Since 2009, we’ve been training people in Pakistan-administered Kashmir in honey bee farming, providing tools, training, and four hives to each farmer. They have access to their trainer for as long as they need after the initial workshops – even for many years after.
To date, we’ve trained 797 farmers, 14% of whom are women. So far, 90% of our farmers have gone on to open more hives, and, two years after training with us, many farmers have 12-15 hives; after five years, many have over 40 hives.
In contrast to short-term projects that only provide immediate relief, this combination of skills and technical support provides a sustainable livelihood to entire families and communities; many farmers go on to train others in their community to begin farming bees too.
We’ve raised the profile of farming in the area by forming links with local universities, whose students are researching the local bee species.
We introduced advanced techniques to our farmers, which preserve and contribute to the environment, and also taught them to use the by-products of the process to yield even more profit.
Since the start of this project, our farmers have sold £1.5 million worth of honey. Each farmer receives comprehensive practical and theoretical training on farming equipment, hive management, the prevention of pests, opening new hives, as well as honey quality and extraction. We hire experienced local trainers who support all those they have trained for a full year, providing ongoing advice on all topics covered in training.
How much is your admin fee?
When you donate £1, just 9p goes into keeping Human Appeal running.
Another 13 pence goes back into raising funds – that allows us to be ready to raise awareness at a moment’s notice when tragedy strikes. Between 2019 and 2021, we grew our income by a huge 186%, allowing us to support an extra 2.8 million people, by raising funds through that small 13 pence.
Finally, and most importantly, 78p out of every £1 you donate goes straight to helping the most vulnerable people.
It costs £385 to train and equip one person to open a honey bee farm – and the portion of your donation that goes towards admin costs makes a huge, impactful difference in every community.
Charity is a gift, offering endless mercy to those who give, as well as mercy to the vulnerable people who receive it. Our admin fee helps us to get your donation to where you intended it. That’s why we like to think of it as the stamp on the envelope of your mercy.
How does our admin fee support this project?
The admin portion of your donation is what allows us to hire specialists in farming, bees, and farm sales, making the project sustainable and profitable for farmers. It enables us to create a project that preserves the environment by growing the bee population, which is essential to the farming of crops and food. It’s what helps us to monitor progress, continuously evaluate and learn, allowing us to improve project quality and to report all of our work back to you with transparency.
Without experienced trainers, the new farmers would not know how to manage or handle bees, which would lead to the bees migrating to other colonies within the space of just a few hours. The specialised trainers that we hire are needed to make sure that trainees are safe from bee attacks. The variety of bee that we use is wild, so no guides or manuals on their handling existed before our specialists developed them, opening up opportunity for all farmers in the region.
Our admin fee ensures that all staff are trained in safeguarding beneficiaries, and maintaining the protection of all the communities we work in. Every staff member and contractor signs a code of conduct agreeing to our rigorous safeguarding policies. It’s also what enables us to maintain a healthy gender ratio, allowing female colleagues to take lead on projects that centre women and girls, ensuring that our projects are suitable and accessible to the local community.
We’ve established a farmers’ association to empower them to coordinate with local authorities, institutes, and with us. Our feedback mechanism allows all beneficiaries to have a say and raise any complaints in a safe and dignified manner.
Our admin fee helps us to design a project that is sustainable for farmers, and for the environment they live in, lifting up entire communities. We address the cause of hardship and empower families to be resilient to it, rather than simply treating the symptoms in the short term.
Throughout our project, we’re mindful of incorporating real, sustainable change, empowered farmers, and a safe environment to build brighter futures. None of this would be possible without the expertise and safety net provided by our admin fee.
Let’s hear from Shahid, Human Appeal Livelihood Programme Manager on how our admin fee transforms the honey bee farm project in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
Shahid joined Human Appeal in 2009. He has a master’s degree in International Development, with a specialisation in the developmental sector, through which he learned about project management and sustainability.
As the Livelihood Programme Manager, it’s my responsibility to empower families with the skills, tools, and support to have a sustainable livelihood and income, so that they no longer depend on help, and can improve their lives. My team and I are involved every step of the way, from identifying which people would benefit most from which project, all the way to implementing the project, and assessing the results.
This project has revitalised lives and communities in Kashmir. After a lot of research and collaboration, our team assessed that a specific local wild bee – the Apis Cerana – would be the most appropriate bee for honey farming in this region, rather than the European bee. What started with just 10 farmers trained is now a strong, successful project, with a total of 797 farmers. After the success of our initial farmers, our experts developed training manuals – which was no simple task when this species of bee had never been farmed for honey before. This manual helped us to share knowledge and motivate other farmers. We even established a honey exhibition across the region, drawing business and success to our farmers.
After participating in our training, and expanding their farms to more and more hives, farmers we trained have been able to take on employees, build homes, buy vehicles, and send their children to university. This newfound financial stability also gives them the freedom to expand other businesses since maintain bee colonies requires only a few hours a day. Honey bee farming has been established in the region, with supplies and hives now available locally.
Our admin fee helped us to make this project even more impactful and sustainable. We hired trainers to create items from the by-products of honey farming – they have learned to make cosmetics, candles, and royal jelly. It is also helping us to work on a hive design that maintains an optimal temperature, which will help to address hive losses during the peak of summer.
Shaukat lives in Chaymati village in Pakistan-administered Kashmir with is children and father. He remembers receiving his honey bee training from Human Appeal about eight years ago, and he’s been running his hives ever since.
“It is said that you’re lucky if you get to work in a field that you love. Fortunately for me, I had the change to start bee farming, and that is now both my passion and my business.
“I got to work as soon as I had the training. My farm failed in the first year; in the second it was a bit better, and in the third year it was a success. Now I rely on it as my source of income.
“I started with four hives provided by Human Appeal, and I increased that number as demand grew. Today I have 15 hives… I will keep expanding as much as I can, I’d like to reach 50 hives in the future.
“The amount of honey you extract from each hive varies; the average is five to six kilograms per hive, but my hives usually produce eight to ten kilograms of honey. Last year, my hives produced a total of 105 kilograms.
“I’m still in touch with my trainer all these years later, and he still gives me guidance.
“When this project started, people didn’t know much about bees. We used to get calls from people asking us to capture a bee they spotted, worried it would sting their children. Now, every home has three or four colonies which they harvest themselves.
“Today my income is more than in previous jobs. I’ve been able to save to open a shop with some money I saved. To this day, I have earned around 2 million rupees (£8,000) from honey bee farming.
“I also help 30 to 35 other people in my local area to harvest their honey – I must have helped them to harvest around 200 kilograms.
“To anyone who donated to this project, my message is that there are a lot of people like me, who had little to no income and are now in a better position [thanks to this project]. To this work should continue so that more people can do this work too, because there’s a lot of unemployment, poverty and inflation. It’s good work and it should continue.”