The Women Empowerment through Honey Bee Farming Project was initiated in 2007 to empower women in the Northern areas of Pakistan by expanding home-based entrepreneurship opportunities for them. The rationale for choosing honey bee farming was that it was already being practiced in the area, albeit on small scale without ample marketing opportunities. Further, the area affords an abundance of flora which is used by bees for production of honey. Our field teams conducted extensive consultations with the local communities, especially women, and they welcomed the initiative.
The project addresses the discrepancy between the income earned by male and female beekeepers by educating women in beekeeping and linking them to profitable markets. Furthermore, the project improves the status of women in their communities, as they become more integrated in the decision- making process within male-dominated societies.
The project is based on a system of social barter, designed to promote social change. HF agrees to buy the women beekeepers’ honey and successfully links them to the lucrative markets in Pakistan, provided that the families agree to send their children to quality schools, have regular health check-ups and improve nutrition at home. The buying price is negotiated with the producers each year and it takes into consideration factors like opportunity cost, bulk-purchase, packaging cost and final sale price. The honey buyers include PIA, Serena Hotels, Supermarkets, PC Hotels and Marriott Hotels.
The project has allowed its beneficiaries to increase their income, hence, bringing a positive change in their standard and quality of life.
The project has served as a sustainable social-business model which uses a multi-sector approach and promotes women as the means of their own economies. Women that participated in the project have gone on to hold key leadership positions within the local Honey Bee Associations. They say that now they feel more socially integrated in a male-dominated enterprise, primarily because the project addressed the discrepancy between male and female beekeepers.
The project has served to bring about considerable improvement in the socio-economic status of the local communities, particularly women. The following are a few indicators of the same:
|Around 30% beneficiaries have expanded their honey bee farming business.|
|More than a 1000 children (600 boys & 400 girls) are attending school as a result of this project. Bee keepers are spending 60% of their income from honey bee farming on education of their children, 10% on better nutrition for their families and 30% on healthcare expenses.|
|Hashoo Foundation has facilitated the beneficiaries by selling 31,000 kilograms of honey produced by them between 2007-2011|
|There has been a 32% income increase in an average household as a result of the sale of honey|
|With the intervention of HF, the production of honey has increased from 16 to 18 kg. per hive|
|80% of the honey producers are associated with the Northern Areas Honey Bee Keepers Welfare Association (NAHBKWA) and President of the association is women.|
|So far HF has trained 642 beekeepers in bee keeping in Gilgit-Baltistan and KPK.|
|642 are direct beneficiaries (honey producers) and approximately 5000 plus dependents are benefiting from honey project.|