Bees and Trees, a youth-led social enterprise, envisions nurturing communities that coexist harmoniously with nature. Originating within the confines of a graduate room at Kampala’s Makerere University Department of Environmental Management, this concept materialized when Samantha Natumanya and Stephen Bright Sakwa, both Master’s students, united forces. They embarked on a journey by participating in the Student Nature Based Solutions Challenge, orchestrated by Wageningen University & Research in May 2022.
Recognizing the plight of biodiversity decline in Mt. Elgon National Park due to encroachment by neighboring inhabitants seeking survival through subsistence agriculture, they ventured into finding an effective solution. Frequently battered by climate change-induced catastrophes like floods and landslides, the community’s reliance on exploiting natural resources became an unfortunate necessity. Collaborating closely with stakeholders and the local populace, the team identified beekeeping as a sustainable livelihood alternative intertwined with environmental enhancement.
Among the elite group of eight finalists chosen from different countries, Bees and Trees secured funding and guidance. This support enabled them to introduce beekeeping as an alternate income source while concurrently reinvigorating sections of the park and surrounding landscape through indigenous tree planting. Evolving into a registered social enterprise, the organization passionately executes nature-based community projects and empowers young minds in the realm of green entrepreneurship.
A fully-fledged value chain for honey and coffee has been established, underscoring their commitment to conservation and economic growth. By purchasing these products from farmers and catering to end consumers, they’ve begun generating profits, extending employment opportunities to other young individuals along this value chain. Crucially, they ensure equitable compensation for farmers’ produce, thereby cementing both environmental stewardship and economic fairness.
Vlog Bees for Hope on their Nature Based Solution in Mt. Elgon National Park, Uganda