In Ghana primary school education is free. However, continuing in education after the age of 12 can cost up to 60% of many parents’ annual income resulting in children from lower-income families frequently starting work before their 13th birthday and so missing out on the opportunities offered by secondary school and university.
To offer more young Ghanaians the opportunity to access secondary and university education Dr Kwame Aidoo, Project Manager of the GEP/UNEP/FAO Global Pollination Project at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana and long-term Bees for development partner, is launching Buzz Club Ghana in collaboration with Stroud Beekeepers Association in the UK.
Buzz Club Ghana will enable 8–12 year old Ghanaian primary school children to learn about bees, beekeeping and the environment. The children will be supported by their teachers and parents to manage five sponsored honey bee colonies to raise money to pay for their ongoing education. Proceeds from the sale of the colonies’ produce will be saved into dedicated bank accounts and used solely for paying high school and university fees.
Two schools with two specially-trained teachers each will participate in the project’s pilot scheme with Stroud Beekeepers Association raising and donating the £4000 required to pay for the manufacture, in Ghana, of five top-bar hives and 10 sets of protective clothing per school. Dr Aidoo is currently arranging for apiary sites in conveniently located mango plantations. Remarkably this initial investment of £200 per pupil is all that is required to start twenty children on the road to participating in secondary and University education!
Other benefits which will accrue from the development of Buzz Clubs in Ghana have been identified to include the increase in bee numbers which will help pollinate the crops grown on local farms – increasing the number of pollinators is known to enhance crop yield.
Kwame says: “Buzz Clubs will offer more children in Ghana the opportunity to become well educated, which could make a real difference to the lives of their families, and in their communities – some of them might even become skilled beekeepers and teachers who can pass on the skills and experience they gain from the project to future generations”.