Nalangu once could not afford to send her four children to school for lack of fees. But now, through beekeeping, many children in her community can enjoy a decent education.
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When Nalangu Loigero formed a 40-member group and sought assistance from World Vision last year, a transformation began in her community.
Nalangu, from Oloshoron village in Kenya’s Rift Valley, and other women formed the Lomayana Women’s Group and have become bee farmers, a business that has helped improve their lives, thanks to support from World Vision.
World Vision trained the group on beekeeping and management before supplying it with 20 beehives, adding to 15 hives that the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture donated earlier. World Vision also provided them with bee harvesting equipment as well as protective clothing, including harvesting gowns, helmets, gloves, and gumboots.
One hive produces about 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of honey upon harvesting, which is done after two or three months. The women sell a kilogram of honey for about US$8. They can accumulate about US$5,600 from the hives in one harvest.
“I never knew that I could earn income from keeping bees. Bee farming can give you all the things that you dream to have. I can now provide my family with a decent lifestyle,” says Nalangu.
Sometimes the women barter and exchange honey for goats, which has helped them diversify into goat farming. Additional training from World Vision on goat and chicken rearing has helped the group members successfully venture into these businesses to generate extra income.
Even the children can see transformation. “My mother can now afford to buy me [a school] uniform, books, and provide three meals a day, unlike before when we only ate one meal a day and we went to school with tattered uniform,” explains Lamayan Nkuruna, 9.
Through the group, Nalangu pays school fees for her children and 12 other students. The economically empowered women now have money to send all their children, boys and girls, to schools. Initially they would concentrate on sending only their boys to school and pulling their daughters from school to marry older men, who would pay a bride price.
“We allowed our daughters to get married, even at the age of 13,” says Shani, one member of the group. “We were poor, and all we wanted was the bride price, which comes in the form of several cows, and cows are precious in the Maasai culture. But now we know the value of education, and we are advocating for girls to complete their education.”
Through economic empowerment, these women are transforming their whole community.
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Watch this video to see the story of a community in Rwanda that has also found economic transformation through beekeeping. With savings groups, microloans, and investments in other kinds of livestock, this community, too, can now send its children to school.
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