Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon

by OnePlanet
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Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon
Studying Stingless Bee Anatomy
Studying Stingless Bee Anatomy

The Maijuna Stingless Beekeeping School is growing in exciting directions! Our most advanced students started their journey toward becoming beekeeping educators themselves during the very first educator workshop this May!

As neighbors in Maijuna communities and beyond observe the success of stingless beekeeping and want to learn sustainable management, the demand for training and technical support has rapidly expanded. Seasoned Maijuna beekeepers are up to the task! Eager to share their expertise, nine beekeepers convened for the first in a series of trainings focused on honing effective educational practices. This star cohort manages over 120 colonies and boasts extensive experience and dedication to the trade.

During the workshop, beekeepers spoke of being energized to share their knowledge with family and neighbors. Several educators-in-training mentioned their conviction that beekeeping is important for children to learn as it will be an economic resource and cultural practice long into the future. Another beekeeper confided that he is motivated to teach because he has developed a deep affection for the bees and it pains him that many people needlessly destroy wild colonies for their honey. He hopes to share his knowledge of sustainable management and to inspire the same awe and esteem for the bees that he feels.

Beekeepers practiced public speaking, effective teaching methods, and how to curate a dynamic and supportive learning environment. In addition to pedagogy, participants deepened their knowledge of bee anatomy and life history. We are thrilled that our beekeepers continue to have deep curiosity about bees while being determined to be “generous with their knowledge,” as one mother and beekeeper put it. Thanks to your generosity, beekeepers and future educators have taken this exciting first step. We are eager to share updates as Maijuna beekeeping educators progress!

Hygienically Extracting Honey
Hygienically Extracting Honey
Learning Stingless Bee Anatomy
Learning Stingless Bee Anatomy
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Beekeeper working her hives. Photo by E. Redondo.
Beekeeper working her hives. Photo by E. Redondo.

Thanks to your very generous financial support we were able to successfully deploy our COVID relief, prevention, and vaccination campaign and we are now able to safely resume working with stingless beekeepers in the Maijuna communities! During the last few months, the OnePlanet team and Maijuna beekeepers visited their hives to assess and evaluate their strength and activity. Having endured the pandemic so far, it was time to take a critical look at the bees and take stock. Along with some important lessons learned that will inform our future work, what our team found was that the Maijuna value beekeeping now more than ever and that this year’s harvest has already earned thousands of dollars for Maijuna families!

Despite the challenges of market disruption caused by the pandemic, beekeepers worked to maintain their hives, recognizing their future value to their families. We reviewed hundreds of thriving colonies with golden honey spilling over the edges of their pots; beekeepers were thrilled by the harvest and delighted at their healthy bees. Beekeeping is now an activity that they enthusiastically recommend to their family and friends as a means of earning reliable, sustainable income. For us, this is among the most meaningful indicators that this is a promising investment. The beekeepers we work with look to the bees with hope for their future even in some of the darkest times in memory. We connected with community members who are newly interested in beekeeping after witnessing their neighbors’ success. Experienced Maijuna beekeepers are eager to step into the role as educators to share their knowledge with others. The Maijuna are also excited to advance in their practices and strengthen market connections with support from the OnePlanet team. Onward!

Mid-way through the harvest season, the Maijuna have achieved their most productive honey harvest yet earning over 11,000 soles ($3,000 USD) in honey sales despite the monumental setbacks over the past couple of years presented by the ongoing pandemic. The honey harvest has brought much needed income to Maijuna families just as the Peruvian school year begins and as they continue facing the health and economic instability of the ongoing pandemic.

Your generous donations are truly making a difference in the lives and livelihoods of the Maijuna today and in the future. The Maijuna are earning sustainable income that is helping to support their families as they conserve their ancestral rainforests for future generations.

Thanks again for all your support – stay safe and healthy!

Harvesting honey pots. Photo by E. Redondo.
Harvesting honey pots. Photo by E. Redondo.
Husband and wife beekeeping. Photo by E. Redondo.
Husband and wife beekeeping. Photo by E. Redondo.
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Maijuna Woman Being Vaccinated
Maijuna Woman Being Vaccinated

We have some very exciting news to share about the Maijuna indigenous group of the Peruvian Amazon. After a lot of hard work by the Maijuna federation, the OnePlanet team in Peru, and other allies on-the-ground, individuals in all four of the Maijuna communities have now been vaccinated against COVID-19! In fact, the Maijuna are one of the first indigenous groups vaccinated in the Peruvian Amazon, which is a testament to all the hard work that was put into this effort.

Some details about how we got here: Since the onset of the global pandemic, COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on indigenous peoples throughout the Amazon. When the pandemic first struck Peru, we shifted our organizational mission and workplan to focus on pandemic prevention and relief and provided several rounds of support to the Maijuna. This included lifesaving medicines, personal protective equipment (PPE), educational materials, food, and essential supplies. This phase of our work was supported by very generous donations by the Grand Circle Foundation, Elizabeth Wakeman Henderson Charitable Foundation, Morpho Institute, and individual donors like you.

More recently, we have focused our efforts on supporting the Maijuna federation in their quest to vaccinate their community members from COVID-19 to help alleviate the danger and suffering experienced during this global pandemic. This included working closely with not only the Maijuna federation but the regional indigenous federation (ORPIO) and the Peruvian ministries of culture and health. We provided key organizational and financial support to 1) bring Maijuna leaders to the city of Iquitos (the capital of this region) to advocate on behalf of their communities, 2) conduct a vaccine education and consent campaign in the Maijuna communities, and 3) carryout a comprehensive vaccination drive. This phase of our work was supported by very generous donations from the Independent Presbyterian Church Foundation (IPCF) and individuals like you.

What this all means for our community-based work with the Maijuna: Now that eligible Maijuna community members (and the OnePlanet team) have been vaccinated, we can now begin to ramp up our work more safely in the Maijuna communities. As I write this, our team is on their way to Maijuna lands to continue work on our community-based stingless beekeeping project and to buy honey from Maijuna beekeepers providing them with much needed sustainable income.

While more work will need to be done in the Maijuna communities once vaccines are open to Maijuna children, let’s collectively celebrate the milestone and successes achieved. No Maijuna individuals have perished from COVID-19 to date, which is a testament to the success of the prevention and relief efforts that we have implemented together with the Maijuna and other allies.

We will continue to keep you updated on our work with the Maijuna in the coming months. Thank you in advance for your ongoing interest and support.

Thanks, and stay safe and healthy!

Healthcare Workers Processing Maijuna Vaccinations
Healthcare Workers Processing Maijuna Vaccinations
Maijuna Lands. Photo by B. Griffiths.
Maijuna Lands. Photo by B. Griffiths.
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Part of COVID-19 Supplies for Maijuna Communities
Part of COVID-19 Supplies for Maijuna Communities

As we reach the mid-way point of 2021, we here at OnePlanet have been hard at work helping to support and empower the Maijuna indigenous group of the Peruvian Amazon in their push for more sustainable and healthy communities. Although the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to make our work challenging, some recent highlights include:

1. COVID-19 Support: Since the onset of COVID-19, we have had to constantly shift and adapt our organizational mission and workplan. In 2020, we shifted our focus to pandemic prevention and relief and since then we have provided several rounds of support to the Maijuna communities. The latest round of direct support provided to the communities was in March, when this part of the Peruvian Amazon was in the grips of a crushing second wave of COVID-19 infections. This included sending the Maijuna lifesaving medicines, medical supplies, and personal protective equipment (PPE) for use in their communities. More recently, we have been helping to support the work of ORPIO (the regional indigenous federation) as well as the Ministries of Culture and Health in the development of plans to vaccinate indigenous peoples in the region. We are fully committed to supporting this historic process in whatever way possible, given how critical it is to the health and wellbeing of the Maijuna and other vulnerable indigenous groups of the Peruvian Amazon.

2. Stingless Beekeeping Project: The average Maijuna family survives on less than $2 per day and our community-based stingless beekeeping project is helping to boost their income and quality of life in an environmentally and socially responsible way. Pre-COVID, Maijuna beekeepers were selling honey at a premium price to visitors of a nearby ecotourism lodge. Since the start of the pandemic, this ecotourism lodge has been shut down resulting in a loss of market access and declining sales for the Maijuna beekeepers. To help mitigate these losses, our team has been working on developing a new business plan to reflect the reality that we are living in. A focus of this work is opening up new markets at premium pricing for the sale of Maijuna stingless bee honey in the city of Iquitos. This work is ongoing but we are happy to report that we are making solid progress.

3. Maijuna Federation Support: We have continued to provide critical financial and organizational support to help empower the Maijuna indigenous federation in their fight for the conservation of their ancestral lands, cultural survival, and the health and well-being of their communities. Over the past several months, this has included providing technical assistance and expertise to the Maijuna as they interfaced with governmental and non-governmental organizations, among many other things. Currently, we are also helping them to safely plan a meeting of their federation board of directors. This multi-day meeting will open a crucial space for their federation leaders to plan, coordinate, and carry out actions related to the protection of their ancestral lands as well as the health and wellbeing of their communities.

We are more committed than ever to help support and empower the Maijuna in their fight to protect their ancestral lands, communities, and traditional culture for future generations. We will keep you updated on our work with the Maijuna in the coming months. Thank you in advance for your ongoing interest and support.

Thanks, and stay safe and healthy!

Extracting Stingless Bee Honey
Extracting Stingless Bee Honey
Stingless Beehive & Honey
Stingless Beehive & Honey
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Maijuna child in Sucusari. Photo by W. Martinez.
Maijuna child in Sucusari. Photo by W. Martinez.

As 2021 gets off and running, we here at OnePlanet would like to sincerely thank all of our supporters on GlobalGiving. After having our 2020 work plan unexpectedly derailed by the global pandemic, your generous donations helped us to adjust, adapt, and persevere. Thank you!

Highlights of what we safely accomplished together in the Peruvian Amazon with the Maijuna indigenous group in 2020 include:

- Pandemic Prevention and Relief Efforts: We provided lifesaving medicines, personal protective equipment (PPE), educational materials, food, and essential supplies to 175 Maijuna families to help them weather the beginning of the pandemic when things were especially dangerous, precarious and unknown. No Maijuna individuals have perished from COVID-19 to date, which is a testament to the success of the prevention and relief efforts that we implemented together with the Maijuna.

- Maijuna Federation Support: We provided critical financial and organizational support to help empower the Maijuna indigenous federation in their fight for the conservation of their ancestral lands, cultural survival, and the health and well-being of their communities. This included providing technical assistance and expertise to the Maijuna as they interfaced with governmental and non-governmental organizations, among many other things.

- Stingless Beekeeping Project: The average Maijuna family survives on less than $2 per day and our community-based stingless beekeeping project is helping to boost their income and quality of life in an environmentally and socially responsible way. After being forced to completely shut down our work in the communities for several months, we were able to safely restart this project toward the end of the year, which we couldn’t be more excited about.

We are looking to build on this work and momentum as we enter 2021. OnePlanet is more committed than ever to help support and empower the Maijuna in their fight to protect their ancestral lands, communities, and traditional culture for future generations. We will keep you updated on our work with the Maijuna in the coming months. Thank you in advance for your ongoing interest and support. All donations, big and small, make a real and tangible difference to the health and well-being of the Maijuna.

Thanks, and stay safe and healthy!

Maijuna ancestral lands. Photo by B. Griffiths.
Maijuna ancestral lands. Photo by B. Griffiths.
Honey extraction. Photo by B. Griffiths.
Honey extraction. Photo by B. Griffiths.
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OnePlanet

Location: Burke, VA - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Michael Gilmore
President, OnePlanet
Burke, VA United States
$18,228 raised of $35,000 goal
 
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