Bees for Hope

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Bees for Hope: Advancing Local Engagement Against Poverty (A LEAP)

Bopolu, LiberiaMonrovia, Liberia
Year Founded:
2013
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Bees for Hope’s is a social entrepreneur program in rural Liberia that help local farmers generate income to alleviate poverty, and provide employment for youths.Through beekeeping, communities are empowered, crops pollinated, source of income generation and family nutritions, and health remedies.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if Bees can be use to fight poverty and save lives by empowering rural women and villages to generate income from beekeeping?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Liberia is in a continuous struggle to reduce poverty within its population, especially for youth and families in rural areas. With more than 65% (2.5 million) of the country’s population living at the national poverty line, a quality standard of living is compromised by hardship that consequently reduces the quality of life. Youth unemployment is at the highest peak. Extreme Poverty has the potential to limit human development and progress.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

In an effort to bridge this poverty gap, the idea of beekeeping came alive. Bees for Hope’s commitment is to establish a social entrepreneur program in rural Liberia to help local farmers generate income to alleviate poverty, and employment for youths. This program seeks to provide local farmers with education and material resources needed for beekeeping as well as learning how to develop a market for honey. By providing a source for rural income generation, youths and villagers can improve their health and stander of living. Early childhood development is essential for developing tomorrow's leaders that will be capable of contributing to society and through Bopolu Child Development and Care center we are developing Liberia future.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Our social programs create ripple effects in communities and schools and have long lasting effects on the lives of family members. For example, our educational and recreation social impact program at the Bopolu Children Development and Care Center will provide support for the development of healthy, strong, and happy children that will grow up with high quality education foundation, during the productive hours that their parents are engaged with the project. A sustainable environment and the promotion of the conservation of biodiversity is another trickle-down effect of this social venture. Bees pollinate a third of the world’s crops and beekeeping will help increase crop yield in villages, thus, helping reduce food insecurity.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

• ECONOMIC IMPACT: Economic empowerment, Youth Employment opportunity, Rural income generation, Natural Honey , • PUBLIC HEALTH IMPACT: Honey is a sources of nutrition and traditional healthcare remedy • EDUCATION IMPACT: Increase in percent of children and girls with higher literacy, Increase in small business and social entrepreneurial literacy, Child Nutrition promotion, • ENVIRONMENT IMPACT: Sustainable environment and promoting biodiversity conservation, Increase in crops yield, crops pollination

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

In the next 5-10 years, the project will morph into a full fledged business, offering income for farmers, employment for youths, and tons of social impact projects including providing quality primary education for 100's of vulnerable children in rural Liberia. This project has the potential to transform rural farming in Liberia. It will increase crop yield significantly, alleviate poverty and increase sustainability on agriculture as a source of livelihood. Much more importantly, the society will learn to appreciate local solution to solving problems in their communities.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

One important advantage of the Bees for Hope social impact initiative is that it is sustainable and has the ability to support itself over a long period of time. Unlike other social programs that depend fully on donations, Bees for Hope will be capable of using funds generated from its honey production to initiate social impact projects in partnership with the communities and villages where the initiative takes place.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

At this point in time no other organization is working over any of the same idea. Since the end of the 14 year civil war in Liberia, there is no organize activities of beekeeping in the country. Local farmers use the traditional methods to harvest honey. This is a new market that is opening up and there is a potential for others to join in, but what is very special about our Bees for Hope business plan is that it is a social business with social impact focus and not profit making. Appropriate beekeeping is sustainable activity, as it requires little cost inputs and little space.
Team

Founding Story

Bees for Hope is an idea that I have been thinking about since 2013, when I was selected, based on my social innovation commitment that focuses on social impact, to participate in the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) in St. Louis, USA. At the conference I made a commitment to establish a social entrepreneur program in rural Liberia to help local farmers alleviate poverty, and improve their health and quality of life, without causing harm to the environment, by becoming involved in the simple act of beekeeping. I branded my commitment Bees for Hope because many people in Liberia can be characterized as prisoners of hope as a result of a fourteen-year civil war (1990—2003) that ravaged their livelihood, a chance at a good education

Team

The management team consists of highly skilled and dedicated staff with multiple years of experience. A team of advisors complement the skills presented by the management team. The advisors consists of dedicated individuals from the following professions: education, finance, social work, NGO’s, faith based organizations and advocacy. Each advisor brings enthusiasm, a unique skill perspective and a broad network of contacts to the organization.
About You
Organization:
Bees for Hope
About You
First Name

Edmond

Last Name

Cooper

About Your Project
Organization Name

Bees for Hope

How long has your organization been operating?

Project
Organization Country

Liberia, Monrovia

Country where this project is creating social impact

Liberia, Bopolu

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Individuals, Other.

Supplemental
Awards: What awards or honors has your solution received, if any?

Clinton Global Initiative University 2013- Participants

Tell us about your partnerships

I am currently partnering with the Gbonkuma Women Group in Bopolu to carry out the initial phase of the Beekeeping Development Initiative. The Gbonkuma Women Group work with rural women to promote community development and provide opportunities the empower rural women.

I chose to partner with this group because they are organize group and they are very interested in empowering themselves and their rural communities. This group established a day care and children development center to help provide a safe heaven for children who are vulnerable to violence in their communities. They provide primary education for vulnerable children. The group depends on volunteerism and agriculture to support the daycare. Recently, funding ran out and the group could not continue to run the daycare.

Bees for Hope is a business with a social purpose; it is a venture that applies market-based solutions for the purposes of furthering the mission of the organization, generating income and contributing to the challenge of addressing social problems that exist in Liberia. Bees for Hope has a social mission as well as an environmental mission. Our vision is to create innovations that provide opportunities that uncap the potentials for rural income generation and financial independence in rural villages and a society where children will have a chance at a good education, and the possibility of maximizing their potentials.

We are working with this group to provide the women a source of income generation and employment opportunities for youths. Profits generated from the honey production will be use to provide support for the children development center and continue to help provide a safe heaven for vulnerable children.

Challenges: What challenges might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

The major challenge that might hinder the success of the project is raising fund to start the Beekeeping development project. Recently, plans have been put in place to address this challenge. I am speaking with campus organizations and school administrators at Mercer University to establish fund raising activities that will provide funding for my project. I am 2013 graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia USA. During my time at Mercer I was involved in a lot of extra curriculum including the Senior Senator of the Student Government Association and Founder and President of the African Student Association. I can use my influence and relationship with the school to raise funding to support my project.

Funding challenge is a one time challenge. The Bees for Hope project is very sustainable and after the initial investment the project will be able to support itself.

How does your idea help young people create bright futures and improve opportunities for meaningful and long-term careers?

With more than 65% (2.6 million) of the country’s 4 million population living at the national poverty line, a quality standard of living is compromised by hardship that consequently reduces the quality of life. The only thing these 2.6 million people have is the land and themselves and unless these people can increase the productivity of this land, they are doomed.

Bees for Hope is using the land to increase productivity. As an agriculture enterprise beekeeping does not require land ownership or rental, it can be started with equipment and tools that can be sourced locally and in many instances skills and knowledge for such an enterprise are found within local traditions. As a business enterprise it offers not only diverse products, for example honey and wax among others, which can be sold in local market and internationally become an important source of regular income for farm families but can also provide complementary services such as crop pollination. Moreover bee products improve farm family nutrition and can provide for traditional health care remedies.

There is a need for a social purpose sustainable business approach in order to unleash these people from poverty and break the circle of handout and dependency.

In an effort to bridge this poverty gap, the idea of beekeeping came alive. This program seeks to provide local farmers with education and material resources needed for beekeeping as well as learning how to develop a market for honey. Selected youth organizations will be provided training through a 20% Theory and 80% Practical Approach. Following the training, these groupings will then be supplied the beekeeper starter kits and will have full access to our production facility. These youths will be independent to run their own beekeeping centers with their knowledge obtained from the training or they can work for our project and earn income.

In order for Liberia to rise from the ashes of the bloody civil conflict and maintain the fragile peace, it is uncontestable that poverty must be alleviated as a major step in the right direction. Youths have to be empower using innovation and local engagements.

Target Age Group(s): What age group(s) do(es) your solution target through it's programming?

6-12, 13-17.

Intervention Focus: Identify which of the following best explain key parts of your solution

Job Creation, Entrepreneurship, Training/Skill Development, Rural Economies.

Do you have separate programs or initiatives that target the following types of populations?

Impact - Reach: How many people did your project directly engage in programmatic activities in the last year?

Not Applicable - yet! (we are at the idea stage or start-up)

Number of People Directly Employed by Your Organization

Fewer than 10

Number of Volunteers

Fewer than 10

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below? Select a theme below that most applies to your work. If none of them do, no problem, you can skip this question.

Create New Industries: recognize opportunities in the marketplace to build new professions or new markets

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers? Select a theme below that most applies to your work. If none of them do, no problem, you can skip this question.

Lack of youth empowerment

Comments

Edmond Cooper's picture

Dear Change Makers,

Thanks for your comments and review of my projects. I appreciate your honest comments.
These are Responds to your private comments:

Q: This is a good project. please could you explain where you intend to keep bees. Is it in the natural forest? Is it on farm? or do you intend to develop apiaries. Thx
A: The bees will be kept on a farm in the natural forest. The region where the projects is taking place cover more then 40% of Liberia natural rain forest.

Q:I think this is a good idea. But my question is what mode of communication will be used for this project and how will you ensure that what the women learned are utilized? Will you also help them to get started because it is not just enough to teach but to also start and put into practice what is been taught. Thanks

A: We are communicating directly with organized women or community youth groups who are interested in beekeeping. We encourage people to get involved in beekeeping. When an organization or individual express interest in beekeeping, we provide them with intensive training on beekeeping, provide them will a beekeeping kit to start their own beekeeping, and be provide a guarantee market to buy their honey. Yes we don't only train the farmers, we also give them the materials needed to start their own beekeeping.

Q:I am excited to read about your vision to establish a bee keeping social enterprise that empowers others with livelihood and skills! I'm not sure if the establishment of one social business is exactly what this particular competition is looking for. I believe it is more focused on supporting those that are helping teach others how to set up their own businesses. Regardless, I wish you endeavor every success!

A: Beekeeping is a very rewarding business to help generate income for families. Bees for Hope trained individuals and organization on how to do beekeeping and send them out with the materials needed to start their own business. Our focus is more on people starting their own business and empowering them to make use of the opportunity of beekeeping. As an agriculture enterprise beekeeping does not require land ownership or rental, it can be started with equipment and tools that can be sourced locally and in many instances skills and knowledge for such an enterprise are found within local traditions. As a business enterprise it offers not only diverse products, for example honey and wax among others, which can be sold in local market and internationally become an important source of regular income for farm families but can also provide complementary services such as crop pollination.

MORE ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS TO COME!

Great project, what is its ability to scale to other region and also looking at market saturation will cause prices to go down. Does it match the growth of the economy and market price fluctuations.

Edmond Cooper's picture

This project is very easy to scale to other regions. All it require is the initial funding to start the project and we can use the sale from the honey to start new projects in different regions by working with youth organizations.

Markus Faigle's picture

This is a very well thought out project. The approach of partnering which an an existing women's group, that has a track record of success, is a very good choice. It is a very open secret in the development world, that working with women's groups ensures a much bigger chance for success. The fact that they already had an existing day care center makes it even more attractive, since their center needed to close due to the lack of funds.

Beekeeping requires a lot of training, because over time a lot of things can go wrong, but if it turns out well honey is a very sweet reward. The fact that bees provide crucial pollination for agriculture is a great added benefit.

Dieudonné Parfait ONANA ONANA's picture

hello I am very telling of your vision but how do you account to captivate young and how you will do for initial funding

Edmond Cooper's picture

I will captivate youths by working with community youth organizations and incorporating them into the program. I am doing person to person fund raising by talking to people i know. I have been able to raise enough funding with more favorable responses.