Farman, Khame and Zena received five hives in 2017 as a part of a vocational training programme led by local NGO, Zhako Small Village Project (ZSVP), with support from UNDP Iraq and the Government of Germany. In total, 200 households across the Ninewa Plains and Dohuk were selected to receive hives, along with safety clothes and tools, and training on apiculture, business management and post-harvest marketing. Households were selected based on both a financial needs assessment and the interest and motivation of recipients; which included vulnerable host community members, returnees and IDPs that otherwise would not have access to sustainable livelihoods opportunities.
This project came at a time when the liberation against ISIL was nearing an end. Previously displaced populations began returning to their homes, often to a community with little left in the way of business and employment opportunities. Small-scale agriculture – including poultry, vegetable farming and apiculture provided opportunities to families not only to earn an income, but re-engage with neighbors, and in taking ownership of their own food production, empower individuals, whilst providing nutritional benefits!
In the sweeping grasses of the Ninewa plains, these bees continue to thrive. Unlike the higher-altitude-loving bees of Sinjar and Choman, the bees here produce a less floral – but no less sweet - honey, feeding mostly in vegetable gardens.