Hanging beehives in the dark in Tanzania

Women’s Beekeeping Initiative


Our Women’s Beekeeping Initiative empowers more than 1,900 women across one hundred groups to develop and grow their own environmentally friendly businesses.

The elevation of rural women as messengers of environmental protection, equality, and sustainable development is critical to long-term conservation success in our partner communities. Beekeeping activities provide the dual benefit of improving women's economic status and autonomy while helping to protect critical habitats for large carnivores, prey species, and livestock.

Supporting Female Entrepreneurs

Many of the participants in the Women's Beekeeping Initiative belong to the Maasai tribe. According to tradition, these women lack decision-making power if they are financially dependent on their husbands. As entrepreneurs with their own income, Maasai women are able to increase their involvement and status in the community, invest in health care, send their children to school, and reduce their families’ environmental impact.

Entrepreneurial Skill Building

APW provides women with the skills they need to be successful entrepreneurs over the long term. Before launching their own businesses, members of our Women’s Beekeeping Initiative receive training in the essential skills of enterprise management, record keeping, project supervision, and monitoring and evaluation. As their businesses develop, the women receive additional training over time to strengthen and expand their knowledge.

Group at a Women's Beekeeping Initiative meeting

Beekeeping Business Development and Expansion

After participating women’s groups complete entrepreneurship training, they are eligible to apply for microgrants to launch their beekeeping businesses. By selling wildlife-friendly honey to local lodges, the women earn a sustainable revenue stream they can use to support their families, develop additional businesses, and become true entrepreneurs. As their businesses grow, the women’s groups support one another through mentorship and knowledge sharing. Along the way, APW’s beekeeping team provides support in hive management and harvesting, working with the women to improve harvest rates.

Maasai women studying

Community Conservation Projects

Rather than requesting traditional repayment, we ask women to pay back their microgrants in the form of conservation gains. The women commit to lead projects such as village cleanups, tree plantings, watershed restoration work, and environmental education outreach. When other local people see and participate in these activities, community attitudes toward conservation improve.

Maasai women planting with a watering can

Wildlife-Friendly Honey and Habitat Protection

Members of our Women’s Beekeeping Initiative have hung more than 1,360 beehives in locations that conserve critical wildlife habitats. Under the Tanzanian Beekeeping Act, areas where hives are hung are protected from tree cutting and cultivation. The honey is bottled and sold under the brand Mama Asali, which means Mama Honey in Swahili. Mama Asali is marketed as a wildlife-friendly, premium product.

Erika Piñeros/APW
Woman holding a jar of Mama Asali honey with a yellow dress
Beekeeper trying on a suit

From Hive to Thrive

Dive into our interactive StoryMap about the Women's Beekeeping Initiative. During this online journey, you'll explore how the program works through photos, videos, and data and learn about the impact on women and their communities.

I see a bright future after receiving the money we earned from the first harvest. I will be better able to take care of my family. I can spend more on healthcare and also save money for the future.

Salome Mpongoliana, Member of Ngao Women’s Group


Empowered Women and Girls

We tap into the unique knowledge and talents of African women and girls to elevate them as conservation champions.

Maasai women walking across the grass

Impact Stories

Meet some of the people whose lives have been changed through our community partnerships.

Woman holding honeycomb

Sustainable Rangelands

We work to keep these critical habitats open and flourishing for the long-term benefit of people and wildlife.

Man monitoring plant height and cover