Defragmenting forests in biodiversity hotspots using meliponiculture and agroforestry as ecological corridors.

Reducing fragmentation of forests in biodiverse hotspots of East Africa through the planting of fruit trees and other agroforestry practise

Photo of Bridget Bobadoye
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Eligibility Criteria

  • I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria and terms of the Act for Biodiversity Challenge and that I am eligible to apply.
  • I am 18 years old or older.

Initiative's representative name

Bridget Bobadoye

Initiative's representative gender

  • Woman

Headquarters location: country

  • Kenya

Headquarters location: city

Taita taveta

Where are you making a difference?

SAME

Website or social media url(s)

https://www.linkedin.com/in/bridget-aito-bobadoye-ph-d-2100326a/

Date Started

10.09/2014

Project Stage

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working toward the next level of expansion)

Yearly Budget : What is your current yearly budget for the initiative?

  • Less than €1k

Organization Type

  • Educational institution

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.

Most rural communities in East Africa are dependent on forest ecosystems for food, fodder, medicine and other sources of sustenance, albeit the existence of accelerated depletion of natural resources has further eroded biodiversity on all levels. Meliponine bees are highly abundant within this biodiversity hotspot and are mainly hunted for their medicinal honey, but since they mostly nest in trees, such trees have to be felled to harvest its honey. The changing moment came when the project team taught the rural community how to domesticate meliponine bees in man-made hives, source new colonies from live trees using non-destructive methods, thus reducing fragmentation in habitats and preserving biodiversity of forest biomes.

2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Most forests in the Afro-montane biodiversity hotspots of East Africa are heavily degraded, and certain drivers of this change are attributed to agricultural related activities and expansion within these regions. Most rural communities in East Africa are dependent on forest ecosystems for food, fodder, medicine and other sources of sustenance, albeit the existence of accelerated depletion of natural resources has further eroded biodiversity on all levels.

3. Your solution: How are you working to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Rural communities are shown and taught how to domesticate meliponine bees in man-made hives, sourcing new colonies from live trees using non-destructive methods, planting native trees which are endemic to the area thus reducing fragmentation in habitats and preserving biodiversity of forest biomes.

4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?

We are also employing innovative methods in domestication such as the use of other nesting materials for the meliponine bees such as clay pots, discarded thermos flasks and dead logs. The project team had noticed that these bees never absconded or moved far way from the mother colony, and this was good news for surrounding trees because you can have one mother colony and several other daughter colonies number as high as ten in number. We made sure that locals could source for new colonies from surrounding live trees using non-destructive methods, thereby preserving the natural forest systems where these meliponine bees naturally occur.

5. Collaboration: How does your initiative seek to bring key players together to preserve biodiversity?

This project has already identified with several farmers from two main villages in Kenya (Kakamega and Taita) where they have shown significant interest in restoring their fragmented forests and its related biodiversity while simultaneously improving their livelihoods through meliponiculture. Numerous projects have been adopted by icipe (international center for insect physiology and ecology) and also the scientific community after seeing the huge potential meliponiculture can contribute to food security and biodiversity conservation.

6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far — in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?

Farmers have began to see the numerous benefits of domesticating these species, and this has spurred on to become a small scale business venture for a number of farmer groups in Taita and Kakamega cities where this venture is adopted.

7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

We intend to develop and expand our trainings to more geographic regions and areas bordering the afromontane biodiversity hotspot. We would also like to open a franchise for female meliponine bee keepers to provide more organised markets for their products like also teaching them the best practises to adopt for sustainable forests.

8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for society? Or different stakeholders?

Conserving our forests is one of the most potent ways to ensure the preservation of earth's biodiversity, and meliponiculture has shown to be an innovative way to create shared value about biodiversity for the society and for the human populace. Meliponiculture farmers are gradually reaping benefits from the domesticating of the species while simultaneously protecting the forests which is highly needed for these pollinators to thrive.

9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

We intend to use crowd funding platforms to raise funds for this project on the long run. We are motivated strongly by gender inclusion in sustainable practises to achieve SDG goals, hence we would adopt 50 females from 5 villages already practising meliponiculture and expand their ventures to include tree planting, agroforestry practises while simultaneously integrating meliponiculture into it.

10. Team: what is the current composition of your current team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

The current team members comprise of 2 entomologists, 4 farmers, 1 village head and 5 community mobilizers. This diverse team mix helps the success of our project, monitoring and evaluation through the different roles that each person plays.

11. How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Search engine

Evaluation results

4 evaluations so far

1. 1) OVERALL EVALUATION

Yes, absolutely! - 0%

Yes/maybe - 100%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

2. 2) CONNECTION TO BIODIVERSITY

5 —Absolutely! It’s crystal clear how the solution is directly contributing to preserving and/or restoring biodiversity. - 50%

4—Yes, it establishes a clear connection to biodiversity. - 25%

3—Somewhat, the entry speaks to biodiversity but the direct impact is not well established and/or it is focused on a single species without considering its impact on the broader ecosystem - 25%

2—Not really, the connection to biodiversity is weak - 0%

1—No. The entry does not reference the solution’s impact on biodiversity. - 0%

3. 3) Is this entry IMPACTFUL?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 0%

4- Yes, I think so. - 75%

3- Maybe. - 25%

2- Probably not. - 0%

1- No. - 0%

4. 4) Is this entry INNOVATIVE?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 0%

4- Yes, I think so. - 50%

3- Maybe. - 50%

2- Probably not. - 0%

1- No. - 0%

5. 5) Is this entry VIABLE financially and operationally?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 0%

4- Yes, I think so. - 25%

3- Maybe. - 75%

2- Probably not. - 0%

1- No. - 0%

6. 6) Is this entry ACTIVATING CHANGEMAKING?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 50%

4- Yes, I think so. - 50%

3- Maybe. - 0%

2- Probably not. - 0%

1- No. - 0%

7. 7) Does this entry value COLLABORATION WITH OTHER STAKEHOLDERS in its approach?

5- Yes, absolutely! - 25%

4- Yes, I think ko. - 50%

3- Maybe. - 25%

2- Probably not. - 0%

1- No. - 0%

8. 8) FEEDBACK – Highlights

INNOVATION: You have a great understanding of the problem, have researched existing solutions, and have developed unique, thoughtful new solutions - 33.3%

IMPACT: You use specific numbers and evidence to describe what your project has achieved so far (or plan to achieve in the future) and you have a plan for measuring impact - 33.3%

GROWTH & LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL: You have a thoughtful plan for growth and your founding team has a strong combination of leadership and knowledge-based skills - 0%

VIABIBLITY: You have given a great deal of thought to not just the idea itself but how to make it work from a financial perspective in the present and future - 33.3%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: You value thinking around how to activate changemakers and empower them to innovate through your product or programming - 100%

POTENTIAL TO CREATE SHARED VALUE: You have a clearly defined plan on how to maximize shared value across multiple sectors and stakeholders - 66.7%

WRITING STYLE: Your writing style is concise, descriptive, clear, and specific - 0%

Other option - 0%

9. 9) FEEDBACK - Areas for Improvement

INNOVATION: Be more specific in your description of the research you have done into the past solutions to this problem and focus on how your solution is unique and innovative - 33.3%

IMPACT: Provide specific instances of your social impact and how you plan to measure impact – it may be helpful to describe the beneficiaries, products and programming, and provide evidence of (or plan for) how to measure impact - 100%

GROWTH & LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL: Your plan for growing the organization can benefit from more specifics. How can you round out the various skills of your current leadership team to make the project a long-term success? - 66.7%

VIABILITY: Make sure you have provided descriptive information about your financial sustainability plan. Where do the funds come from now and do you have a concrete plan for future sustainability? - 66.7%

POTENTIAL TO CREATE SHARED VALUE: your plan can benefit from more thought on how to create value for all stakeholders, not just immediate beneficiaries - 0%

WRITING STYLE: Try to be more concise, descriptive, clear, and specific. Avoid jargon. - 0%

Nothing – I thought everything was great! - 0%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: Try to provide more insights into how you are activating changemakers and empowering them to innovate through your product or programming - 0%

Other option - 0%

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