Garreson Publishing runs a monthly e-mail newsletter for beekeepers (subscribe). This article is the first in a series of interviews of beekeepers from across the world.
The Bwindi Youth have fifty hives, doctor but dream of having eight hundred. This Ugandan youth program started by founder Agaba Moses to help pay his school fees, stuff and has grown to fifty people, sick with visions of spurring entrepreneurship, tourism, and job creation in southern Uganda.
This region in Uganda is widely known for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a park of 128 square miles that is home to diverse wildlife, flowering plants, and trees. This park dates back to the early 1930s, when it was established as a government recognized forest reserve. In the 1960s it was designated an animal sanctuary, and restricted in the early 90s to protect endangered mountain gorillas. The Bwindi Youth offices are listed as “40 metres from game park entrance.” Because the gorillas are fenced inside the park they do not destroy the beehives.
The vast majority of local residents are dependent on agriculture for their income, including the Batwa Pygmies. When the Impenetrable National Park was established, the Batwa peoples were evicted from the park, they were given no compensation, having no title to the land. The Bwindi Youth tell me that the Batwa used to destroy the forest looking for staple foods like fruit and honey.
The Bwindi Youth aim to be a community led organization to teach people agricultural methods, conservation, nutrition, and upstanding moral values, while providing new ways of making a living. They currently sell honey in the area where they work, and have a computer and camera, but lack financial means for packaging their honey to distribute further.
What they lack for in means, they make up for in organization. Their group of fifty has a detailed constitution, budget, long-term work plan, and promotional brochures. Five of their members are called out on their brochure as officers, ranging from counseling, tourism, and catering, to graphic design and business administration. They were very excited to speak with us (as we were with them), and made us an honorary member of their organization.
They sent us the following pictures – click each to enlarge.
Garreson Publishing would like to thank the Bwindi Youth for their time in helping produce this article. In the coming months, we will continue this series from different perspectives, seeing how beekeeping impacts lives across the world. You can view the past entries here, on Kenyan beekeeping and Foreign Aid in Uganda.