Guerlain launches ´Women for Bees´ fundraising campaign
What would the world become without bees? Addressing the risks of honeybee population decline to the world’s food security, nutrition, and environmental safety, is an abiding focus for Guerlain. Today, the house carries that commitment even further. Following the summer 2021 graduation of the first cohort of beekeepers from the Guerlain x UNESCO Women for Bees programme, Angelina Jolie – Guerlain Muse and Godmother of the 2021 and 2022 cohorts – has officially launched a six-month training program for eleven new female beekeeping trainees identified by the UNESCO team in Phnom Penh in collaboration with the Maddox Jolie-Pitt (MJP) Foundation. She was joined in Cambodia by beekeeper Aggelina Kanellopoulou, a graduate from the 2021 cohort, who shared her experiences and exchanged the best practices in beekeeping with women in Siem Reap, the Samlot District and the Tonle Sap UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
The Guerlain x UNESCO Women for Bees initiative pro-motes diversified approaches to beekeeping, wherein different types of local beekeeping and bee activities, such as Rafter beekeeping, are supported with scientific and participatory methods, in line with the UNESCO Manand the Biosphere (MAB) programme’s objective to develop sustainable relationship between humans and nature. Biosphere reserves such as Tonle Sap are places that promote solutions reconciling the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use. The World Network of Biosphere Reserves is a unique international cooperation platform for sharing knowledge, exchanging experiences, building capacity and promoting good practices.
“One of the key challenges of our century is to reconcile humanity with nature and all living beings. This is precisely the goal of the 727 biosphere reserves designated by UNESCO in 131 countries, where local communities implement sustainable development. The Women for Bees Guerlain x UNESCO programme is one example among many initiatives that affirms that reconciliation with nature is not only possible, but in place. It empowers women beekeepers, helps improve livelihoods in vulnerable communities and serves as a model beyond the boundaries of UNESCO biosphere reserves.”
After the first training programme in the South of France in June 2021, this new phase aims to provide both theoretical and practical beekeeping knowledge and skills required to mount and manage a sustainable beekeeping operation. The eleven new trainees will also share knowledge about the particular importance of bees to Khmer history, as well as the particularities and challenges of conserving Cambodia’s native honeybees. As new entrepreneurs, the Cambodian women will become members of a worldwide community of women beekeepers who will enhance local biodiversity and pass on their own knowledge as ambassadors on the crucial role of pollination in food security and ecosystem management. Today close to 75% of all food crops and 90% of wild flowering plants depend on pollinators, including bees*.
The Guerlain x UNESCO Women for Bees programme also tackles the specific local value of and threats to the honeybee populations. In Cambodia, wild honey is one of the primary ingredients in traditional medicine and bees-wax is commonly used for blessing ceremonies, making honey hunting an ancestral activity. Deforestation, the use of pesticides in agriculture, and unsustainable honey hunting are among the primary threats facing Cambodia’s native honeybee populations. Working in partnership with local experts, the Cambodian phase of the Women for Bees initiative provides activities and trainings to women beekeepers as well, as part of a pilot awareness program for the general public, responding to governmental interest to inform on a national scale about the importance of native bee conservation, bringing the private sector on board to provide business opportunities and sustainable livelihoods. Equally as important as training and supporting female beekeeper-entrepreneurs from around the world is the global community network fostered by the Women for Beesprogramme to share local knowledge and know-how.
This dedication to women’s empowerment through the Women for Bees programme will continue throughout 2022 with beekeeper training for women in Ethiopia, Rwanda and China, followed by the Amazon region in 2023.“Thanks to the Women for Bees programme, the role played by women beekeepers around the world is recognized for the first time. Never has Guerlain carried out a project of such magnitude. We feel proud that this programme, which emphasises the role of women as “designers of change”, is now rolling out in Cambodia after France in 2021. Our consideration goes out to the 11 Cambodian women who joined the training programme and for their personal dedication to bees.”
From World Bee Day on May 20 to the International Day for Biological Diversity on May 22, Guerlain is again calling for a commitment from its communities and the global population at large. 20% of in-boutique and online sales will be donated to the Guerlain for Bees Conservation Programme, including sales of the limited-edition Huile-en-Eau Abeille Royale, which has been dressed up for the occasion by the artist Tomáš Libertíny. In addition, €20 will be donated for every Instagram repost of the visual created by Tomáš Libertíny that include the hashtags #GuerlainForBees and #WorldBeeDay. The maison aims to raise €1.000.000 in support of bees.
You can learn more about Guerlain’s charitable efforts and Women for Bees by clicking here