Grenada: Six Month Work Review

 

Monthly reports are part of most Response volunteer’s life. Luckily I do not have to do the Peace Corps reporting that is now computerized matrix to input numbers based on objectives. Lots of monitoring and reporting. It’s great to understand whats going on, but it’s really difficult to understand what is really happening on the ground through those numbers. I understand needing the quantifying of our very undefinable jobs as Peace Corps volunteers. Here on Grenada, the 27-month volunteers have very specific roles as Teaching Assistants for primary schools for reading development skills.

In the Peace Corps St. Lucia office

The other Response volunteers work with children with learning and behavior challenges at a school and children’s home, respectfully, another at the national museum and me with the beekeeping association on the island.

As nice as it is having a defined job description, what is the likelihood you do any or all of them when you get to a developing country? It’s depends upon the expectations of the organization and their resources frankly. As most Response positions on the island, expectations were high and what we would be able to accomplish and semi-unrealistic. It’s hard to get someone to come down from a cloud. Even worse when they are unwilling to see what’s on the ground to work with or lend a hand.

The front of the Sub office where my office is

This an edited summary report that I’ve submitted to my partnering association, Peace Corps, and other partners I have on the island.  There are sections for my recommendations to the partner organization and Peace Corps/Response as well a list of my major collaborators that I have left off but very valuable to document and share. Also I have added pictures where possible to help illustrate 🙂

____________________________________________
History of Partnering
Organization
Formed in 1998, Grenada Beekeeping Association (GAB) was
formed from fourteen young persons that took a 2-week beekeeping course
organized by Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).
Initial funding came from Agency for Rural Transformation (ART) and the
National Development Foundation (NDF). Until 2009, the Ministry of Agriculture
(MoA) also provided subvention and a technical officer from the Veterinary and
Livestock Division of the MoA had been assigned full time to assist GAB
members.  Their office at the Ministry of
Agriculture Extension office in Grenville.
“Over the period 2002 to 2008, the
number of registered beekeepers increased from twenty-seven to fifty-seven; the
number of hives in use increased from 810 to 1710 units; and honey production
increased from 13,324lb to 28,129lb. (These figures can be verified from
official statistics.) Present estimates indicate that the number of hives has
dropped to 1400, but the yield per colony has increased because of better
beekeeping practices. This is mainly due to the efforts of GAB to improve the
ability of beekeepers and to have beekeeping equipment and materials available
at most times, and at reasonable costs to beekeepers.”
Previously the association had been a co-host to the
Caribbean Beekeeping Congress (2011), participated in World Food Day Celebrations
(2009) and the week of Agriculture (2010) along with producing a GAB news
bulletin (2009) but has not been sustained. In the past the Association ordered
wood goods (hive & hive products) and equipment in mass, stored it in a
container and sold it to beekeepers as needed. A small profit was made from
resale of honey and goods. On April 1, 2011 became a registered incorporated
body.
Currently and for the past 5 years GAB has faced many
challenges. First the lack of subvention from the Ministry of Agriculture and
the increase of tariffs on imports has made purchasing a bulk order of goods
nearly impossible. In this time many beekeepers have started to import goods
themselves (typically from Trinidad) or make them on the island.
Since 2010, there has been a change of policy on the import
of ‘breeder queens’ from outside of the island. This is still a challenge that
is a topic of conversation between GAB and MoA presently and as of October 2015
200+ queens have been purchased and brought in via GAB and MoA and purchased by
beekeepers on the island.
Peace Corps was contacted and the Association requested a
response volunteer to help specifically to develop the beekeeping industry in
Grenada and expand membership to maximize potential. Specifically by identifying
good genetic material, training 20 in an intro to beekeeping course, train 10
trainers in advance queen-rearing for Trainer of Trainer model, produce 500
queens for local beekeepers and region, develop a queen rearing manual specific
to Grenada.
Ministry of Agriculture, F.
and F. (2015). 2010-2011 Annual Agriculture Review Grenada W.I. St.
George’s Grenada: Ministry of Agriculture.

Grenada Association of Beekeepers logo
Focus of work
Activities
With financial and political challenges and lack of
resources faced by the association the volunteer has identified these potential
short term goals:
Collaborate with beekeepers on
best practices, challenges, solutions, goals and gaining feedback throughout
the process
Creating ongoing training
programming for beekeepers, public and partnering shareholders’ staff
Identifying good genetic stock for
queen rearing to increase honey production and training of trainers to do so as
well
Assist in increasing overall
knowledge of bees, nectar, propolis and pollen sources
Assist in developing beekeeping
industry in Grenada and assist in increasing public knowledge of the industry.
Major Accomplishments
From the time I have arrived on island April 16, 1st
day of work was April 20th until October 31st (6 months
of service) I have accomplished:
  • Met personally with 43
    beekeepers/interested people in beekeeping21 of those visited their
    apiary/bee yard

    15 of the visited apiaries we
    worked the bees that day

  • Met 12 extension officers,
    ministry officials, St. George University contacts, other individuals that work in the
    agriculture industry
  • Met the Grenada Association of Beekeepers
    Executive Board along with the Chief Veterinary Officer for the
    Ministry of Agriculture
  • Followed up with Ministry of Agriculture Chief Veterinary Office (via email) specifically for filling out paperwork on Grenada
    clearance for honey to be accepted into the U.K. for beekeepers to enter
    London Honey Show October 29-31st 2015.
  • Had check-in meeting
    with Peace Corps Associate Country Program Director, current and previous Grenada Association of Beekeepers’ President to put 2 months of planning in
    place.
  • Met with Peace Corps Associate Country Program Director, 2 Executive Board members and previous Association President to discuss and clarify overall plan
    with Response volunteer as it pertains to training. Volunteer is to take
    the lead and consult with Association as needed.
Group of attendees of the Queen Rearing Course at St. George’s University at the Bee College

 

  • Attended the 4 day St.
    George’s University Bee College in St. George’s
  • Attended GAB membership
    meetings (3 total) and The Goat Dairy board meeting &
    On-Farm Workshop
  • Discussed, researched and
    wrote Response Counterpart Workshop proposal with assistance of my Associate Country Program Director fellow Response volunteers and 27-month volunteer
The Goat Dairy Project at Belmont Estate

 

Training and Courses:
  • Met, followed up and wrote
    proposal with 4-H Extension liaison for St. Andrew’s, on
    term-long project for 12-16 year olds on pollinators, habitat and
    conservation
    Emailed Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture
    (IICA) and
    National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) or Caribbean
    Vocational Qualifications (CVQ) certification about current and past
    trainings held in regard to beekeeping (none as of lately nor in the near
    future)
  • Followed up on status of
    reply from T.A. Marryshow Community College on access to Mirabeau farm
    school and course syllabus for Apiculture they teach
  • Created overarching
    syllabus with 10 courses that I thought would be beneficial to beekeepers
    and potential beekeepers in Grenada and shared it with the membership
  • Followed up with past
    teachers of beekeeping courses on the island
  • Drafted “Introduction to
    Successful Beekeeping: What you need to get started” outline, wrote
    PowerPoint with overview of GAB membership
  • Finalized power point
    presentation and needed resources for Intro class, further reviewed and
    added classes to overall syllabus for beekeeping classes
  • Identified interested
    people that would be interested in the beekeeping class and make record of
    their contact information. Collaborated to identify potential stakeholders
    and community partners to communicate via posted letters in the next week
    or two about the details on the classes being held
  • Met and planned additional
    meetings, trainings and brainstormed agenda with the
    Ministry of Agriculture Extension Agent for Beekeeping; presented
    Introduction to Beekeeping course and additional course syllabus to
    membership meeting
  • Met with  Ministry of Agriculture Extension Agent for Beekeeping and Chief Veterinary Officer  to discuss ideas planned for moving forward with
    trainings. Letter was drafted and sent to Principal at T.A.
    Marryshow Community College for access and use of Mirabeau Farm School
  • Set time, dates and place
    for Introduction to Beekeeping class, sent letters to potential
    stakeholders and community partners about details of class with assistance
    of Ministry of Agricultural Extension Agent and Office in Grenville.
Flyer for ‘Introduction to Successful Beekeeping: Getting Started in Beekeeping”
  • Contacted 20 interested
    people that expressed interest in the beekeeping class via phone, email
    and in persn
  • Emailed or whatapps’ed
    another 20 partnering individuals, 16 Peace Corps volunteers & staff,
    16 NGO’s and partnering institutions, 25 attendees of the Bee College to
    alert and invite them to the class.
  • Taught class to 7 people
    and have another 14 signed up for another class held in October for total
    of 21 for 2 classes.
Flyer for “Pest, Disease and Pest Management: Identification and Understanding”
  • Planned 2nd class
    on Pest, Disease and Pest Management with Beekeeping Extension Agent and
    SGU Lab Researcher to be held in October
  • Taught Pest, Disease and
    Pest Management class to 3 beekeepers, hope to offer this again in late
    November and late January.
Additional Community Partners:
  • Attended GRENED meeting to
    better understand community need and how organization assists youths in
    the community
  • Partnered with Belmont
    Estate to create simple business and action plan for bees to be
    established on the estate, including training of trainer for estate to
    also train staff on better understanding and best practices (ongoing 2 pg
    word document emailed)
  • Attended Saint Andrews
    Development Organization (SADO) planning meeting for Rainbow City event in
    Grenville happening before Carnival to assist beekeepers in preparing for
    possibly exhibiting
  • Met with Grand Bras Farms
    to discuss pollination benefits to the farm and best practices having bees
    on the property
Grand Bras Farm, a historic estate that is now being used for short crop and vegetable production
Research, Networking and Organizing
  • Drafted project plan for
    self-started projects, events, and notable dates
  • Continued researching and
    compiling world honey, pollen, and propolis plant sources to create
    Caribbean and Grenada specific plant lists
  • Wrote, applied and my abstract was accepted
    for Apimondia, an international beekeeping
    conference being held in Seoul, Korea September 15-20, 2015
  • Networked with many people
    on the island along with inquiring about resources on the island for
    beekeepers and the association
Potential Projects
for Rest of Service
  • Plan and draft “Nectar,
    Pollen and Propolis Plant Sources’ outline, write PowerPoint, layout and
    create plant identification manual for Grenada specific plants
    (PowerPoint, list of resources, images and people; small Âź page booklet
    identification manual on plants) Tentatively set for late January and
    start mentioning it to potential attendees mid-late December
  • Offer ‘Intro to Successful
    Beekeeping’ and ‘Pest, Disease and Integrated Pest Management’ courses on
    ad-hoc basis in January-March.
  • Plan and draft “Beekeeping
    Basics:1st year of Beekeeping in Grenada’ outline, write
    PowerPoint, layout and source apiary for hands on examples for class
    (PowerPoint, list of resources, images and people; apiary; protective gear
    for attendees) Tentatively set for February and start mentioning it to
    potential attendees January
  • Plan and draft “Bee and
    Hive Anatomy’ outline, write PowerPoint, source needed items for bee
    dissection-pinning boards, microscopes, tweezers (PowerPoint, list of
    resources, images and people; apiary; protective gear for attendees)
    Tentatively set for March and start mentioning it to potential attendees
    February.
  • Continue attending GAB
    membership meetings as needed; following up and assisting beekeepers with
    questions and work alongside with them when possible in their apiaries.
  • Continue communicating
    with GAB membership, Grenada MoA & extension officers, beekeepers and
    interested people, partnering organizations who have shown interest in
    beekeeping (i.e. 4-H, Belmont Estate, Grand Bras) and any others who ask
    assistance of information.
  • Continue to network and
    research potential contacts on and outside of Grenada for information,
    best practices and further information on techniques, plants, and
    resources.
  • Continue to offer support,
    solicit feedback and constructive criticism from work partners, class
    attendees and Peace Corps staff and volunteers.

 


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