Virtual RS International Service Project – One Million Beehives

One Million Beehives… What’s it all about?

In 2022 we are inviting you to Bee Round Square; to join in with our Virtual RS International Service Project and bee a part of bringing about positive change in the world through supporting Lesego Serolong, former pupil of RS school Tiger Kloof, and her campaign to raise funds for One Million Beehives throughout Africa.

Lesego is the founder of Bee Loved Honey, a social enterprise that aims to connect the invisible rural population of South Africa to opportunities through sustainable, fully-integrated honey production. Through her organization, Lesego is addressing issues related to dwindling honey bee populations by investing in the entire honey value chain. Through Bee Loved, she currently manufactures hives, distributes them to smallholder farmers, trains local farmers and buys back the honey from the local farmers. Lesego has impacted the lives of over 450 smallholder farmers in South Africa with her work.

Lesego, is also the co-founder and chairwoman of Raise the Children International, a registered non-profit in South Africa, the USA and the UK. Raise the Children International identifies self- motivated orphans from impoverished and rural communities and mobilizes resources for these children to gain access to higher education, leading to employment and public service with a high return on social investment. Raise the Children has given scholarships to more than 80 orphans from rural South Africa to attend high performing schools. Many of her rural scholarship recipients are at top universities across South Africa, with some already employed in various sectors in the country.

With the One Million Beehives campaign, Lesego aims to establish one million new beehives across South Africa in the next 10 years in order to re-populate dwindling bee populations. It also provides a path to real economic empowerment and inclusion for rural communities, particularly for women and youth and helps lift families out of poverty. By not only offering work for new bee keepers, the increased bee population helps pollinate local crops providing the community with food and income.

Why?

Almost 90% of wild plants and 75% of leading global crops depend on animal pollination. One out of every three mouthfuls of our food depends on pollinators. It is estimated that 1 bee produces 1 tablespoon of honey in it’s life time. Due to loss of habitat, pollution and the use of pesticides, bee populations around the world are rapidly declining. Crops that depend on pollination are five times more valuable than those that do not.

It’s tempting to think bees just provide us with honey – but in fact they’re behind much of the food we eat, including most fruit and vegetables. Without Bees, humans would only have a maximum of 4 years to live

Bees are crucial to our economy – Honey bees are responsible for $30 billion a year in crops. In a world without bees, our food would cost a lot more to produce and our economy would suffer. Industries such as Fashion, Livestock feed, Medicine and the Spice industry are heavily reliant pollination

The costs

In South African Rand, a beehive costs ZAR 1,750 which is about USD $114 and a complete beekeeping kit is ZAR 35,000 about USD $2,400. A Beekeeping kit equips a new beekeeper with 20 hives, a goodie box with a beekeeping suit, tools and everything else they might need to care for their tiny bee heroes. Training workshops, training manual and ongoing support and a honey offtake agreement.

 

Okay, sign me up… what can I do to help?

Round Square schools across the world are raising funds to help Lesego to buy these beehives. In South African Rand, a beehive costs ZAR 1,750 which is about USD $114. A complete beekeeping kit which is ZAR 35,000 about USD $2,400, which equips a new beekeeper with 20 hives, a goodie box with a beekeeping suit, tools and everything else they might need to care for their tiny bee heroes. Training workshops, training manual and ongoing support and a honey offtake agreement.

In supporting Lesego’s campaign, we hope that the Round Square Community will also help to raise global awareness around the importance of bees and the role they play. We also hope to demonstrate for students in Round Square Schools around the world that with a little international cooperation, and coordination, lots of small individual contributions can add up collectively to make a really big difference when we all work together.

To get us started in working together, in March 150 students and their teachers zoomed in to an audience with @LesegoSerolong founder of #beelovedhoney to launch this year’s virtual RSIS Project in support of #onemillionbeehives. 15 countries were represented across two calls with RS schools joining from Canada, Germany, Jordan, Dubai, South Africa, Peru, Dubai, England, Scotland, Switzerland, India, Oman, Kenya, Australia, Vietnam. Lesego explained more about the campaign, and the importance of bees, as well as answering questions from participating students. We then moved into breakouts where students were encouraged to create a ‘Honeypot of Ideas’ for fundraising and awareness raising around bees. Scroll the slides below to see some of the ideas they shared.

Make a pledge

Please complete the below with as much information as you can. Please add your school name to the list as we'll shortly be combining all of the pledges received to create a fundraising target for our project. Its totally up to you how much you want to raise.

Click to pledge

Honey Pot of Ideas

Slide through the amaZZZing ideas students shared during their baraza discussions

Resources – Recipes

Some ideas for honey-based food and drink to make and sell:

Recipe for Honey Popcorn

Resources – Craft Ideas

Some ideas for craft products to make and sell:

Resources to help with promotion

Some templates and plans to help in promoting the One Million Beehives Campaign

Events

Student Q&As from Lesego

For those who had already completed the pledge form and signed up for this initiative, we invited schools to bring delegations of 8 students along to a virtual launch event on 1st March. The event was attended not only by Lesego but by 150 students. Lesego explained more about the campaign, and the importance of bees, as well as answering questions from participating students. Click the link below for Lesego's answers to more student's questions...

Find out more

Hive Events

Over the months that follow we will be hosting a series of Hive Events for participating students and schools, where they can find out more about the science behind beekeeping from Lesego and her team, with topics such as “Beekeeping for Beginners” on 22nd April, "Live from the Bee Factory" on 12th May and "Live from the Hive" from Round Square beehives on 20th May. To sign up to these events click on the link below. Lesego has also offered to speak at schools’ virtual events (her schedule permitting). If you would like to put in a request for this please email stacey@roundsquare,org. At the RSIC2022 in the UK in September we will be sharing and celebrating progress made on this project.

Find out more