business and innovationeducation

Bringing hope and honey to Butaleja

Eric Mageyo Robert Green Ingersoll, an American politician alive during the civil war, once wrote, “Hope is the only bee that makes honey without flowers.” Despite being separated by over 100 years and 1000’s of kilometres of water, he and Eric Mageyo have much in common. Eric is a bee farmer working to bring hope and honey to Busoni Village in the Butaleja District of Uganda with his model bee-keeping project.

Before his project started receiving support from a little bit of HOPE, Eric was struggling to maintain his business as keeping bees requires regular apiary inspections (which cost around 200,000 shillings a year) by a technical specialist living in the nearby town of Mbale. Not only was this a costly requirement but the inspector would often delay his visits to such an extent that the honey production was severely reduced (as the combs were often damaged by pests such as lizards and rats in the interim.)

When a little bit of HOPE got on board to help fund Eric’s project through the innovation fund, it injected enough resources into his business to allow him to purchase the equipment required to carry out the inspections himself. With the money from a little bit of HOPE, Eric invested in a bee brush, a knife, a pair of protective overalls, gloves, a pair of smokers, a restrainer (net), and gumboots, all of which now allow him to maintain the safety and quality of his hives himself. This has allowed Eric greater professional independence and has also released funds which can now be fed directly back into his business.

Cleaning and maintaining the hives himself has enabled Eric to move on from the pure theoretics of bee-keeping and embrace the practical aspects also. When he last spoke with us he shared how exciting it has been to feel his business growing and moving steadily forwards. He was thrilled to share that now, his apiary is being used by the sub county as a model for many farmers and community groups who visit him regularly in order to learn from his project.

It is businesses such as Eric’s that we are committed to helping through our innovation fund (and practical support where possible) and it has been incredibly rewarding to see how his business has thrived and started to enrich the community around him. Helping entrepreneurs become independent and qualified is incredibly important to us and it’s been a joy to watch Eric’s story unfold. We would greatly value your help in funding further innovation and are hugely thankful to those of you who already contribute to changing peoples’ lives in this way.

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