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Knowledge is Strength

 

 

Greetings from Africa!

I’m Aaron Williams and I work for Universal Outreach Foundation as the beekeeper training manager and also as a beekeeping extension worker. Being with Universal Outreach means a great deal to me because of the passion I have for the work I do; most especially gives me an opportunity to share my knowledge with my fellow Liberians.

Right now I’m in Egypt participating in a project analysis course. This opportunity was made possible thanks to funding from the Egyptian government and the Universal Outreach community (thank you!). I look forward to returning home later this month so I can use my new skills to impact the lives of the Liberian people.

The project analysis course is helping me better understand the value and impact of project design. I see this being advantageous as beekeeping grows in Liberia and we look to a future where Liberia is the hub of beekeeping in West Africa. With project analysis I’ll be able to design and evaluate the best way for the Association of Beekeepers in Liberia (ABEL) to invest its time and resources. When Universal Outreach encouraged us to start this association it was because they knew that in the long term it is ABEL that will be the voice of beekeepers in the country and I want to ensure we are progressive.

Egypt has also opened my eyes to what is truly possible in the field of agriculture. Egypt is a desert country, but they are producing crops and exporting. Liberia has land that is rich in organic matter, but because of the limited knowledge of the average Liberian farmer agriculture is still at a subsistence level. In Egypt, I’ve learned ideas like grafting citruses (bees love the citrus tree flower), field layout for irrigation and the usage and preparation of organic fertilizer. These are all helpful ideas that I look forward to sharing with farmers in Liberia.

I could say so much more about my program, but I’d like to conclude by thanking the UOF family for their continuous support to the development of Liberia. Thank you for supporting the development of the honey industry over the past six years—you have done very well for us. If you came here to meet the beekeepers you would feel proud. I look forward to us working together to support small-scale farmers with the new techniques I’ve acquired in Egypt. Where there is food there is also good health and joy!

Aaron B. Williams

Courageous beekeepers get a hand up

 

A few months ago I wanted to get some fresh beekeeping photos, so I tagged along with the beekeepers while they harvested honey in Nimba County. We ended up in a village that was gifted hives from another organization, but didn’t get any beekeeping training to help guide them. I have to commend the people I met for their courage, but courage wasn’t going to translate into cash unless this group learned how to manage bees and harvest honey properly themselves.

 

 

When they asked if Universal Outreach could give them some tips, we were happy to oblige because WE CAN. This is an example of the benefits of having an extension team that travels the country ready to support beekeepers. They have the time to meet with people like this who are willing and able, and very cost effective for us to support. This kind of program flexibility in a budding honey industry is incredibly valuable as it allows us to respond to real needs in a timely manner.

 

 

One month later, two Universal Outreach beekeeping trainers hosted a workshop with this enthusiastic group to ensure their future as beekeepers. Now instead of getting crushed, bees are now being gently brushed out of the way when frames go back into the hives, instead of getting stung, beekeepers are properly dressed to protect themselves from aggressive bees, and instead of harvesting everything in the comb, honey is now selectively chosen so only the quality capped honey is harvested. This group is set up for a bright future in beekeeping and I’m glad we were able to help.

 

 

Landis Wyatt, Communications Manager for Universal Outreach

A Story From the Field

In December 2016, we asked the Universal Outreach community to give the gift of beekeeping. Three months later and the our beekeeping team was on the road to south-east Liberia to train a community to beekeep. Enjoy this story from Cecil Wilson, Universal Outreach’s Country Coordinator and head of the Beekeeping Extension Team, as he … Continue reading

Meet my neighbours

  When we moved to the Kendeja neighbourhood five years ago, I must admit I was slightly concerned about it. Up to this point we’d always lived in apartments above someone else’s house. This living arrangement instigated my habit of socializing with the household below me, but not mingling too far beyond that. Then we … Continue reading