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Written by: Alamnyak Thaddeus Ole Orpiay

Too often has Africa relied on western ways of thinking and technology to resolve its problems; however here is an African organisation fighting for a sustainable future in Maasiland! The Loiborsoit Bee-Keeping project is asking for help and there are plenty of reasons why YOU should email alamnyakthaddeus@gmail.com to invest in this grassroots initiative.

Loiborsoit is a small village in the Simanjiro District of Tanzania’s Manyara region on an essential wildlife corridor between Tarangire National Park and the herbivore’s seasonal grazing lands outside the park. The Loiborsoit community is dependent on the area’s diverse array of natural resources – particularly the acacia woodlands.

The trees are cleared to make space for agriculture and burned to make charcoal that is sold in the Arusha markets. Proper management of the local environment through sustainable small-scale projects, such as bee keeping, is crucial for the Loiborsoit community in order to prevent over-exploitation of natural resources due to a lack of awareness.

Deforestation in the Simanjiro Easement Area
Deforestation in the Simanjiro Easement Area
Charcoal
Charcoal production

The bee-keeping project:

I am the project manager and planner of Loiborsoit Integrated Rural Organisation (LIRDO) and head of the community’s bee keeping initiative. The project aims to help conserve and enhance the area’s natural acacia forests whilst providing a livelihood for local villagers via the selling of honey in local markets.

Alamnyak Thaddeus Ole Orpiay
Alamnyak Thaddeus Ole Orpiay

The project plans to support 35 Loiborsoit locals and 10 game scouts within the area, with each person managing up to 20 hives.

Village game scouts also collaborate with Tarangire National Park and report on any suspected poaching activities on the periphery of the reserve and keep track of wildlife migrating in and out the park to ensure a more peaceful co-existence between locals and wildlife.

Loiborsoit Village game scouts
Loiborsoit village game scouts
A village scout patrol group
A village scout patrol group

The challenge:

The woodlands surrounding Tarangire National Park are under threat from deforestation. Indigenous trees are used to build houses or cleared to make space for agriculture. The biggest threat to the local fauna is the charcoal trade. Locals cut down and burn the forests to sell charcoal in Arusha.

The rate at which deforestation is taking place is not sustainable and should the ecosystem collapse they will lose the unique biodiversity and ecological services that the forest provides. It will also have a far-reaching affect for Tarangire National Park as the large ungulates are dependent on these wildlife corridors to migrate with the seasons to better grazing lands.

Solution:

The bee-keeping project aims to change local mindsets as well as provide an alternative and sustainable form of income, that not only helps the impoverished community but helps sustain the mosaic woodlands and the open savannah.

The bees are of biological value to acacia trees as they form a symbiotic relationship, by keeping bees it would be in the interest of the community to take care of the trees as their income depends on it. An increase in bee-keeping will also result in a decrease in poaching as it provides an alternative form of income.

Poached elephant
Poached elephant
A poached elephant discovered by village game scouts.
A poached elephant discovered by village game scouts

Should the pilot phase of the project be successful 8,000 Loiborsoit villagers will indirectly benefit from bee-keeping. The project will also result in social improvements, particularly the empowering of women, giving them the skills and confidence to build their lives.

The bee-keeping industry is profitable as the costs are relatively low. This will reduce poverty within the villages, as villagers will be able to feed their families. Bees are also able to keep large herds of elephant at bay – elephants tend to avoid bees therefore protecting the villagers substance farmers from crop raids.

Equipment needed:

The bee-keeping project currently does not have any financial aid, equipment or beehives. The Loiborsoit bee-keeping project has ambitious plans to one day have its own website, transport, workshop and offices. However, for now we need the essentials: wood to build the beehives; white and yellow paint (to attract bees to the hives); basic carpentry equipment to build the hives; iron buckets to carry the honey and protective bee-keeping uniforms. Any donations would be much appreciated.

If you are interested in getting involved or helping with this grassroots initiative please contact: alamnyakthaddeus@gmail.com

Beehive
An example of a beehive
Beehive
The beehive
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