach the beekeeping basics, such as queen identification, rearing and equipment usage. Overall, the workshop was a success and many achievements could be noted. For example, by the end of the workshop, participants were able to identify the Queen bee from the swarm and successfully divide a colony from one hive into two while being guided by a trainee. Maybe most importantly, participants who were initially nervous around the bees became friendly and more comfortable around the bees over the week.
While both workshops were a success, there were some challenges noted down which will be addressed if further workshops should take place. Firstly, there was limited time for some practical exercises, such as queen rearing which needs 2 weeks of consecutive observation. During the second training session, we saw the problems of having 20 participants and only one trainer. During practical exercises, participants found it hard to concentrate with so many people. Lastly, there needs to be more safety equipment next time as many of the participants were stung by bees, due to a lack of gloves and gumboots.
At the end of both workshops, beehives were distributed to all the participants. Each young person received 1 or 2 beehives each, with queen bees, a protective outfit and a smoker. Each of the 5 schools from the FFT programme received 8 beehives, a queen bee for each beehive, a protective suit and a smoker. These beehives were installed in a secluded part of the schools land surrounded by barbed wire and a ‘living fence’ to provide protection for the hives. Our hope is that these hives are able to provide new income-generating opportunities for these young people and the schools. Selling honey, which is in high demand locally and nationally, bees wax and newly built hives will hopefully generate good income.