September 2013: Education takes the Araku Pollinator Program forward

23 Sep

This month we received an educational kit from Bee for development to help us train and empower  the tribal women of the Pollinator Program. Thanks to the visual cards provided we can now help our beneficiaries understand the program easily and also organize and structure our meetings in a better.

karakaput meetin 30/08

We experimented with the educational kit in a village called Karaput. The first meeting was about the awareness on honey bees primary role. The group of 12 women gave different answers – “bees make honey which is medicinal”,” they sit on flowers and drink the juice”, but they didn’t really seem to know why bees did this. The visual cues assisted us in explaining the the role of honey bees as pollinators. At the end of the session, all the women insisted on doing a group picture with me to commemorate our first meeting!

Karakaput Members

We are also preparing for swarming season which will occur when the monsoon comes to an end and the flowers of the forest trees will begin blooming. We have started building bait hives which will hopefully attract a swarm. We’ve put some drops of lemon grass oil in all our empty hives in an attempt to attract swarms.

In the nearby village of Kodaput, we took the time to speak to elders from the community. They told us of how in these 2 last decades the lush-green forest around them has slowly disappeared. Back in the day, you couldn’t walk 2 meters without stumbling upon a beehive, the village had 6 households (they now have around 30). Trees and wild flowers were there all yearlong, to cross rivers they used the tree’s branches, It’s hard to believe that all this was just 15-20 years ago! I was really touch by their words and they helped me reinforce the need for the pollinator program in light of disappearing bee populations

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At current, it is not easy to work and travel in this region. Since the beginning of the month, region has been paralyzed by daily strikes and bandhs over the division of the state of Andhra Pradesh. Roads are blocked, public transport options are sparse and power cuts have increased due to the weekly strike of the electricity department. Due to this our work is disturbed on a daily basis and its difficult for us to reach our weekly targets. We’ve been forced to take smaller steps.

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