As new entrepreneurs, the Cambodian women will become members of a global community of women beekeepers who will enhance local biodiversity and pass on their own knowledge about the crucial role pollination plays in food security and ecosystem management. Today, about 75% of all food crops and 90% of wild flowering plants depend on pollinators, including bees.
What would the world be without bees? Addressing the risks of bee population decline to the world’s food, nutrition and environmental security is an approach in which many individuals and companies are involved. Last month, Angelina Jolie launched a training program for beekeeping apprentices identified by the UNESCO team in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, in collaboration with the Maddox JoliePitt Foundation (MJP).
In Cambodia, wild honey is one of the main ingredients in traditional medicine, and beeswax is commonly used for blessing ceremonies. Deforestation, the use of pesticides in agriculture, and unsustainable honey hunting are among the main threats facing native bee populations in that country.
Cambodia is a country especially close to the heart of Angelina Jolie. Almost twenty years ago, she established a foundation in the name of her son Maddox in the Samlot region, one of the areas most affected by the Civil War. The JP Foundation is committed to alleviating extreme rural poverty, protecting the environment, and conserving wildlife in rural areas of the Northwest of that country.
It also supports Cambodians as they build their community and protect their natural resources. In addition to health, education, agriculture, and women’s empowerment programs, it provides training to farmers and the community to help them make the best use of their livestock, land, and resources. This includes training in raising bees for honey production.
In partnership with Guerlain, Angelina also visited forest and biodiversity conservation study sites within the UNESCO biosphere reserve, as well as local high schools with the MJP Foundation teams.