Thursday, March 17, 2016

WHEN THE STUDENTS BECOME THE TEACHERS: Sweet golden honey helps communities and mangroves!

By Manon Whittaker, MAP Asia Intern


The successful honey project which started in Nai Nang, in Krabi province in Thailand has now expanded to Ta-Sanook, Phang-Nga province. 
Read this inspiring story about mangrove restoration, livelihoods and knowledge transfer between communities!

MAP meeting with Ta-Sanook villagers to kick off the DAIMLER project


How it started

The project started several years ago in Nai Nang when MAP implemented a mangrove restoration site with the support of the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) funding and through Global Nature Fund’s administered project entitled “Mangrove Restoration and Reforestation in Asia, a Project for Knowledge Exchange and Action to Protect Climate change, Forest and Biodiversity”. In order to secure the long-term protection of the restoration efforts MAP decided to help the  community develop their apiculture activity as an alternative livelihood.  The wonderful part is that honey is partly produced from mangrove flowers . Nai Nang villagers had already been involved in apiculture for some time but MAP helped provide material, technical training, develop labels, marketing and equipment support to take this project to the next level. Today, the village has more than 200 beehives and produced 270 kilos of honey last year.


Honey partly produced from mangrove flowers by Nai-Nang village


Passing on the torch

At the beginning of this year, another MAP restoration site, funded by DAIMLER AG’s, the “Mangrove Conservation in Asia” project also managed by GNF in Ta-Sanook village in Phang-Nga showed keen interest to develop apiculture as an alternative livelihood. Ta-Sanook village is a relatively close to Nai-Nang village, hence it became evident that something exciting could begin here. The knowledge gathered by locals from Nai-Nang village from several years of producing honey products could be shared directly to Ta-Sanook villagers. And this is what is currently taking place.

Early March 2016, 16 villagers from Ta-Sanook undertook a day long training under the supervision of the experienced leaders from Nai-Nang village. They demonstrated bee-keeping technics, shared beehive construction methods and gave important recommendations for producing honey. In addition, a second training session has been planned for the women of Nai Nang to teach their sisters at Ta Sanook the craft of making value added products such as shampoo, conditioner and hand soap.  

This form of knowledge transfer is extremely thrilling and promising for community empowerment in the future.

Knowledge transfer between Nai-Nang and Ta-Sanook villagers


What’s next?

The story doesn’t end here. Ta-Sanook is only at the beginning of the journey. The next step is building the wooden bee-boxes so that wild bees (Apis Cerena) can colonize. The wood working tools, will be provided by MAP throughout the project, however, the community has been encouraged to use recycled wood for the construction of the hives because the bees only require a dry clean home, nothing fancy.  The aim is that the twinned communities are able to support each other in their apiculture  enterprise.

As part of the project, the village is also constructing a 70 m Mangrove Interpretative Nature Trail which  will be a great asset for the Environmental Education program which will take place in the local school.

So these projects are allowing the transfer of local knowledge between communities but also to future generations, not bad yeah?!

Make sure you follow each stage of the project on the MAP Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MangroveAction/?fref=ts

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