My name is Tracey Robinson and I am an International Programs Coordinator at Act for Peace. I’ve been at Act for Peace now for seven years and have worked on a variety of projects and programs with partners in the Pacific, Asia, and Africa including our teams in Zimbabwe.
Act for Peace are working with two partners in Zimbabwe, Christian Care (CC) and the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC). Earlier this year you heard from Oxwell from Christian Care and their experience of the drought and new practices of conservation farming.
Zimbabwe continues to face a multitude of challenges, from years of successive drought, increasing severe weather events such as the recent cyclones, as well as the major impact of COVID-19. This is leading to chronic food insecurity in communities. In response, we saw a need to support other projects that focus on diversifying opportunities for food and income generation. One such project is the introduction of the beekeeping project facilitated through Christian Care.
Christian Care are helping a range of farmers by providing them with beekeeping materials and supplies – including hives, smokers, and safety equipment. The farmers are then provided with extensive training where they learn essential skills in all aspects of beekeeping, learning how to establish and maintain their hives and how to care for their colony of bees. This is having a positive impact on their ability to not only earn an income, but to support the environmental benefits of beekeeping.
There were some key learnings from the initial pilot project. The lack of rain due to the drought meant there was not enough water available for the bees, so they did not colonise the hives. As a result, the hives were moved near the nutritional gardens and crops. Fishery ponds or dams are close by, so the bees then had access to water. Additionally, the bees were able to feed off the vegetables and flowers and assist with cross pollination. A win for the bees and the farmers.
We have had such positive feedback from the farmers in the project; they have thoroughly enjoyed learning about this process. They have gained valuable knowledge about the science, and about the environmental and health benefits of beekeeping. This project has been a steep learning curve for the participating farmers as it was a brand-new project in these communities. However, the farmers are ecstatic about the economic benefits and CC have been inundated with requests from other interested farmers to participate in this project.
While I miss the face-to-face communication with the team in Zimbabwe because of COVID-19, what keeps me going is hearing from them every week. It’s incredibly inspiring to see that they’re still out in the field each day. They have such big hearts and dedication to help the communities that they’re serving. They’re such a good team and they do so much with the resources that are given to them – they really can make a dollar go a long way!
The Masvingo Region is one of the most food insecure districts in Zimbabwe due to low annual rainfall and high temperatures. As water supplies continue to dwindle in response to climate change and the region continues to battle with ongoing drought, crops and livestock continue to be at risk.
With your support and thanks to our partner, Christian Care, families on the ground have access to the skills, training, knowledge, and resources they need to support themselves and their families, through climate resilient farming and livelihoods diversification. They can feel hopeful that they have a better chance of making it through these devastating times.
Your support is making a difference!
$35 will give a farmer everything they need to start beekeeping.
• For drought conditions to ease in Zimbabwe.
• For continued resources and support for Act for Peace’s partner Christian Care.
• That the new beekeeping projects continue to assist farmers, through additional income and positive environmental impacts.