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Bee-keeping for women empowerment: case of new business model in honey value chain development project’s beneficiaries in Amhara Regional State, Ethiopia

Yohannes Mersha Belete1 and Zemen Ayalew Ayele2

1 Bahir Dar University, Department of Gender and Development Studies, P.O. Box 79, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia
2 Bahir Dar University, Department of Agricultural Economics, P.O. Box 79, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia


Evidence asserts that beekeeping has been practised in Ethiopia since ancient time, as a farming activity. Currently, many rural households have been engaged in beekeeping production in the nation. As it is a low investment farming business, it is widely accepted that beekeeping would have a positive effect on the livelihood and the overall empowerment of disadvantaged groups like women. To this effect, Oxfam GB had implemented a five-year honey value chain development project by taking women as its main beneficiaries. However, the contribution of this project for women empowerment has not been yet studied. Hence, the main purpose of this study is to investigate the contribution of beekeeping for women empowerment at the project intervention sites i.e Mecha, Dangila and Guanga districts of Amhara region. To meet the objective of the study, a qualitative approach with a case study design was employed. Eighteen women beekeepers and twelve key informants were purposively selected and interviewed. Three focus group discussions were also held with the purposively selected participants. The data was analyzed by using thematic qualitative data analysis technique. The results indicated that due to the project intervention, the self-esteem, personal autonomy and individual capabilities of women beekeepers had been moderately improved. Their contribution to household income and their group and leadership participation had been significantly increased. The finding also showed that the negative social norms that hinder women from economic participation had been dissolved through this improvement may not be resulted due to the project intervention only. It was concluded that beekeeping has its contributions to women empowerment but when it is introduced with a project, its sustainability is questionable unless the government bodies take further actions.

Keywords: beekeeping, women empowerment, Amhara Regional State and Ethiopia


Even though beekeeping is one of the important and the oldest farming activities in Ethiopia, there are no available records, which confirm when and where beekeeping was first started (Geday and Mekonnen 2009). However, the hieroglyphs of ancient Egypt refer to Abyssinia (ancient name of Ethiopia), as a source of honey and beeswax and Abyssinia had been known for its beeswax export to Egypt for centuries when other items were not exported. This historical account leads us to have the assumption that beekeeping may be started in Ethiopia 5000 years ago as ancient Egypt referred Abyssinia as the source of honey and bee wax (Sebsib and Yibrah 2018).

It is assumed that more than two million farm households have been involved in beekeeping production in Ethiopia and it is also estimated that around 12 million bee colonies have existed in the nation. This makes Ethiopia the largest bee producers in Africa and the fourth producer of beeswax in the world (Fenet and Alemayehu 2016). It produced 43,000 tonnes of honey and 3,000 tonnes of beeswax but the country has the potential to produce 500,000 tones of honey and 50,000 tonnes of beeswax. The quality of Ethiopian honey is generally poor as 95 per cent of beekeepers follow the traditional method of beekeeping practices and; 85 per cent of the produced honey is sold to local brewers of “tej”, a honey wine. Given all these problems, beekeeping covers only 1.3 per cent of the agricultural GDP of Ethiopia (Serda et al 2016).

Importantly, beekeeping plays a critical role in maintaining the livelihoods of the rural communities with great roles as income-generating activity and medicinal value of honey and other hive products. It is a low-investment and low-input business enterprise that directly generates economic gains for the participating members and integrates well with agriculture that forms the main economic activity for communities living in rural areas. It supports agricultural activities through facilitating critical processes, for example, cross-pollination and improves crop and seed yield (Peter et al. 2018). Beekeeping also contributes immensely to forest conservation efforts and facilitates healthy linkages between biodiversity (insects and plants) towards sustainable livelihoods. Its advantages are numerous also bearing in mind that men, women and youth can practise it, and it is a crucial avenue towards poverty reduction and enhancing the quality of life. The sub-sector harbours the great potential for increasing incomes and supporting sustainable development, especially considering the varied players and activities along the broader chain (Tessema and Zeleke 2018).

Indeed, various governmental and non-governmental organizations have been supporting the transformation of the beekeeping sub-sector in Ethiopia. Among others, Oxfam GB is a key beekeeping development enhancer in Ethiopia, is a development, humanitarian, and campaigning organization working to find lasting solutions to poverty and suffering in Ethiopia since 1974 with the main focus to support the most vulnerable smallholder farmers (especially women) for sustainable agricultural market development (Oxfam GB 2015). Beekeeping, being one of the most sustainable livelihood options and its contribution to poverty reduction, sustainable development and conservation of natural resources, is recognized and emphasized by Oxfam and the Ethiopian government. Accordingly, Oxfam has implemented a five-year project, called New Business Model in Honey Value Chain Development Project in selected districts of Amhara Regional State targeting 1) to increase the capacity, productivity and income of honey producers, 2) to advance women’s empowerment within the honey value chain and 3) to influence markets in favour of women smallholders. This, thus, has encouraged and enhanced more women beekeepers to come to the sector (Oxfam GB 2013).

The project activities included establishing community-based women’s self-help groups and providing their members with training and support to engage in high-quality honey production using modern beehives. The project also created market links for the self-help groups, through local honey producers’ cooperatives, with private-sector purchasers, including exporters. The project also provided literacy training to women self-help group members in addition to various other capacity building training. Although Oxfam GB had conducted such activities over the past five years, it has not yet assessed the contributions of the intervention for women empowerment (Oxfam GB 2018). With this rationale, therefore, this study attempted to investigate the contributions of honey value chain project for women’s empowerment at the selected districts, namely Guangua, Mecha and Dangila which exist in Amhara Regional State, the second largest regional state of Ethiopia.

Methods and Materials

Study area

This study was conducted in the three districts (Mecha, Dangila and Guangua) of Amhara region, of which Mecha is found in West Gojam zone and Dangila and Guangua are in Awi administrative zone (Oxfam GB 2018).

Research approach and design

A qualitative approach with case study design was employed to investigate the contribution of beekeeping for women empowerment. The data was collected through face to face interview and focus group discussion as well.

Sampling technique

In this study, purposive and quota sampling techniques were employed to select the area and participants of the study. Accordingly, Mecha, Dangila and Guangua districts were purposively selected since these are the areas where Honey Value Chain Development project was implemented. Regarding participants selection, the researchers used both purposive and quota sampling techniques. In this respect, the researcher initially grouped the participants into two (female-headed and male-headed women beekeepers). By applying a quota sampling technique, the researchers distributed an equal sample for both groups. Subsequently, purposive sampling technique was applied to select participants from each group. At this stage, some inclusion criteria were set to select the participants purposively. These inclusion criteria are: being the beneficiary of the project, having more than three years of experience in beekeeping production and having age greater than 18 years. Women beekeepers who did not meet any of these criteria were excluded.

Sample size and data collection procedures

Six women beekeepers (3 female-headed and 3 male-headed) were selected and interviewed in each district. This meant that 18 women beekeepers participated in the face to face interview at all sampled districts. Moreover, 3 focus group discussions from each district were conducted and each discussion consisted of 8 women beekeepers. In total, 72 women beekeepers participated in the focus group discussions. Finally, 12 key informants were purposively selected from various stakeholders which include primary beekeeping development and marketing cooperatives, cooperative promotion agency, livestock resources development agency, agriculture bureau, women and children affairs bureau and Zenebaba beekeeping union.

Data analysis

To analyze the data, a thematic qualitative analysis technique was employed and the following major steps were applied. Initially, the researchers transcribed the recorded voices of the interviewees, key informants and focus group discussants into text form. The text data was then translated from the local language (Amharic) into English. After the transcription and translation processes, the coding procedure was followed. The coding helps to minimize the researchers' bias in the analysis of cases. Then, the researchers read the coded text data thoroughly to be familiar with the information. Afterwards, the coded data was categorized into similar or related categories. The categorized data was then converted into themes. Finally, interpretation and analysis were made on each theme through triangulation technique.

Ethical considerations

To comply with the code of ethics of research, this particular study began with the successful effort to secure ethical approval from Bahir Dar University Ethical Clearance Committee. Following ethical approval, we prepared a written consent form. Within the consent slips, the participants were informed about the purpose of the study and other pertinent issues regarding the study. To preserve the anonymity and confidentiality of the participants, we used codes instead of their real names. Also, any individual participant identifiers were removed from the report of the findings.

Result and Discussion

Empowerment is the expansion of assets and capabilities of poor and marginalized people to improve their lives through various interventions. In the study area, Oxfam GB had implemented a honey value chain project over the past five years by having the vision to empower women. Hence, this qualitative study had explored the contribution of beekeeping for women empowerment by taking the beneficiaries of the project as a case in point. However, there is no single indicator for women empowerment. To this end, two-level indicators, i.e. personal and relational level indicators, were used.

The personal level of empowerment

Based on the finding of the study beekeeping had contributed to women personal level empowerment which include the boost of their self-esteem, individual capabilities and personal autonomy. These personal level empowerments are discussed in detail as follows.

It is widely accepted that low self-esteem is the silent enemy of many women. The finding of this study showed that the status of the self-esteem of women beekeepers had been improved, though it was not reached at the desired level. One of the key informants of the study clearly explained this issue by saying:

In earlier days, women were suffering from low self-esteem. Their self esteems have been currently improved due to the intervention of honey value chain project and other development organizations. However, women’s self-esteem has not been reached at the desired level. Even now, some women are told to stay inside when men are on board to discuss very important issues including how to run a family business, or discussing how to lead the community. (Key informant 1).

In a similar token, a middle-aged interviewee said:

I felt that my husband is better than me in terms of deciding on family and economic matters. He has better exposure for knowledge and so that, I have usually accepted every decision he made. However, after I became the beneficiary of the project, I started to think that I can decide on household matters just like what he did. (Interviewee 1).

As it is illuminated on the above quotations, few women beekeepers had a self-esteem problem. The majority of the focus group discussants were also agreed on this idea. The low self-esteem profoundly affects their decision-making power on family matters and their active participation in production sectors. Their low self-esteem was caused due to the existence of patriarchal thinking and structure whereby women are forced to think as they are less competent than men in all economic and social spheres. However, the result also indicated that the self-esteem of women beekeepers had been recently improved, though there was still a visible gap between the self-esteem levels of men and women. The study conducted in Calakmuk Mexico by Aguirre and Pasteur (1998) showed that beekeeping had increased the self-esteem of women. This implies that the present study is partially congruent with that study.

As it was noted by the focus group discussants, some of the schemes provided by the project had enhanced the individual capabilities of women beekeepers. Some women beekeepers had developed personal capabilities to coup up different social and economic hurdles that they faced. The reflection of the following key informant clearly showed how the individual capabilities of women beekeepers are improved.

The benefit they get in cash is not that big. However, they have been changed a lot in thinking. They all believe that they can change if they work hard. They believe that their family will not be disintegrated if they work hard, even if the husband is dead or gone. After the project started in the area, three women had lost their husbands with natural death. These women are so young, but they are leading their family properly with the support they get from the project’s scheme. This shows the change that comes through the project is incalculable. They start thinking about each other. They realize that, no matter how small, the money they contribute can support a person’s life. (Key informant 2).

Although the project had scored better success in terms of improving the individual capabilities of women beekeepers to lead the household, it did not meet some of its project goals. For instance, the literacy level of women beekeepers was not still improved. In supporting of this idea, key informant 3 said: “ Due to adult education program, there are some who can write their names; but now they have been relapsed to illiteracy”. Another key informant added that;

Integrated Functional Adult Learning (IFAL) was started, but it was discontinued after a while. The beneficiaries of this program are now able to support their children to go to school. They never make their children miss class. However, they don’t believe that they become literate due to the IFAL program (Key informant 4)

The above reflections asserted that some of women beekeepers were capable of reading, writing and doing simple arithmetics through IFAL intervention. However, the present study stressed that the literacy level of women was becoming elapsed due to lack of continuous training which is resulted due to the close up of the project and the inability of other stakeholders to continue the program.

Regarding mobile usage, the focus group discussants mentioned out that the project did not make them have mobile phones, though some of them got the skill of operating mobile phones. In this regard, key informant 5 noted: “Most women do not have mobile phones but they can operate their husbands’ phones”. This indicates that women beekeepers were not still possessed mobile phone though the project helped them to know how to use mobile phones.

The finding of the present study is compatible with the study conducted in Ethiopia, which reported that beekeeping would empower women to have the skills to overcome their social and economic problems (Abiyu 2014). However, there is a mismatch between the findings of the present study and Fuller’s (2014) study which revealed that women beekeepers were more likely to have mobile phones and more literate than non-beekeeper women.

Personal autonomy is a very important factor that determines women’s ability to participate in community groups, activities or meetings. In this regard, the focus group discussants disclosed the fact that women beekeepers had recently gotten better personal autonomy, unlike the old days. The reflection of the following participants showed how personal autonomy of women is slightly improved;

In the past times, a husband had assigned another person to accompany his wives even when she goes to church. Nowadays, the husbands have developed trust over their wives and they let their wives travel independently to different community meetings. (Interviewee 2).

Similarly, another participant stated that;

Previously, my husband does not allow me to go to meeting places. But, now he does not bother wherever I go. What he needs from me is just to inform him and get his will. If you ask me about my husband’s autonomy, he can go to every place based on his interest. Sometimes he informs me where he wants to go and other times not. (Interviewee 3).

From the above verbatim, we can understand that the personal autonomy of women beekeepers had been improved. As it is depicted in the narrations, a man had full autonomy to go to different places, whereas a woman should first secure the goodwill of her husband to go outside her home. Interestingly, women beekeepers had usually gotten a positive response from their husbands during the time they planned to go to a meeting or other places. A previous study done in Ethiopia by Fuller (2014), reported beekeeping would help women to enjoy full personal autonomy which is partially similar to the findings of the present study.

Relational level of empowerment

Four major empowerments under relational level indicator were identified which are a contribution to household income, group participation, leadership participation and social norms towards women’s economic roles. All themes are discussed hereunder.

As per the result of the study, women beekeepers had significantly contributed to the household income. They were engaged in various income-generating activities which include beekeeping production, crop and animal production and other petty trading activities. Looking into the economic contribution of women in the beekeeping production sector, we can notice that the degrees of their contribution had been changed due to the introduction of transitional and modern beekeeping production systems. In this regard, it is appealing to see the gender role dynamics in apicultural practices especially among traditional, transitional and modern beekeeping production systems.

To embark on, the focus group discussants unequivocally mentioned out that women’s role in traditional beekeeping activities was very limited and it was highly dominated by men. Traditional hives have often placed at the top of trees. As a matter of fact, women are not supposed to climb trees due to cultural prohibition and they have also a fear of falling from trees. Given these facts, it would be very difficult for women to actively participate in traditional beekeeping enterprise. In light of this, one of the participants said:

For centuries, men had played the main roles in traditional beekeeping. The use of long hives placed on the top of the trees and smokers to smoke bees during honey harvesting was largely carried out by men. Women were only involved at the honey processing stage where they converted harvested honey to a local beer, named Tej. (Interviewee 4).

From the above reflection, we can comprehend that women’s participation in traditional beekeeping was almost none. This implies that they did not practice various apiary tasks which include cleaning; managing, transporting, construction and repair of a traditional hive, queen hunting, smoking and harvesting of honey. However, the introductions of transitional and modern hives have impacted the placement of traditional hives. Recently, it is common to see traditional hives placed on a wooden frame/hive stand which is used for putting transitional and modern hives. This development had moderately increased women’s role in traditional beekeeping activities. For instance, smoking and cleaning tasks were mainly done by women while men were taking the role of constructing hives and harvesting of honey.

Concerning the transitional beekeeping system, the focus group discussants of the study affirmed that their role in this beekeeping production system was greater than the traditional ones though their role was still lower compared to their male counterpart. Transitional hives have been usually constructed by the local beekeepers. In the construction process, women have supported their husbands by providing construction inputs. The majority of women were engaged in cleaning, managing and smoking activities. Few of them were also involved in queen transforming and honey harvesting. In conjunction with this idea, one of the participants of the study noted:

We have two transitional hives. My husband had constructed these hives from flexible local wood (Chefeka). I helped him while he was producing the hives. I had also supported him when he transformed the queens from the traditional hives to the transitional ones. When my husband harvests the honey, I usually support him by doing various activities which include preparing smokes and providing other necessary materials. (Interviewee 5)

In the same vein, another participant said:

My husband has often worked at the farmland but I have spent the whole day at my home. My husband knows this work division very well. He always teaches me the different transitional beekeeping activities and he encourages me to manage the beekeeping process. I have also believed that I should take over the whole beekeeping managing activity from my husband since he spends much of his time at farmland. By now, I know how to harvest honey and I have sometimes harvested honey by myself. (Interviewee 6)

From the above verbal accounts, we can understand that the very characteristics of transitional beekeeping production systems allowed women to do various apiary tasks. This gender role transformation was a direct result of the shift from traditional beekeeping systems to transitional. As it is clearly explained in the above participants’ narration, transitional beekeeping systems did not restrict the involvement of women, unlike the traditional ones, which needs a skill of climbing trees. However, there was still a gender gap in terms of equally participating in different transitional beekeeping production system between men and women.

Regarding modern beekeeping production, the focus group discussants expressed that their roles in beekeeping production had been significantly increased after the introduction of modern hives. Most of the beekeepers had gotten modern hives from beekeeping cooperative through a credit system, unlike the traditional and transitional hives. When the beekeeping cooperatives had delivered modern hives to beekeepers, they had often prioritized women beekeepers. This scenario would in turn help women to feel a sense of ownership over their beekeeping asset. These women beekeepers had also gotten training about modern beekeeping production system from the Honey Value Chain Development project. Given all these opportunities, women participation in modern beekeeping production system was better than the traditional and the transitional systems. This idea is further elaborated by the expression of the following participant;

After I got training from the project, I can transform queen from traditional hives into the modern ones. I have also a skill to harvest honey, but I did not yet actually practice it since I have a bee sting phobia. I have done other activities such as cleaning, feeding, smoking and extracting of honey. However, I do not have a skill of queen rearing since the training does not cover this issue. (Interviewee 7)

Similarly, one of the key informants said:

As opposed to the traditional beekeeping production enterprise, women’s role in modern beekeeping is immense. They usually play the main role to smoke bees while men harvest honey. Some women harvest honey when their husbands are absent from home. (Key informant 5)

The above verbatim accounts have shown us that in the advent of modern beekeeping technology and involvement of development agencies, apiary roles performed by women were increasingly changing to resemble those of men who dominated the traditional beekeeping enterprise. Despite this promising change, there are significant numbers of women who did not still have the confidence to involve in modern beekeeping production system because of the long presented gender stereotype given for beekeeping production. This problem is further exacerbated due to the lack of full package technical and material support for women beekeepers. For instance, the participation of women in queen breeding and honey extracting activities was very low since they did not get the required skills and material provisions from government and non-governmental development agencies. A study conducted in Kenya by Peter (2015) reported that the introduction of modern hives had increased the participation of women in beekeeping production and this is similar to the findings of the present study. However, it was reported in the present study that women beekeepers were unable to rear queens, unlike the Kenyan study.

Based on the qualitative finding, self-help group was the major area where women beekeepers largely participated. Self-help groups were taking up tasks such as regular meeting and discussion on the common issues and saving of money. The participation of women in the self-help group was a direct impact of this honey value chain project. To corroborate this claim, one of the key informants noted:

During the project implementation processes, we firstly registered women and then we established self-help groups by getting their free will. The self-help groups are regularly saving money and discussing the problems that they face as women. (Key informant 6).

Furthermore, the participants of the study revealed that they got lots of benefits because they participated in self-help groups. The benefits comprised both economic and social benefits. Concerning to economical benefit, the participants reported that their income increased after joining the self-help groups. In supporting this idea, one of the participants of the study said:

In the past, we did not believe that saving five Birr (Ethiopian currency) would not serve for any economic activity as we had a lack of understanding about the value of saving. After the project came to our area, we started saving money in the group. We have now saved money and able to get a credit that amounted a thousand or two thousand Birr in a round, based on need. We used the money for fattening and rearing of sheep. If we have a female sheep (ewe), we can earn around 300 Birr per every lamb that it gives birth to. When we see all these benefits, we realized that if we save more we can get more. (Interviewee 8)

The above reflections inform us that participation in self-help group allowed women beekeepers to access credit. This helped them to invest the loan money on new economic activities and also strengthening their old activities to improve their livelihood. To conclude, the self-help group had an impact on women economic empowerment as women beekeepers were able to contribute to the family income with this small saving and credit group.

Regarding social benefit, self-help group created a platform for women beekeepers to discuss on different social issues. It also gave them freedom of mobility and interaction which would, in turn, contribute to their psychological development and social participation in different associations and groups. In this regard, one of the key informants shared his observation as:

Women in the self-help groups are regularly discussing problems that they face as women. These discussions have helped them to develop assertiveness behaviour. Those women who develop assertiveness behaviour and self-confidence could participate in other community engagement and leadership activities. Most of the women who became leaders of Andenet Beekeeping Cooperative and women associations are originated from the self-help groups established by the project. (Key informant 7)

From the above direct quotation, we can notice that the self-help group had substantially helped women beekeepers to come out from the walls of the house. When women get together, they can discuss their social problems. The discussion by itself has also helped them to have a skill of leadership and this makes them be confident and develop strong zeal to participate in various groups like beekeeping cooperative and women’s association not only as members but also as leaders. Generally, the participation of women beekeepers in self-help group had brought an important impact for the betterment of their social and economic status. A Tanzanian study reported that honey value chain projects would help women beekeepers to establish self-help group in which they discussed different economic issues and created strong social bondage (Kuboja and Nkuba 2015). This indicates the present study is more or less similar to the findings of the Tanzanian study.

Many studies asserted that women have better managerial abilities which are only gifted to them. As they have management experience at home over the ages, they know how to properly handle resources in a community-based organization just like what they did at home. Although women are endowed with such qualities, they have been denied to hold a leadership position in the community or organizational levels. Given this wisdom, when we evaluate the leadership participation of women beekeepers in the study areas, we found out that some of the women were holding a leadership position at various organizations mainly at beekeeping cooperatives. Based on the document analysis, there was three beekeeping cooperative in the study area, namely, Aguanta, Meserete Hiwot and Andenet. Each beekeeping cooperative had seven to ten leaders. When we see the leadership parity based on gender parameter, we found out 4 women leaders from Aguanta, 4 from Meseret Hiwot and 2 from Andenet beekeeping cooperatives. This implies that the leadership participation of women in beekeeping cooperatives was significantly increased due to the project intervention. In supporting this idea, key informant 8 said: “Most of the women who became leaders of Andenet Beekeeping cooperative and women’s associations are originated from the self-help groups that the project established”.

However, their participation, especially in other organizations, was not reached at the expected levels. This failure is resulted due to prevailing societal stereotype given for women leaders. The focus group discussants mentioned out that the societies do not give recognition for women leaders. Community members have often interested to see men leaders rather than women. In connection with this idea, one of the participants of the study disclosed that;

In fact, there are women leaders in our district. There are accessible leadership positions like women’s affairs office which is supposed to be led by women. However, the women who took leadership position are the ones whose husbands are dead. If the husband is still alive, he does not allow her to hold a leadership position. (Interviewee 9)

Another participant also said that;

We participate in every social life. We contribute money when one of our close neighbours or friends face problems like mourning, loss of property… we help each other. Those working on a leadership position are those who are better educated. (Interviewee 10)

All in all, we can conclude that women beekeepers participation in leadership had been improved compared to the old days. However, their participation in all spheres of leadership positions was still minimal. The major barriers that curtail women’s leadership participation were lack of education and the presence of negative societal attitude towards women leaders. A similar finding was reported in a study conducted in Nigeria where the project-based beneficiary women beekeepers were able to hold leadership positions, though its degree was high compared to the present study (Ezekiel et al 2013).

Women stereotyping is an obstacle to exercise their rights. Stereotyping may limit women’s capacity to develop their abilities, pursue their professional careers and make choices about their lives and life plans. As per the result of this study, men and women had recently developed a positive attitude towards women’s economic roles. The prevailing social norms and stereotypes that restrict women from economic engagement are now becoming dissolved. Concerning this issue, one of the participants of the study shared her observation as:

Society today no longer wants women to stay at home. There is an apparent societal attitudinal shift that encourages women to perform various activities at agricultural fields. It is difficult to think otherwise under the current economic problem and shortage of resources. (Interviewee 11)

All in all, the study’s society has now developed a belief of women could play roles in the economic sectors especially in the agricultural sector. This implies that the negative social norms and stereotype of women’s economic roles have been dramatically changed. However, it is difficult to identify the drivers that bring this holistic societal change. What we can only infer at this juncture is that the societal attitude towards women’s role in beekeeping activities can be impacted by the intervention made by the project. Similarly, a study conducted in Tigray region of Ethiopia reported that the interventions made by the government sectors and non-governmental organizations have brought positive impact in changing the long presented stereotype towards women ‘s economic roles (European Union 2019).


Based on the findings of the study, it was concluded that women beekeepers had been moderately empowered since after the New Business Model in Honey Value Chain Development project implemented in the study districts. The major empowerments that women gained due to the intervention of the project were personal empowerment (the moderate enhancement of self-esteem, autonomy and individual capabilities) and relational empowerment (contribution to the household income, the increment of group and leadership participation and positive social norms towards women’s economic roles). Although significant numbers of women beekeepers were benefited from the project, there is still gender gaps in the beekeeping production systems and the overall status between men and women. There were also some activities, like adult education and queen rearing, which are left without realizing the intended objective of the project. This indicates that the government bodies should have to take over and then continued the New Business Model in Honey Value Chain Development project’s activities to ensure the full empowerment of women beekeepers at the study districts.


First and foremost, we would like to express our deep gratitude to the whole research participants for giving us valuable information on the study topic. We are also very much indebted to our field assistants for their support during the data collection process. We, finally, would like to express our deepest gratitude to Oxfam GB which provided the funds for the accomplishment this research work.


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Received 9 May 2020; Accepted 12 May 2020; Published 1 June 2020

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