International Development: Busy as bees in DRC

published on 20 Jul 2015

Summer is here at last; the sun is shining, the flowers are in full bloom and the bees are buzzing! This last one may not be your favourite aspect of summer but whilst we may consider bees to be a bit of a nuisance here in the UK, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) they are transforming lives by providing a sustainable source of income.

Despite its mineral wealth, the majority of rural communities in Katanga, DRC are living in material poverty. Many people were displaced due to intercommunity wars and have not returned to their original villages. In Kampemba village, the community continually struggled to grow or buy enough food to eat so approached The Salvation Army to train them in bee-keeping. The community was given training on how to keep bees and how to construct hives to help them earn a living and provide an additional source of nutrition.

Ebeyi Moke, The Salvation Army’s agricultural expert, supports and co-ordinates bee-keeping projects in a number of different villages. He told us, ‘It is more cost-effective to train the farmers to make their own bee hives. Also, giving them this knowledge enables them to be able to add more beehives on their own and they can even adapt the hives by using locally available materials.’

Mande Ngoi, one of the community members, told us, ‘We want to progress in our lives and defeat our lack of enough food. The honey we harvest will provide nutrition to our children. We will also be able to sell part of it and meet some family needs.'

Bees are important to all our lives, but for Mande and her community they are vital in helping them provide nutritious food for their families and lift themselves out of poverty.

Find out more about our food and agriculture work and how you can get involved through our FARM programme here