Ellie Matthew – February 2024

The work of Youth Pawa continues to inspire with their mangrove eco-restoration project, but their latest venture could enhance the livelihoods in coastal Kenya even further.

In collaboration with Mkupe Conservation Area, Youth Pawa, led by Steve Misati, propose a sustainable beekeeping initiative as a component of their mangrove restoration project. The aim is to empower the local community with a sustainable alternative livelihood opportunity, all the while promoting mangrove conservation and biodiversity enhancement.

The group aims to establish beehives in strategic locations in restored mangrove ecosystems. They plan on providing the locals with comprehensive training on beekeeping, honey production and sustainable management, but they’re also thinking bigger, with plans on facilitating connections with local markets and fair-trade networks to ensure a sustainable income for beekeepers. Finally, they aim to boost community engagement – promoting ownership and participation through workshops and campaigns.

If successful, the initiative could help increase mangrove cover as the bees will promote pollination and seed dispersal and help biodiversity as their pollination could cover a wide diversity of plant species. It could also improve livelihoods by providing a sustainable alternative income that reduces dependence on unsustainable means, economic empowerment and community ownership.

Why the need? Despite the growing recognition of mangrove importance, the rates of deforestation in the Indian Ocean are still alarmingly high. Youth Pawa started their restoration project but recognised the need to better understand the root cause of mangrove deforestation in coastal Kenya. Locals were reliant on the mangroves for fuel and wood, and above all else, a source of income. Hence, they decided to come up with an alternative livelihood option that both benefitted the local communities and continued to benefit their restored mangrove habitats.

SFACT are proud to be supporting Youth Pawa through their new initiative and we look forward to seeing how it progresses.

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