As a Peace Corps Response Beekeeping Specialist, in 2015, Ellen provided technical support for a beekeeping project through collaboration between the United States Peace Corps and the United Nations Development Program.
The community-managed primary forest conservation project, was designed to promote beekeeping-related income generating activities for households in thirteen communities, as well as promote the protection and conservation of ecosystem, namely the Karthala Forest. Participant motivations included income generation, enhanced pollination, environmental protection, and curiosity.
The video about the beekeeping project, created by the UNDP Communications Director can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZum-nKbGI0
There were two primary results of this project. First, Ellen directly trained six people in French who then trained fifty additional people in the local language. Second, she worked with United Nations Volunteers to organize a national beekeeping conference and exposition for all the new beekeepers to meet each other, exchange ideas, and raise awareness among the general population of the blossoming beekeeping industry. This was the first national beekeeping fair in Moroni, Comoros.
In addition to directly teaching participants, Ellen reached out to share the work with others. She presented the project at an international beekeeping conference, Apimondia, in South Korea in September 2015, where she explained how she introduced beekeeping to the islands of Comoros and put an image of Comoros into the minds of beekeepers and researchers around the world.
The project laid the foundation for the newly emerging beekeeping industry in Comoros. Prior to this project, there were no known managed beehives on the island of Grand Comores, and no Comorian had ever looked at the inside of a beehive without destroying it. All honey was harvested by ripping open beehives in the wild, which resulted in hive destruction, personal safety risks, and poor quality honey. In the long-term, she anticipates slowed deforestation rates and alleviated poverty in the beekeepers’ families.
Comoros is tranquility at its finest. The people are friendly, the scenery is beautiful, and everyone is excited to welcome Peace Corps back to the country after a 20+ year hiatus.
The content of this website is mine alone and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. government, the Peace Corps, or the government of the Union of the Comoros.