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BeekeepingHoney continues to be a popular commodity across the globe, and poor rural farmers throughout Africa are beginning to take up the practice of beekeeping to earn money.

In Kenya, a large portion of those living in poverty reside in rural regions, as large cities such as Nairobi are beginning to prosper. Bees, and the delicious nectar that they produce, are starting to be viewed as a viable business enterprise for farmers living in the Kenyan countryside.

According to CapX, “More than 90 percent of honey in Kenyan supermarkets is imported,” which gives local farmers the opportunity to enter a practically untouched market.

However, the practice of beekeeping in Kenya has typically been popular among the elderly community, who yield small quantities of honey from hives made out of wooden logs.

To combat this trend, CapX reports, “Charities like Christian Aid are working to develop honey hubs in Kenya.” These hubs will provide education, training, modern equipment, storage and industry connections in an effort to promote the business of beekeeping and help prove that bees can end poverty for these farmers.

A similar strategy is taking hold in Tunisia, where the project TuniBee is beginning to empower local beekeepers. Students who attend the Mediterranean School of Business in Tunis, the capitol of Tunisia, began the initiative at the suggestion of Noomen Lahimer, their professor of economics and entrepreneurship.

According to BBC, “People who already keep bees to supplement the income they get from their day jobs are selected from deprived areas of the country” to work with TuniBee.

Beekeepers who participate in the program are given extra beehives that are purchased by the sponsors of TuniBee. On top of this, Khaled Bouchoucha, a beehive entrepreneur, and Hidhli Naoufel, a veterinarian, provide high-end beehives and expertise on the handling of bees to the participants.

The greatest upside to the promotion of beekeeping in Africa is the worldwide interest in the delicious golden syrup.

CapX reported, “Honey is a treasured substance among many Muslim communities.” Honey holds special significance in Islam, and countries like the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are willing to spend a lot of money if the honey is of a high quality.

In Tunisia, TuniBee has intrigued large corporations such as Total, Shell and Microsoft, that they hope will eventually act as corporate sponsors. Additionally, TuniBee has already secured one U.S. company that would like to import their honey.

The ever-growing popularity of this up-and-coming industry has led many to believe that bees can help end poverty for rural farmers across Africa.

Liam Travers

Photo: Pixabay

haiti

On July 28 and 29, Chelsea Clinton, the Clinton Foundation Vice Chair, visited Clinton Foundation-funded Haitian projects in Port-au-Prince to oversee agricultural improvement, health reform and female employment progress.

The Clinton Foundation’s slogan is “Partners in Haiti’s Future,” and the organization has definitely created many opportunities for the country to flourish in the present. The work of the foundation and its supporters has aided more than 85,000 farmers with new agriculture techniques. In addition, more than 350,000 people’s lives were bettered because of the organization’s social enterprises, and 9.9 million people have access to HIV/AIDS medication.

In total, the Clinton Foundation has helped raise more than $30 million for Haiti for its Trees of Hope program, Clinton Climate Initiative, Chakipi Acceso Distribution Enterprise, the Clinton Health Access Initiative and more.

Clinton visited Haiti to supervise the projects as well as inspire those who are being helped by the foundation. Clinton observed local artisans, posting an Instagram picture of herself holding a locally crafted doll with the caption “#ActionIsGreater through partnership and collaboration.”

This photo practices some of the Clinton Foundation’s guiding principles: “We’re all in this together,” and “The greatest good is helping people live their best life story.”

To further acknowledge these principles, Clinton hosted a meeting with the Clinton Foundation President, Donna Shalala, where the two discussed women’s success in the Haitian workplace and ways to create more opportunities for female employment.

Clinton said the implementation of new programs for the betterment of Haiti’s female youth is crucial to female empowerment and achievement.

“We need programs… to help close the gap, so that girls and young women who haven’t had the chance to get educated don’t live with the burden of illiteracy their whole lives,” she said.

During her stay, Clinton made it a point to visit a local female-owned businesses to show support for successful female entrepreneurship. The business, Caribbean Craft, is supported by the Clinton Foundation where products are crafted and later sold in popular U.S. stores like Anthropologie and HomeGoods.

In support of other projects, Clinton visited the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership’s (CGEP) Acceso-Haiti depot. There, local farmers can store their peanuts for safe-keeping. The depot also serves to empower local farmers.

“Across Haiti, CGEP is helping more than 1,500 local smallholder farmers increase their peanut yields dramatically and better sort and store their peanuts,” Clinton said.

Because of depots like this, the Clinton Foundation has helped Haitian farmers grow higher yields of crop and improve market access. In turn, the organization’s help with agriculture creates greater opportunities for a healthy lifestyle.

To check up on the Foundation’s projects for better health in Haiti, Clinton visited Partners in Health’s Mirebalais Hospital. This hospital is the country’s top educational hospital because of the influence of one of the Clinton Foundation’s supporters, Paul Farmer.

Because of his commitment, Clinton said that the hospital employees were just as good as health workers in any developed country.

After leaving the hospital, Clinton said she took time to reflect on stories about the projects created by the Clinton Foundation in her heart. She said she feels confident that Haiti’s future is bright.

“I left with an even stronger belief in what’s possible in Haiti,” Clinton said.

The Clinton Foundation has many projects that have greatly benefited the people of Haiti, and the organization is continually editing and drafting plans to implement for the persistent improvement of the Caribbean country.

Fallon Lineberger

Sources: ABC News, Caribbean Journal, Clinton Foundation 1, Clinton Foundation 2, Vogue
Photo: Jakarta Post

local-farmers
Springtime is often seen as a time for renewal and change; the weather is warming up and activities are gravitating towards the outdoors. Here are 5 great spring changes you can make for better health and also help to benefit the globe.

Eat Fresh Foods from Local Farmers

I am sure you’ve heard it before, but buying foods from local farmers is an effective and beneficial way to stay healthy, keep the world green, and support your local economy. Farmers markets usually sell food within a day or two of being harvested so it will be fresh and still nutrient-rich.

Foods that are shipped to supermarkets are often on trucks for at least a week, losing freshness and nutrients that are vital in vegetables and fruits. Without the long distances traveling to deliver foods, local farmers are also selling better food for you without wasting gas and polluting the air.

Visiting farmers markets is fun, and they also provide local farmers with jobs, support, and a source of income. “When farmers sell directly to the consumer, the middleman is cut out thus producing a higher profit for the farmer. The farmer then circulates his profits throughout the community with local merchants creating a cycle that helps to build a strong local economy.”

Communities Grow by Donating Outgrown Clothes

Donating clothing is an easy way to give back to the community and make use of clothing that either you or your kids have outgrown. The springtime is one of the best times to donate clothes and to check out stores such as Savers and the Salvation Army in the US, and Goodwill worldwide; the weather is getting nicer, people are breaking out shorts, and more people are trying to get into shape.

Thrift stores sell gently-worn clothing at affordable prices, and many stores accept not just clothing, but other household items like glassware, shoes, books, and jewelry. Some thrift stores, such as Savers, give nonprofit partners money to help pay for their programs and allow communities the chance to buy cared-for clothing at minimum price.

Go Green to Help Your Greens Grow

When the weather becomes prime gardening weather, pesticides are an easy crutch to lean on to help plants grow. It is not a secret that the use of pesticides is directly correlated with health problems globally. Specifically in under-developed countries, pesticides are often used because farmers are unable to afford health-conscious pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides.

Chemicals in these products are more likely to harm children than adults. Since children are often playing outside, they are more prone to exposure for long periods of time, and they are more likely to bring home chemicals to other members of their families.

In the U.S., pesticides are commonly used in amounts too low to cause severe reactions, but this isn’t to say they do not have negative health effects. Depending on the chemicals being used, the toxins may irritate the nervous and endocrine system, eyesight and skin.

Toss Away the Chemicals in Cleaning Products

Like pesticides, chemicals in house cleaning products are not always as clean for the environment or your body. We are often looking for convenient, easy to use, and inexpensive products, but convenience does not necessarily mean it will be healthy in the long run.

By eliminating exposure to harmful toxins in cleaning products, your body will thank you and benefit over time. Cleaning products often contain chemicals that are bioaccumulative, so after frequent exposure they can add up to deadly levels, even if they are not orally ingested.

Since springtime is a common time for household cleaning and starting fresh, what better time is there to also flush out those common toxins from under your sink?

Take Advantage of Warm Weather

The body is able to synthesize vitamin D from the sun, and springtime has perfect weather to spend outdoors in order to meet your daily vitamin D intake. Scientists recommend spending 10-15 minutes in direct sunlight, which is usually enough for a fair skinned individual to received the recommended dosage of vitamin D from ultraviolet rays.

For a darker skinned individual, it is more difficult to generate vitamin D from the sun and it may require a longer period of time in direct sunlight. This is caused by a higher level of melanin in the skin, which blocks the skin from ultraviolet rays, meaning that darker skinned individuals have a higher rate of vitamin D deficiency than lighter skinned individuals.

Often, even the lowest amount of SPF blocks 95% of ultraviolet rays from penetrating the skin, and this is usually the cause of people not receiving the recommended amount of vitamin D during the spring and summer time.

So doctors recommend taking at least 10 minutes before applying sunscreen in order to meet your vitamin D needs, and if this is not possible, consider asking your doctor about a supplement or look towards healthy fatty fish like salmon, or fortified milks and orange juices.

Vitamin D deficiencies contribute to osteoporosis, rickets, and osteomalacia, but some light outside activities can help fight these deficiencies.

These simple steps can make an incredibly big difference on your body and the world. By doing something as easy as eating locally and giving locally, we are able to help maintain and create a cyclical community based on healthy habits.

– Rebecca Felcon

Sources: Farmers Market Authority, Savers, Global Medicine, Green Clean Certified, Vitamin D Council, Grosvenor, Mary B. Visualizing Nutrition. Toronto: John Wiley & Sons, 2014.
Photo: Food Day

USAID
Barack Obama has called for reforms to the  in-kind American food aid system. If enacted, these budget reforms could dramatically change how the world’s largest donor operates abroad.

The reforms, included in the President’s 2014 budget proposal, would significantly roll back requirements that American food aid be bought and shipped from the US. Instead, more funding than ever would be available for recipients to buy food closer to where it’s needed, or send cash or vouchers instead.

The administration’s proposals would entirely end “monetisation” programs where aid groups receive US food commodities in place of cash, which they then sell in local markets to fund other development projects such as clinics and schools. USAid said the reforms would enable it to reach an additional two to four million people each year. “Rather than limiting the United States to a tied, commodities-only approach, these reforms will enable experts to select the right tool to most efficiently meet the needs of hungry and vulnerable people,” it said.

However, if the reforms are passed, they may take a toll on the maritime unions and US based farmers that depend on the current food aid system. USA Maritime, a coalition of maritime unions, called on Congress to reject the reforms. “The administration’s proposals … will be harmful to our US merchant marine, harmful to our national defense sealift capability, harmful to our farmers and millers and bad for our economy,” said chairman James L Henry.

The administration’s proposal includes $25 million in additional funding for the department of transportation’s maritime administration, which would lose significant business under the reforms. This would support “certain militarily useful ships, and will facilitate the retention of US mariners”, it said.

Congress must now decide whether to fund these programs and accept the proposed changes. Analysts expect months of increased lobbying both from supporters and detractors.

-Kira Maixner

Source: The Guardian