Be a Honey



Transcript of Vera Sistenich  

Be a honey. help develop sustainable beekeeping in the Congo.

HandUp Congo is asking for your help to raise money to train Congolese Pygmy beekeepers in a remote part of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Teaching sustainable methods of honey production and reforestation will help this population not only to provide nutritious honey to the fellow villagers, but also to maintain the second largest rainforest in the world. In addition, selling honey will be a source of income and a means of poverty alleviation for Pygmies in this part of the Congo.

I am an emergency medicine specialist, a Rotarian, and a hobby apiarist. My hive at my home in the seaside suburb of Coogee in Sydney, Australia is small, but very productive. Last year, I harvested over 50 kilos of honey and enough wax to make many candles. I sell the honey to raise awareness and funds for HandUp Congo's emergency medicine project.

Recently, when I was in the DLC with HandUp Congo, I came across Congo's beekeeping headquarters in a place called Boko, entirely by chance. I was traveling with my team from Kinshasa to a hospital in a place called Kimpese, when we literally stumbled upon the only cooperative of beekeepers in the entire country.

We stopped to take a closer look, and this was when this project was born. I immediately saw the possibilities of how this comprehensive training center ‑‑‑ set up by Congolese with the help of the Belgian NGO some years ago ‑‑ could benefit one of Congo's least resourced provinces called Équateur.

I trained doctors and nurses in Équateur in August 2015. I had seen for myself how this remote, forested area is being rapidly depleted, as people, displaced by conflict, cut down trees for shelter and cooking fuel. This degradation is impacting one of Congo's most marginalized populations, the Pygmies, who are forest dwellers and also traditional beekeepers.

HandUp Congo has already supported two Congolese community development leaders to attend the cooperative in Boko to learn how a beekeeping and reforestation initiative may be established in Équateur.

What is needed

$10,000 is what is needed to help the Pygmy community there get this project off the ground. This would pay for their training and the purchasing of supplies for them to make their own bee suits, hives, frames, and smokers, and to establish their own honey label to sell products locally and beyond.

Your donation will help a Pygmy community learn best practice in caring for bees, maintaining hives, planting fruit trees and other plants attractive to bees, and combating the effects of deforestation, whilst providing themselves with a sustainable source of income.

Australians can receive tax deductibility by donating online to Rotary Australia World Community Service.


Even if you're not an Aussie, you can still donate online at this site. Thank you very much for your support.