PODCAST EPISODE 5: Milan Wiercx van Rhijn, Bees for Development, France
A few years ago, I visited one of my favourite countries in the whole world, France. During my stay, I was lucky enough to be well looked after by my now dear friend, Milan Wiercx van Rhijn, and his lovely partner, Kim. Spoilt with handmade ice-cream (thanks Kim!) and wonderful conversation about how bees are doing the most incredible job to take care of the planet (in more ways than just pollination), my stay with Milan really solidified our friendship and taught me a great deal about the amazing organisation he works for. Since that time in France, we met again at APIMONDIA in Montreal in 2019 and have stayed in regular contact ever since! For that reason, I am delighted to welcome my good friend Milan to the BEES WITH BEN podcast!
Tune into Episode 5 to hear Milan and I chat about the wonderful work happening right now in the developing world – work that combines a number of incredibly dedicated and compassionate individuals, and, of course, a huge number of equally delightful bees! Bees for Development is an organisation that promotes beekeeping to combat poverty and help build sustainable, resilient livelihoods for the people that need it most. When I thought bees couldn’t do more for the good of humanity, I am happily proven wrong.
Founded in 1993, Bees for Development was the first organisation to fully understand and acknowledge the reasons why beekeeping can be such a useful tool for relieving poverty while helping to retain biodiversity. Based in Monmouth in the UK, the organisation has worked with over 50 countries across the world to help people generate an essential income to feed their families and provide basic needs: these projects are happening in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana and Uganda (to name just a few locations). The company shows local farmers how to make and maintain low-cost beehives so that people can harvest and sell their own honey, turning natural and renewable resources into a vital livelihood that (if that wasn’t enough!) helps the environment at the same time! The company also carries out important bee-work for the World Bank, United Nations FAO and IFAD, EU, DFID, USAID and other international organisations.
Alongside all this remarkable work, Bees for Development has a generous and ethical philosophy to sharing information (one that I find vital and sometimes unusual in this day and age). They provide free information to beekeepers in poor countries, with publications – Bees for Development Journal and Teaching and Learning Boxes– sent to readers in 130 nations. These documents share knowledge and advice, and the organisation’s website includes an open-access information portal that is the largest of its kind in the world! Considering the incredibly difficult state of affairs right now across the globe, there hasn’t been a better time to support a more worthy organisation.
Tune in to Episode 5 of the BEES WITH BEN podcast to meet my dear friend, dedicated bee-lover and good soul Milan Wiercx van Rhijn to find out more about the incredible Bees for Development