Project information

Trees for Bees; help bees and people in Ethiopia

We will restore natural forest and honey bee populations in northern Ethiopia through urgent, ambitious forest restoration. This work is needed to strengthen the livelihoods and tackle the poverty of the hundreds of people living in the globally-important Lake Tana Biosphere Reserve.

April 2018 - March 2019

Charity information: Bees for Development Trust

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  • Need


    Forest cover in Lake Tana catchment area has fallen since 1980 from 40% cover to just 1%. The consequences include water and wind erosion, siltation in the lake, and significant loss of biodiversity, including a decline in honey bees. Indigenous tree species have been replaced by non-native Eucalyptus, which cause water courses to dry-up. 25% of the population live in chronic poverty. Livelihood activities are incompatible with sustainable development, creating a bleak future for the youth.


    We will restore an area of degraded forest in Lake Tana basin. Once protected, natural forest will re-grow, as proven by recent similar work. As the area is restored, a wealth of natural resources will return. Honey bees will re-populate the area quickly and will deliver immediate financial benefits for local people. We will provide training in beekeeping, and enable youth to keep bees, harvest and sell honey. They will experience tangible income benefit from bees and the re-wilding process

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Area of degraded hillside, 40 ha, set aside by the local community for forest regeneration


    » Community meetings, with full community representation, will be held to discuss, share ideas and aims and identify the boundaries of the area.
    » The area will be mapped
    » A committee will be formed, through local engagement and consultation. Guidance for protecting the selected area will be developed and followed.

    What success will look like

    1. Documents of the community agreement and a map of the area;
    2. Fields reports on agreed management rules, and how these are upheld;
    3. Minutes of community meetings.

    Aim 2

    Honey bee populations in the area restored and honey bee swarms collected in temporary hives.


    » Low-cost hives will be procured and located in the re-wilded area. These will be identified with paint and numbers to deter theft.
    » Once occupied with bees, these hives will be re-located and given to young beekeepers. They will keep their bees at home for management and security.
    » A number of beehives will be retained in the re-wilded area, as nesting sites for wild bees. These will be monitored regularly.

    What success will look like

    1. Number of mother colonies of bees established in the re-wilded area (wild colonies to be left alone)
    2. Number of swarms caught in temporary hives, and given to new beekeepers

    Aim 3

    Landless youth (25m and 25w) in the area trained and helped to establish beekeeping businesses.


    » A beekeeping promotional event will be held to inform and encourage interest in beekeeping and to identify the target group to attend training
    » Beekeeping training programme will be delivered in three modules to selected young men and women.
    » Follow-up training and site visits will provide further advice and support to new beekeepers, as they establish their apiaries at their home sites.

    What success will look like

    We will record
    1. Numbers of landless youth attending training courses, and we will assess what they learn
    2. Numbers who start beekeeping, and their honey and beeswax sales.

  • Impact


    Our long term aim is to re-wild an area of degraded hillside and restore an abundance and diversity of natural vegetation, with associated environmental benefits. This will be demonstrated by showing the difference in vegetation cover before and after the project. This will be measured through photographs and we will measure the change in NDVI values (vegetation cover) through analysis of GIS data.


    As a result of carelessness, livestock may browse the regenerating vegetation. We will plan for this by:
    1. Relying on natural regeneration, and not tree-planting. Naturally regenerating trees are more resilient to occasional browsing.
    2. Community support for this project is essential. Our local partner has a successful track record of building community engagement for regeneration projects of this kind.
    3. Securing expertise from government offices, who will also provide their support.


    We will inform donors about progress of the Project by maintaining news updates on our website and via social media. We shall prepare and disseminate a newsletter with updates.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £40,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £3,000 Stakeholder meetings Holding six community meetings to discuss and establish the area, agree rules and to review progress
      £2,000 Mapping Produce a map of the demarcated area for management and monitoring purposes
      £2,000 Beehive purchase Beehives will be placed in the re-wilded area to provide nesting sites for honey bees
      £8,000 Salaries and admin Costs of the salary of the project coordinator and associated admin
      £6,000 Transport Transport for field work
      £12,000 Beekeeping training Three rounds of beekeeping training will be delivered to selected landless youth (m and f)
      £3,000 Guards Guards will be engaged from the local community to help uphold the no-browsing rules
      £4,000 Monitoring Monitoring and evaluation will be conducted to ensure the project achieves its goals
  • Background


    Located within the Lake Tana basin in northern Ethiopia. Ethiopia's largest lake and source of the Blue Nile. Home to an ancient cultural heritage and unique biodiversity, Lake Tana is now a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The area provides the basis for the means of existence for millions of people. The region has been cultivated and fished intensively for thousands of years. Ever-increasing pressure on this ecosystem is causing its destruction, putting people's livelihoods at risk.


    All 240 households living near the re-wilded site which will benefit, in the long term, from the restored environmental services and natural resources, notably improved water sources, access to forest products and reduced soil erosion. 50 landless youth (25 m 25 w) selected from 200 households will benefit immediately from beekeeping training. They will be assisted to start beekeeping and earn an income. This income will be used to support livelihoods and well-being of 50 young people.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    For 24 years Bees for Development has used sustainable beekeeping to alleviate poverty and support biodiversity. We have delivered beekeeper training throughout the developing world. Our partner organisation Bees for Development Ethiopia (BfDE), registered in 2012, is an experienced local NGO. BfDE has delivered successful projects funded by donors including DFID and CEPF, and is greatly experienced in delivering successful community projects to rehabilitate degraded land in this area.

    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, and ensure its success.

    Mr Efrem Mengistu, Beekeeper Trainer, Bees For Development Ethiopia

    Efrem will support the community engagement process and will deliver the training modules. He has experience of similar land restoration projects.

    Dr Nicola Bradbear, Director Of Bees For Development

    Dr Nicola Bradbear is responsible for ensuring excellent management and successful delivery of the Project.

    Janet Lowore, Programme Manager, Bees For Development

    Janet will support the monitoring and evaluation process, write progress reports, manage budgets, and communicate with donors.


Will train a young person in Ethiopia to learn beekeeping, giving them a skill for life