Support Sustainable Livelihoods in Rural Guatemala

by Pueblo a Pueblo, Inc.
Support Sustainable Livelihoods in Rural Guatemala
Support Sustainable Livelihoods in Rural Guatemala
Support Sustainable Livelihoods in Rural Guatemala
Support Sustainable Livelihoods in Rural Guatemala
Support Sustainable Livelihoods in Rural Guatemala
Support Sustainable Livelihoods in Rural Guatemala
Support Sustainable Livelihoods in Rural Guatemala
Support Sustainable Livelihoods in Rural Guatemala
Support Sustainable Livelihoods in Rural Guatemala
Support Sustainable Livelihoods in Rural Guatemala
Support Sustainable Livelihoods in Rural Guatemala
Support Sustainable Livelihoods in Rural Guatemala
Support Sustainable Livelihoods in Rural Guatemala
Support Sustainable Livelihoods in Rural Guatemala

The last few months have been difficult for the beekeepers. In the last three months we’ve lost six hives. Three hives hive were left empty, after the bees emigrated. One hive died, and another two were destroyed in an earthquake that hit the region. This has reduced the apiary from 22 hives to 16.

The rainy season, which just ended, always brings a unique set of beekeeping challenges. The heavy rain requires a lot of upkeep to make sure that the hives remain stable and mold free.

Because temperatures in the highlands have been colder than usual, the entrances to the hives were reduced to limit the amount of cold air that enters.. This can put the hives at risk of emigration or death, and the beekeepers are responding to the threat by increasing feeding and maintenance of the hives -- in the hopes of reducing the impact.

With your Global Giving Support, we have purchased six new hives to replace the loss over the last few months. They will be installed next week to ensure that a downpour doesn’t undo our recovery efforts. We hope that these natural obstacles do not hinder the honey production.

During times of trial, like these, we are reminded of how much your generosity supports our efforts to make beekeeping an effective, sustainable way to improve the economic situations of rural coffee farmers. The farmers are determined to make the apiary thrive, and with your help -- we believe it will.  

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The last few months have been very exciting for the beekeepers! They’ve been busy bottling the honey harvest. For the group of beekeepers “Las Diez Rosas,” this was their second harvest ever. During their first year, they focused on learning methodology and how to beekeep. Their training harvest yielded 20 pounds of honey. This year, their harvest was 8.5 times more -- harvesting and bottling 170 pounds of honey!

“We’re happy that the group improved their harvest so much! It’s good to see the beekeepers’ hard work pay off and see them realize that this can be a very viable option for income diversification after the coffee harvest,” Ana Cabrera, project manager, said.

There’s little time for celebrating, though. The rainy season in Guatemala, mid-may through October, makes beekeeping a high-maintenance job. Managing the apiaries during these months includes ensuring that the apiaries receive proper airflow and have adequate sunlight to reduce the risk of fungus or pests.

The beekeeper's excitement and pride with this harvest is well earned. Learning how to not only manage and harvest honey, but also market and produce sales as a cooperative is vital to the long- term sustainability and effectiveness of this project. Your GlobalGiving donations support smallholder coffee farmers and help thembecome empowered beekeepers. Thank You!

Beekeepers bottled 170 pounds of honey
Beekeepers bottled 170 pounds of honey
The apiaries require upkeep during rainy season
The apiaries require upkeep during rainy season
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Las Diez Rosas checking on their hives
Las Diez Rosas checking on their hives

Bees are abuzz here in Guatemala. For our partner beekeeping groups, the honey harvest has been underway these last three months. Now, Aj Tikonel Kab and Las Diez Rosas, the two beekeeping groups, are bottling and processing the honey. But the honey harvest is not over -- with the rainy season, there is a new flowering of plants. So at the beginning of June, the groups will harvest honey once again. 

For Las Diez Rosas (the ten roses), our newest group of ten women, our Pueblo a Pueblo team began helping with the beekeepers’ marketing and branding in May. Working with the group, we created a new logo and label for their honey bottles, which displays ten rosas -- staying true to the meaning of their name. Las Diez Rosas will soon begin to sell their honey at markets and businesses throughout the municipality of Huehuetenango.

Once the upcoming harvest in June is over, Las Diez Rosas plans to “add more beehives to their apiaries,” Ana Cabrera, our Beekeeping Project Manager, explained. Working with Genaro Simalaj, our Beekeeping Technician, the group will eventually double the size of their apiaries. This means that the group can “produce more honey, and soon more bottles will be sold!” Ana added.

We’re excited to see the new jars of honey from Las Diez Rosas, and to see their apiary grow!

The current apiary size, before the expansion
The current apiary size, before the expansion
Las Diez Rosas collecting and processing honey
Las Diez Rosas collecting and processing honey
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Building second stories for the beehives
Building second stories for the beehives

It is honey harvest time in Guatemala! Beekeeping cooperatives in the San Lucas Toliman communities of Panimaquip, Pampojila, and Totolya have harvested three times since mid-December. These groups are phased out of Pueblo a Pueblo’s Beekeeping Project, which means that they are now independently running cooperatives and our role is to provide technical support when needed. Their honey will be sold in different restaurants and stores throughout San Lucas Toliman.

Meanwhile, the cooperative Las Diez Rosas (The Ten Roses) in Huehuetenango is entering their second year of the Beekeeping Project. Genaro, Pueblo a Pueblo’s Beekeeping Technician, traveled north to visit the cooperative and lead a workshop in the apiaries. “During the training we worked on the beehives to add a ‘second story’. This way, the bees have more space to make honey, and the cooperatives are able to harvest greater amounts,” Genaro explained.

Las Diez Rosas harvested 40-lbs in January, and they have packaged some of the honey into jars to sell to Coopesqui, a coffee cooperative in Huehuetenango. Las Diez Rosas will be harvesting again in April and May, which means more honey to sell! Through beekeeping, this cooperative of ten women is diversifying their sources of income and strengthening their economic security!

Bees are abuzz for Las Diez Rosas!
Bees are abuzz for Las Diez Rosas!
Las Diez Rosas in the apiaries
Las Diez Rosas in the apiaries
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Melipona bees
Melipona bees

Now that it’s December, our beekeepers are getting ready for the honey harvest! The Aj Tikonel Kab beekeeping cooperative will be collecting their honey later in December, while Las Diez Rosas in Huehuetenango will harvest later next year, due to climate differences.

Alongside the honey harvest prep, our Beekeeping Project team has been experimenting with a new type of bee. In Santiago Atitlan and Panabaj, our team has set up two new beehives with melipona bees, bees used by ancient Mayan beekeepers.

Although melipona bees are native to Guatemala, they are difficult to harvest, since they require more technical care than regular honey bees. However, with Pueblo a Pueblo’s bee technician Genaro, who is spearheading the new beehive experiment, our beekeeping cooperatives will soon be equipped with knowledge on how to raise these bees.

In turn, the honey produced by these bees will give our beekeepers a competitive edge in the markets, as melipona honey is a more expensive type of honey with medicinal benefits. Also, raising melipona bees helps diversify the ecosystem in Guatemala, so these bees are helping both communities and the environment!

Empowering rural Guatemalan communities through beekeeping is possible only with the support of donors like you. As we near the end of the year, Pueblo a Pueblo is counting on you to help us reach our year-end fundraising goal of $60,000. With every dollar, we can continue this cycle of change for communities in rural Guatemala. Together we can train more beekeepers, expand community apiaries, and empower more communities.

Donate today to make a difference in rural Guatemalan communities!

Genaro with the melipona hives
Genaro with the melipona hives
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Organization Information

Pueblo a Pueblo, Inc.

Location: Neenah, WI - USA
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Twitter: @Pueblo_a_Pueblo
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Boston, MA United States
$4,940 raised of $7,000 goal
 
125 donations
$2,060 to go
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