Call edition 2012

A new edition of the Prize of the Belgian Development Cooperation has been launched. This call is open until March 31st, 2011. You can read in the regulations whether you comply with the criteria for participation.

I would like to submit my application

Interview with Joseph Macharia

During his Master’s thesis, Joseph Macharia studied stingless honeybees in the Kakamega forest in Kenya. His goal was to demonstrate how local communities can get involved in order to better manage conservation areas. His results show a clear link between protecting biodiversity and economic development.
In his new project, Joseph studies nesting sites of different stingless honeybee species as well as the economic benefits provided by the honeybees for local communities.

On March 24th 2010, you won the prize of the Belgian Development Cooperation. Which were the first steps you took to develop your project?

First, I identified key recommendations in my MSc thesis which would require further research. Then I developed a proposal according to the budget.

You received a credit line of 5000€. Which concrete activities have you undertaken with this budget?

I increased the number of stingless beekeepers to 30. After having documented the nests found around Kakamega forest in selected sites, I described the nesting architecture of the stingless bee species in selected sites. I also collected the pests and predators of stingless bees for identification.

What will be the next steps to realise your project?

I need to identify the pests and predators of the stingless bees. Furthermore, I will document the nesting architecture details of the stingless bees nests found in Kakamega forest.

Has your participation in the prize strengthened your link with the Belgian Development Cooperation?

I believe it has strengthened my link with the Belgian Cooperation through contacts with professionals in bee taxonomy and information sources.

Do you think this prize can have a long-term influence on your scientific career?

Yes, this has enabled me to have national recognition as a stingless bees expert.
The prize will enable me to publish peer reviewed papers and thus will help me to progress in my career.

May we ask you to give a short description of your project?

Nesting biology of selected stingless bees habitats in Kakamega forest and farmlands

Stingless bees are important in pollination and honey production in Kakamega forest. These bees are endangered due to the destructive harvesting and lack of sufficient knowledge in nesting and distribution. The aim of the project was to document the nesting sites of some selected stingless bees and establish meliponiary in Kakamega.
The project has found that species such as Meliponula bocandei preferred nesting in the secondary forest while Meliponula lendliana and Hypotrigona gribodoi nested in both secondary forests and farmlands. Ten honey hunters benefited from training and meliponiary management. The stingless beekeepers multiplied their colonies and sold to some researchers and used them for avocado pollination trials.
From this project we can conclude that different stingless bee species have different nesting preferences. In addition, stingless beekeeping is an ideal income-generating venture. It supports biodiversity conservation especially to the community living outside a rainforest buffer zone.