Project information

Beekeeping enterprise for Ethiopian school leavers

Beekeeping lifts people out of poverty. We will support 2 Honey Cooperatives in Amhara, Ethiopia. Young landless men and women will be trained and equipped to keep bees, sell honey and develop business skills. We will support micro-enterprises linked with beekeeping e.g. making beekeeping clothing.

February 2017 - January 2018

Charity information: Bees for Development Trust

Bees for Development Trust logo
  • Need


    In Amhara 23% of the population are destitute. This problem is acute for young people - they lack land and employment and have uncertain futures. People lack money for education, food and medicines. Our Project gives young people a better start – a business opportunity through beekeeping. Land in Ethiopia is degraded by over-grazing, leading to soil erosion and biodiversity loss. Beekeeping tackles this problem by providing an alternative income and incentive to protect forests for bee forage.


    Beekeeping is cheap to start, environmentally beneficial and does not require land ownership. Our Project helps young people with no land and few resources to develop a sustainable livelihood – through bees. By emphasising business development training, the honey trading Cooperatives will be sustainable and profitable in the long term. Beekeeping is a widespread activity, creating opportunities for diverse associated business enterprises e.g. making and selling protective clothing and hives.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To provide a secure and resilient livelihood to young, landless people


    » Training for 80 young people in hive making, honey bee colony management, honey quality control and marketing.
    » One month in-village technical coaching for product harvesting and quality control.
    » Provide equipment for beekeeping and honey and beeswax processing, including hive tools and protective clothing.

    Positive training participant feedback. 80 co-operative members establish apiaries, manage bees, harvest honey. Members sell honey and wax to generate income (£45 each/year one).

    Aim 2

    To strengthen cooperatives’ financial and organisational capacity to maximise business performance


    » Training for 12 young cooperative leaders in business skills: market analysis, business planning, financial administration.
    » Training for 12 young cooperative leaders in leadership skills: facilitation techniques, team management, community mobilisation.
    » One month in-village coaching to work with young leaders on their business and leadership skills.

    2 Honey Cooperatives operating profitably at the end of year 1, finding a market for 100% of their produce. Cooperatives are well run, evidenced by member retention.

    Aim 3

    To create youth awareness about options for sustainable livelihoods in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve


    » Focus groups with 80 young people in the Project areas (Lake Tana UNESCO Biosphere Reserve) about the importance of environmental protection.
    » Focus group (80 young people) covering environmental costs of conventional livelihood options: overgrazing, land degradation, overfishing, pesticides.
    » Focus group explaining how beekeeping and manufacturing inputs for the beekeeping sector offers a livelihood that protects the environment.

    Young people demonstrate awareness of the environmental risks of conventional livelihoods in a protected area and have knowledge of alternative, sustainable livelihoods.

    Aim 4

    To develop micro-enterprises around the beekeeping sector, for profitable, sustainable livelihoods


    » Identifying school leavers with no land or assets and limited livelihood options to participate in micro-enterprise development Projects.
    » In depth skills training for 40 young people on making hats, veils, beekeeper suits and top-bars for bee hives and raising fruit tree seedlings.
    » On-going support for young people’s micro-enterprises including technical skills, marketing and quality control.

    20 young people set up micro-enterprises manufacturing inputs for the beekeeping sector and generate income (£45 each/year one).

  • Impact


    The Project will increase the household income and livelihood resilience of 100 marginalised and vulnerable rural families (500 family members). Participants will develop profitable businesses, demonstrated by 70% earning new income of £45/year.
    The Project will empower young people, particularly women, demonstrated by 50% female Cooperative membership.
    The Project will strengthen the institutional and business capabilities of the Cooperatives, demonstrated by monitoring honey volumes marketed.


    There is a risk that people will be sceptical about taking up alternative livelihood options. We have dealt with this risk by offering training on several different enterprises, such as making beekeeping clothing and growing tree seedlings to suit participants with a range of skills and interests.


    Donors will receive regular email updates with Project news. We will send our annual Impact Report to supporters and publish this on our website. Progress and news will be reported on our website, in Bees for Development Journal and shared via social media, including twitter and Facebook.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £25,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £3,100 Training Training 80 young people in hive making, bee colony management, honey quality control and marketing
      £1,400 Equipment Equipment for beekeeping and honey and beeswax processing
      £2,150 Support, training Training and coaching for 12 young co-operative leaders to strengthen business and leadership skills
      £1,600 Training Focus groups (80 young people) - environmental protection and beekeeping as a sustainable livelihood
      £3,250 Support, training In depth skills training and ongoing support for micro-enterprises surrounding the beekeeping sector
      £4,500 Admin, travel Project overheads, administrative costs and travel costs to support and monitor participants
      £5,000 Salary costs Salary costs for Bees for Development Ethiopia Manager to coordinate Project
      £4,000 Overheads Bees for Development (UK): Project overheads, administrative costs

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Rotary Foundation District Grants £1,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    The Project is located in Amhara, Ethiopia, including Lake Tana UNESCO Biosphere Reserve (designated 2015). 85% of the population work in agriculture, primarily subsistence farming. 23% of the population are chronically poor. Women-headed households and youth with small land holdings, limited labour and few livestock suffer extreme poverty. The Project targets these beneficiaries. The Biosphere Reserve provides vital ecosystem and biodiversity services, threatened by conventional livelihoods.


    The Project will benefit 100 marginalized and vulnerable rural families (500 family members). Our target beneficiaries are young people lacking land, assets and employment with limited livelihood options, and uncertain futures. The Project will provide them with skills and resources to earn a sustainable living. Ultimately, by encouraging the next generation to take up livelihoods that do not damage the environment, the Project will benefit all residents of the Lake Tana Biosphere Reserve.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    For 23 years, Bees for Development has used sustainable beekeeping to alleviate poverty. We have delivered beekeeper training throughout the developing world. We focus on using free or low cost, local materials and local knowledge, encouraging peer to peer learning. Our partner organisation Bees for Development Ethiopia, locally registered in 2012, is a well-respected NGO and a ‘go to’ hub for beekeeping support. It has delivered successful projects funded by donors including DFID and CEPF.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Mr Tilahun Gebey, Director Bees For Development Ethiopia

    Tilahun Gebey is a well-respected beekeeper trainer and apiculture expert. He will manage and implement the Project.

    Mr Efrem, Beekeeper Trainer

    Efrem will deliver many of the training modules. He is a skilled trainer and expert beekeeper.

    Dr Nicola Bradbear, Director Bees For Development

    As Bees for Development Director Nicola Bradbear will oversee the project. She is an expert in apiculture and development.