Income from Bee-Keeping in Uganda

Sister Rita Hand feels very excited about the way the Women's Development Group at Makondo have taken to the opportunities opened up for them. It is inspiring to see how committed and creative women can be once they get started on an income-generating scheme.

The bee-keeping initiative, which is very productive, is particularly popular with local women.

Sister Rita said, "There is a good market locally for honey and of course there is also the benefit in terms of nutrition. We have helped the women to diversify the flowers in our local environment, which makes a richer harvest for the bees as well as enhancing the locality.

"When Sister Jackie returned to Uganda for her Final Vows after her mission assignment in Brazil, she brought us lots of ideas and know-how about herbal medicines. So now we have  a demonstration herb garden and provide workshops on the uses of the different herbs. The women are very enthusiastic about this. They take seedlings home and many are now growing their own plants."

Our Sisters at Makondo are also excited about the animal husbandry component of their income-generating programme. There are ground-rules to which everyone must adhere. These help group members to take responsibility. Workshops in organic farming have proved very popular, and help conserve soil fertility.

For Sister Rita, the most exciting initiative of all is the plan for the women's project to make and sell fuel-efficient cooking stoves. The local name for the stove is a jiko.

"The women collect the clay from the large ant-hills in this area. They mix it with water and then knead it together by walking on it barefoot. It is then shaped from moulds and fired in a kiln. As well as generating income for the women who started the project, they are now taking their skills to surrounding villages, showing the women there how it is done and how to build a brick stove around the jiko.

"At last we are seeing women freed from the burden of cooking the family meal on three stones. It also economizes on the amount of wood being cut down for burning."

MMM handed over our projects and left Lodwar Diocese in 2009.