Beekeeping with Indigenous People in the Amazon

by OnePlanet
Play Video
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
Using Art and Science to Learn about Bees
Using Art and Science to Learn about Bees

Maijuna beekeepers are teaching the next generation the cultural importance of bees along with the honey-producing trade!

Seasoned beekeepers are growing as educators and extending their knowledge to young people for the good of the bees, Maijuna culture, and their local economy. Among the strengths of stingless beekeeping as a sustainable complement to Maijuna livelihoods are extensive, long-held cultural practices relating to the bees. Maijuna beekeeping educators have recently been focused on teaching bee ecology and the Maijuna language to youth in their communities.

Maijuna educators began challenging kids to explore the vast diversity of local stingless bees according to their respective names in the Maihiki language. Armed with bug nets and magnifying glasses, kids collected various species of stingless bees to study their anatomy. They then turned to their elders to learn about what distinguishes these bees, be it their nests, behavior, honey, or relationships with people. Beekeeping educators also explained the process of how bees gather nectar and pollen to make honey, while also drawing parallels to their own culture.

Just as bees make honey by processing and fermenting nectar from forest flowers, so too do the Maijuna gather around a favorite drink called masato. Masato is prepared through peoples’ harvest of yuca, followed by collaborative processing and fermentation, ultimately creating a drink that brings people together. Honey is the bee’s masato! Beekeeping educators explored this connection through games and play with kids who otherwise find few opportunities to learn about their cultural traditions. The beekeeping educators see this as part of the endeavor for the cultural and biological conservation of bees while sustainably selling honey.

In addition to helping kids understand the connection between stingless bees and Maijuna culture, our educators are working to strengthen kids’ leadership skills through group work and to nourish creativity, inquiry, and communication skills. Our dynamic workshops were full of educational games, art, and hands-on exploration. After collecting stingless bees, students created collages to represent the bees and presented their findings to their peers. Our work is especially powerful when we can simultaneously support leadership, cultural education, ecological exploration, and economic opportunities in one fell swoop!

Beekeeping educators are leveraging their knowledge of the native stingless bees into a celebration of Maijuna culture and as a sustainable complement to their livelihoods. Witnessing the next generation of Maijuna beekeepers get excited about bee ecology, management, and their own unique culture, signals that beekeeping will be an important part of the Maijuna economy and community for years to come. Your generous donations help us inspire and educate the youngest Maijuna abejeros. We will keep you updated on this evolving story of conservation, empowerment, and economic opportunity!

Liberato Shares his Extensive Knowledge of Bees
Liberato Shares his Extensive Knowledge of Bees
Maijuna Kids Sharing What They Learned about Bees
Maijuna Kids Sharing What They Learned about Bees
Studying the Anatomy of Native Stingless Bees
Studying the Anatomy of Native Stingless Bees
Drinking Masato
Drinking Masato
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Magnolia -- Expert Beekeeper
Magnolia -- Expert Beekeeper

Stingless bees create scent trails in the forest that lead their sisters to flowers so they can better gather nectar and feed the colony. So, too, are Maijuna stingless beekeeping educators – dubbed ‘promoters’ – showing new beekeepers the way to more hives and honey.

This May we launched promoter training with nine of our most accomplished beekeepers. During the last three months they have taken enormous strides as educators and are supporting family, neighbors, and entire communities to new levels of growth.

Within their own communities the Maijuna promoters are regularly working with beekeepers, making dozens of home visits to review progress, demonstrate new techniques, and encourage best practices that will boost this season’s sustainable honey harvest.

In Sucusari, Magnolia and Ilder hosted mini-workshops for neighbors teaching colony divisions and pest control, followed by family-level visits to support new beekeepers as they gain practice. Promoters Jermi and Duglas have been demonstrating techniques for reinforcing colonies to neighbors eager to learn from their experience. Saúl and Loida, the promoters in Nueva Vida, hosted a box-building workshop and constructed 18 new hives with locally-sourced materials. Together the couple has visited dozens of apiaries to support their community in mastering advanced husbandry techniques and boost future honey harvest. Tarkis has been making the beekeeping rounds in Puerto Huamán where she is accompanying her neighbors who are newly interested in the sustainable economic activity. Two promoters from Maijuna communities in the Napo River basin have traveled to the Putumayo to work with beekeepers in their first year of learning the trade.

The Maijuna beekeeping promoters are already sharing their knowledge beyond the reaches of their ancestral lands. A promoter has co-hosted multiday workshops with OnePlanet, the Chaikuni Institute, La Restinga, Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonía Peruana (IIAP), and Camino Verde in communities in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve and to Urarina communities along the Rio Tigre.

Just like the bees they tend, the strength of our beekeepers lies in the collective. Empowering educators based in beekeeping communities is foundational for establishing an activity that can be sustainable through space and time. The promoters are enthusiastically embracing their role in supporting the people and bees they care about. The Maijuna beekeeping promoters are eager to advance their training and are preparing to spearhead this years’ upcoming honey harvest. Thank you for your support of this cohort of beekeeping educators through this exciting chapter of our work!

Stingless Bees
Stingless Bees
Maijuna Honey
Maijuna Honey
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
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
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
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.
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
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.
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

OnePlanet

Location: Burke, VA - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Michael Gilmore
President, OnePlanet
Burke, VA United States
$18,864 raised of $35,000 goal
 
241 donations
$16,136 to go
Donate Now
lock
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

OnePlanet has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.