In the simplest terms, bees are great for the planet.

In more complex terms, bees are great for women aspiring to rise out of poverty through vibrant businesses that are good for the planet as well.

It only makes sense that Barefoot College enterprise training programs has brought together the planet, women and bees for the benefit of all. We have begun to make the signature honey sold under the B. Barefoot brand.

With a holistic approach to Apiculture, B. Barefoot Honey engages rural women in the production of pure and natural honey. We facilitate structured and hands-on beekeeping training programs. We provide the required equipment with a built-in model and procure the extracted honey at fair market prices to sell high-end consumers.

Income rising

Three dozen women are now participants. They have a projected annual income of $437 in Zanzibar and $369 in India, helping them and their families to rise out of ultra poverty of only less a dollar a day.

Our model creates shared value by:

  1. Collaborating with committed ground partners that are trusted by the beneficiary community.
  2. Leveraging inclusive and participatory approaches to scout for, and select beneficiary groups.
  3. Providing consistent support and continued capacity building to the beneficiary.
  4. Promoting gender equity through a changed perception of gender roles and abilities.
  5. Promoting sustainable practices through environmental stewardship workshops.
  6. Building awareness of nutrition and family health.
  7. Easing income generating without compromising on women’s daily chores and family needs.

Since its inception in 2015, B. Barefoot has been operating in 3 locations–Zanzibar (Tanzania), Uttarakhand (India) and Kerala (India).

Working with the weather

As it turns out the easiest thing to find is customers for B. Barefoot Honey.  In Zanzibar, where the project began, we can’t keep up with demand. And now with manufacturing and more pilots in India, the product is drawing attention on two continents.

If only the weather would cooperate.

Unusual weather patterns present the biggest challenge to the budding honey-making project launched by Barefoot College as part of its livelihood training. Unseasonal rains in India delayed the distribution of bee boxes to beneficiaries in Kerala from June to the end of September. Similarly, at Uttarakhand, early arriving winter weather coupled with the possibility of a long winter will delayed phase 2 of the project.

Still, progress continues. The initiative is progressing well. Despite the weather, most of the bee colonies are intact. Visits were carried out at both locations in preparation for upcoming winter and safeguarding of the bee boxes.

In Rajasthan, the packaging facility is being readied, and the mandatory food license is in process.

The project has been recognized by the government bodies in Uttarakhand, the ground partner is being invited to seminars, symposiums and meetings. Various government officials have visited the ground partner to extend their support and discuss the possibility of scaling up the project. The district is extending great support towards development of the initiative as a whole.