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The specialist international beekeeping organisation
Two representatives of organisations working to improve livelihoods and reduce poverty in India have spent an illuminating eight weeks with Bees for Development, the international beekeeping charity based in Monmouth.
Dr Shiny Rehel works as a programme coordinator for Keystone Foundation, a non-profit organisation based in Tamil Nadu. Dhanshree Chavan is Programme Officer for a group named Under The Mango Tree, in Mumbai. Both were funded through the Commonwealth Professional Fellowship programme to visit and learn together with Bees for Development.
The pair have learned about many different ways in which people can be helped by beekeeping to become self-sufficient, and have talked about their own experiences and inspired many people, too. Not least of these is Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cornwall who was fascinated by their work, and who tasted honey they’d brought especially from India at the charity's recent Bee Garden Party in London.
Shiny and Dhanshree have engaged with people and organisations around the UK, on topics such as pollination of crops on farms, where bees are brought in to pollinate fruit to be picked at a specific time; working with people with disabilities, whose prospects in impoverished areas are limited. They have worked alongside Bees for Development staff to build their professional skills and gain new insights about how to develop effective beekeeping projects.
Shiny Rehel said: "We work to enhance the quality of life of communities depending on the native bee species of our region. This learning experience at Bees for Development will significantly contribute to sustainable development back home."
Dhanshree Chavan said: "The most interesting and compelling aspect I am enlightened about is of 'natural beekeeping'. I intend to explore more of this approach as I see a potential to scale-up and expand beekeeping further in this sustainable way in our Bees for Poverty Reduction Programme".
Dr Nicola Bradbear, founder of Bees for Development says: “It has been absolutely wonderful hosting Danshree and Shiny here with us since they arrived in May. We have learned that we share many of the same challenges in beekeeping, for example the threat of pesticides. The Fellowship programme has enriched our understanding of development in India and strengthened our relationship with our Indian partner organisations”.
The Commonwealth Professional Fellowship programme is a UK government-funded programme to support mid-career professionals from low and middle income Commonwealth countries to spend time at a UK host organisation on a programme of professional development.