BEE-autiful: The Nature Isle Beekeeping Project

Working in partnership with the Rotary Club of Portsmouth – Dominica and the Rotary Club of Bracebridge – Ontario, Canada, ISRAAID’s Livelihood team are implementing another beekeeping project in 2022 called The Nature Isle Beekeeping Project.

This project is fully funded by a Rotary Global Grant and targets women, men and youth in the North and Southeast of Dominica. Thirty beneficiaries were selected to participate in this training, twenty (20) farmers from the North and ten (10) from the Southeast. In total there are 17 males and 13 females participating with the youngest being a twenty-year-old woman and the oldest, a seventy-year-old woman.

Bees are critical in ensuring pollination takes place for plant life to continue.  Unfortunately, due to Hurricane Maria the population of bees in Dominica as depleted and beekeepers lost most of their hives. This project enhances the environmental sustainability as bees are an essential part of the ecosystem. It has the additional benefit of providing an opportunity for participants to increase their income through bee keeping. The project also empowers farmers, as startup costs can be a barrier to entry into beekeeping. The partners believe that once the initial investment is made and education provided, beekeeping businesses can thrive. The production of honey is a natural process and once established, requires little financial input. It is expected that the beneficiaries of this project will be able to continue their production into the foreseeable future as there is a very high demand for honey in Dominica and the Caribbean region whilst there is very little supply.

Throughout this two-week training which began on March 26th, farmers have been trained with the technical skills to grow bees and harvest honey. Training and mentoring have been provided on the fundamentals of beekeeping, the process of building beehives, managing a small business and food safety standards. At the end of the project, participants will receive a certificate of participation and will be presented with equipment, hives, and safety gears to start their beekeeping venture.

The partners of this project commend the active involvement of the thirty (30) participating farmers across Dominica and together look forward to enhancing the environment, livelihoods and lives of citizens of Dominica.

ISRAAID has been working in Dominica since October 2017, following Hurricane Maria.  ISRAAID’s work in Dominica focuses on supporting the recovery of communities across the Island. ISRAAID’s work includes extensive programs in the areas of shelter, education, DRR, child protection, livelihoods and resiliency building by working closely with local actors and social society, communities/community leaders, local businesses, government organizations and other public and non-governmental organizations. ISRAAID alongside its partners have been working directly with beneficiaries to develop vocational capacities, business development, and entrepreneurship skills training.

Rotary International is an international service organization that brings together business and professional leaders to provide humanitarian service. Since it was founded more than 100 years ago, Rotary has spent more than $4 billion on life changing, sustainable projects. Its mission is to advance world understanding, good will and peace by improving health, providing quality education, improving the environment and alleviating poverty. It is a non-political and non-religious organization. The Rotary Clubs of Portsmouth in Dominica and Bracebridge, Canada worked together to prepare a successful grant application to fund the bee keeping project.  They were joined in their efforts by the Rotary Club of Kingston, Canada. Six Rotarians from the Canadian clubs travelled to Dominica and have been working with Dominican Rotarians and ISRAAID to implement the project.

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