IOCC – 12/8/19
Building on the learning of recent years, members of a women’s beekeeping association in rural Shpati, Albania, continued training in late 2018.
A grant from IOCC has helped Diakonia Agapes (the social, development, and relief office of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania) organize and fund additional learning opportunities for this group of women from seven villages across Shpati. Beekeeping is a local tradition and source of income there, and the women manage between 4 and 30 beehives each. Many have faced challenges maintaining their colonies’ productivity.
Because the beekeepers live and work in isolated areas, the chance to learn as a group and develop connections with other women farmers is valuable. Association members swap stories and learn from each other; membership also offers access to resources. The association received equipment to help members prepare products for market, and the women learned in workshops to collect propolis, a bee product with commercial potential.
In trainings with apiarists, the women also learned practical ways to improve honey harvests, care for their bees’ health, and make beebread to feed the insects in winter. They can now produce beebread themselves, without relying on outside sources. This saves on expenses and also means the women can potentially sell beebread to other beekeepers.
At the same time, Diakonia Agapes has gained significant experience working with IOCC through this project, improving the local Orthodox Church’s expertise in spearheading development initiatives. Improving livelihoods for the women beekeepers will help strengthen their communities as they continue learning and growing together.
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