It’s been a while since we last updated you on George’s Beekeeping and Borehole project in Ntcheu, Malawi so here goes…

Beekeeping:

There are 9 beekeeping clubs of 15 members each who have been mobilised by George (approximately 135 people). We’re pleased to report that 6 of the 9 clubs have now completed the first stage of beekeeping training. Emmanuel Chawinga, our expert beekeeping trainer & project manager has trained the groups on beehive construction and the steps to colonisation (when the bees enter the hive). 

Sustainably sourced wooden planks have been sourced for each club to build 5 hives per club as an initial start. The local carpenters have now been trained and the club members also have all the measurements for the beehives so that they can make them independently. Once the hives have all been fully colonised by bees, the clubs will receive 3 bee suits, 3 pairs of welly boots, 3 pairs of gloves and 1 smoker per club for Phase 2 of training; Colony Management.

Amazingly some of the beekeeping clubs have reported that a few of the hives have already been colonised by bees, despite this usually taking 2-4 months, it only took a week! This is a great sign for the number of bees in the area. 

There have been some great success stories already as part of this project; one club which isn’t due to receive training until the new year have already made traditional beehives from terracotta pots – these pots have already been colonised and this group will be able to sell their swarms to other club members! These small financial transactions will help the local economy and help prove to members that beekeeping is a financial viable tool.

George is personally receiving enough planks for him to build 7 more hives (on top of the club hives) to add to his original 3 hives. He’s very happy about hitting his target of 10 hives this year. 

The rains are now here and the communities are focusing their efforts on their farms. We will pick up with the next stage of training (colony management) when the rains have died down and the hives have all been colonised, probably in the new year.

Borehole:

We have had fantastic news about the borehole yesterday – the borehole drillers have found a great source of water 54m down under the ground of George’s land. The whole community were dancing, singing and joyous while the water source was being tested and pumped constantly for 4 hours to ensure that the supply of water will be efficient. This wasn’t an easy ride, another company came to survey and drill and they drilled down to 40m to find dry rock so we have had to change drilling companies to ensure the success of the project. We are now in the process of deciding whether the borehole will have a hand pump or a solar pump to get the water from underground to the surface. 

All in all, the community and George are thrilled with the progress and they can already see the tangible differences to their lives. We will update you as we go and thank you all once again for your support.

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