Bee 4 Batwa Project, the messiah to beekeeping in Kisoro district.

 ‘‘Out of my mother’s womb, a beekeeper was born. beekeeping is now stuck in my head because it’s part of my day to day activities’’, says Muhawe Irene, one of the female Batwa beekeepers from Bizu, Kisoro district. While finding our way to Irene’s home, we drove through a narrow, meandering and slippery route. The ‘sorry state’ condition of the road had been caused by the rainy weather that is a characteristic of Kisoro District. Irene is among the 40 Batwa beneficiaries who have been selected under the bee 4 Batwa project, a new project that TUNADO is implementing together with Bwindi Mgahinga Conservation Trust. This project is being sponsored by the Danish Government through the Danish beekeepers’ association with Bees for Development Uk as advisor of the project. It’s main objective is to facilitate the Batwa beekeepers with skills to turn beekeeping into a commercial venture as well as promoting knowledge transfer and sharing between the Batwa who traditionally, are beekeepers. This is a pilot project that will run for a period of two years with a possibility of extending to other sub-counties in the subsequent years to come subject to availability /acquisition of more funds.

A fully-fledged Project Coordinator and Apiary Master have already been allocated for this project to spearhead the daily implementation as well as performing the responsibilities of training the Batwa in professional beekeeping practices. The BMCT head of field operations in Kisoro, Ms. Claire will support the team during the project implementation.

Basing on the excitement exhibited by the Batwa people who turned up for registration and screening at Bizi and Rubuguri town councils, we are optimistic that the project is going to be a success. We also pray that the landlords (abakaire) avail a portion of their land for beekeeping by allowing hives to be sited by the Batwa beneficiaries in exchange for equitable sharing of hive products after harvest.

TUNADO takes into consideration the conservation aspect of this project and is in final negotiations with Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and National Forestry Authority (NFA) to assist the Batwa with part of their land for beekeeping. In Summary, the Bee 4 Batwa project is expected to increase honey productivity among the Batwa community and hence MESSIAH.

Compiled by Amena Dennis,

Training & Business Advisor(TBA),

TUNADO Secretariat.