Having witnessed the success of the women’s agricultural collectives, it was only natural for Le Korsa and the inhabitants of Sinthian to look for other ways to expand the model. In 2014, Moussa Sene, the general manager of Thread, and Yaya Diallo, the agricultural coordinator at that time, envisioned beekeeping as a valuable activity in the village—both for the honey it could provide, and for the social organization it would require. They worked with the Sinthian community to form a men’s collective who would manage the project, and set aside a parcel of land near Thread as a bee sanctuary.
In 2016, the Le Korsa team was ready to receive training. Brian Harris and Habib Dieye, who had taken over as agricultural coordinator, joined three members of the men’s collective on a trip to the Gambia, where the group learned the basics of beekeeping. Upon their return to Sinthian, they constructed 20 hives and installed them in the environmental sanctuary, and waited for the bee colonies to move in.
By summer 2017, the hives were thrumming and the men’s collective harvested the first honey. At 15% water content, the honey was high-grade and perfect for packaging and sale on the local market.
Since then, Le Korsa has funded an expansion of the program. The men’s collective has doubled the amount of the hives to 40, and received further training on processing and storing honey, which will help make beekeeping a viable income-generating activity. The women in the village also received training on how to use beeswax in candles and soaps, providing them with another material to transform into saleable products. We are assisting both groups with the distribution of bee products, and funding ongoing training when necessary.