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Isle of Man supporter Harry Owen

Beekeeping in Burundi

Manx expertise is building a new livelihood in African communities.


We're on a beekeeping mission! The Isle of Man is helping to train African farmers in modern beekeeping methods, so they can build a new livelihood for themselves.

Burundi is one of the world’s poorest countries. After a civil war that lasted over a decade, communities are still rebuilding their lives.
Our project combines new expertise with traditional skills, to create a sustainable source of income and bring social groups together.

How does beekeeping help?

Beekeeping in Burundi has been practised for generations, but using very simple methods. Improving beekeeping skills is important because:

  • it generates income, which helps families to access services like healthcare and education
  • honey and other hive products have great medicinal value
  • bees improve pollination and farmers get better crops
  • it contributes to forest conservation and shows people the link between biodiversity and sustainable livelihoods.
How will it work?

Creating and organising cooperatives will help individual farmers to pool their resources, share knowledge and market their product. It also improves agricultural outputs and secures more income for farming families.

The project includes 

  • market surveys to understand product demand and develop the cooperatives’ brand. This helps the project to provide market literacy training and improve processing techniques
  • connecting small producers to finance and organising village savings and loan schemes
  • setting up beekeeping schools and training local experts
  • encouraging communities to plant bee-friendly plants on common land
How is the Isle of Man helping?

Harry Owen is one of Man's leading bee experts. As part of a Christian Aid project, he's helping over 300 women and men from rural Burundi to develop their skills as bee-keepers. 

The Central African country has ideal conditions for beekeeping, and modern apiculture techniques could help these communities to look after their native bees. It's also an opportunity for women to learn economically important skills, develop a new food source, and build a livelihood selling honey, wax and other valuable products.


Harry will be teaching them bee-keeping skills, showing them how to make hives and honey-presses. They can even use old mosquito netting to make their own protective clothing.

"My thrust is to improve their lives", says Harry. But he's not alone - supporters from around the island have been helping too.  Hear more on this Manx Radio podcast

To download a poster to help you publicise an activity click here

We've been really excited to get behind this project and support Harry. We've shipped out around £3,000 of beekeeping equipment. We're supporting through giving, through Harry going... and there's going to be a lot of people on the island praying for Harry.

- David Roberts, President of the Isle of Man Beekeepers Federation.

For the latest information, follow the project on Facebook here.