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Jara Beekeeping Brings Hope: Vazha’s Story

 

Fifty-seven years old Vazha Kedelidze from Kedlebi Village, Khulo is one of ten students who enrolled in the beekeeping programme at Akhali Talgha vocational college in August.

Vazha retired from his position as a fireman five years ago. Soon after, his wife had a severe injury that left her unable to take care of their farm. As Vazha says, beekeeping is now the mainstay of his family. His beekeeper friend helped him to arrange an apiary of twenty hives.

I discovered that beekeeping is a philosophy on its own. Sometimes I sit for hours and observe bees working. I am trying to understand the process.’- Vazha says.

As a beginner beekeeper, Vazha is striving for knowledge and struggling to gain comprehensive information, as internet sources are not targeted to beginner beekeepers and he needed something hands on. He then heard about the beekeeping course at the Akhali Talgha VET collegein Khulo.

‘I do not know curriculum details yet, but I am sure I will get answers to my questions and I am looking forward to starting the learning process.’ – Says Vazha.

Vazha was even more surprised when he found out a Jara beekeeping module:

‘I had heard about Jara from villagers and television. It is a fascinating and very unique tradition. Last year, I even made six Jara hives and could not proceed further due to a lack of knowledge. So, I am glad that I will learn more about this traditional beekeeping.’ – Says Vazha.

Akhali Talga VET college in Ajara is the first college in Georgia to have integrated Jara teaching in their beekeeping programme. They will teach the integrated programme from this semester to twenty-eight students.

In total, there are ten VET colleges in Georgia with either a two month or one-year beekeeping course. The Georgian Beekeepers Union (GBU), along with the Jara Beekeepers Association (JBA),  is now facilitating the integration of Jara module into beekeeping programmes of these ten colleges in cooperation with the sectoral skills organization Agro Duo and the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia. The JBA developed the Jara Honey Production Handbook: for Beekeeping Programmes at VET Colleges.

Jara is traditional wild beekeeping, rarely practiced nowadays, except for remote dwellings located in the subtropical and alpine zones of Western Georgia, namely, Ajara, emphasizing the importance of co-existence between humans and wild nature. It is a family activity led by a family head, with strong roots in traditional agriculture practice, culture and a way of living as a whole. That makes Jara unique. However, due to a limited market, it was nearly fading outback in 2014 when the ALCP found out about it, and this is when the Jara journey began. It is now growing in 2018 the first commercial Jara harvest was 500kg it is now over 3 tonnes. Twenty-three Jara beekeepers are now Bio Certified and many people such as Vazha are anxious to start. Jara is a high value product with very strong demand it retails for 90 Gel/kg.

OTHER NEWS
21/07/2017
Another Memorandum with the Women's Rooms of Ajara

On 18th of July, six Women’s Rooms (WRs) of Ajara region have expanded their linkages by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs of Ajara Autonomous Republic. The Ministry will use the Women’s Rooms to reach the rural population though disseminating information and organizing meeting on the health-care programs implemented by the Ministry via WRs.

21/07/2017
Successful Fundraising Story from Shuakhevi

Shuakhevi municipality will have a Rehabilitation Center for the People with Disabilities soon to serve people with the special needs living in Shuakhevi, Khulo and Keda municipalities. The Government of Ajara Autonomous Republic has recently supported and financed the initiative with 196 000 Gel for its construction works.

4 months ago the municipality displayed the idea, which has been floating for years, on EEG Event for fundraising. The Deputy Gamgebeli of Shuakhevi municipality, Rusudan Shavadze, trained on the project writing, transferred the idea to the real project and the municipality was able to start attracting the funds for the implementation. After the EEG, the Association For Each Otherconducted the survey on the people with disabilities in the municipalities (Khulo, Shuakhevi, Keda) with the involvement of the local people; the Adjaristskali Georgia LLC expressed interest to make the contribution to the project; other organizations, like USAID and Embassy of France also are ready to contribute with providing training for inclusive education specialists, who will teach in the center. The contribution from each side is under discussion and will be known within month.

11/07/2017
Memorandum with the Women’s Rooms in Ajara

On 7th of July, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the Women’s Rooms and the Gender Equality Council of Supreme Council of Ajara Autonomous Republic. According to the MOU, the Council will work with municipalities through the WRs to raise public awareness of gender and increase women’s participation in the decision-making processes. The Gamgebelis and other municipality representatives attended the ceremony and supported the idea.

“The Women’s Rooms have become one of the main powers in ensuring gender equality in the municipalities. The MOU aims to continue and strengthen our cooperation with the WRs and fulfill the mission of increasing women’s participation in the public sector”- Nino Chkhetia, the Chairwoman of the Gender Equality Council.

20/06/2017
Premiere of Jara in Batumi

On 16th of June, the premiere of Jara was held in Batumi for the local governmental and non-governmental sector, funded and organized by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport of Ajara Autonomous Republic. The decision-makers of the region attended the screening: the Chairman of the Ajara Autonomous Republic, the local Ministers of Agriculture, Education and Health; the Mayor of Batumi, the representatives of Department of Tourism and Resorts of Ajara, municipalities and international organizations.

The film was received with great interest and applauses. Two main actors of the movie, who are also local residents and beekeepers themselves, were gifted with the modern honey extractor by the Minister of Agriculture.

09/06/2017
Wider Linkages for Women’s Rooms

The First Lady of Georgia Maka Chichua visited Bolnisi municipality’s educational- rehabilitation center for children with disabilities. While there she also received information about Bolnisi’s Municipally run Women’s Room, a service providing consultation and linkages to resources for local rural inhabitants. The First Lady was hosted by the Governor of Kvemo Kartli Grigol Nemsadze and the Gamgebeli of Bolnisi Municipality Davit Sherazadishvili. The Alliances Caucasus Programme who facilitated the inception of the rooms now present in 17 rural municipalities and two cities in Georgia was invited and highlighted the pertinence of the service to the supporting the initiative of the First Lady.

08/06/2017
Opportunities for Rural Women

Three local women have been employed by the Association for Each Other through Keda municipality Women’s Room. The women will conduct a survey about the people with disabilities in every administrative unit and village of the municipality.  

“The Women’s Room has given me an opportunity to get my own income. It’s temporary, but I think it will be the beginning of my active social life. This experience will give me new skills and become more involved in the local activities, I want to use this chance and make new linkages“. – says Mari Baramidze, one of the employed wom

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