In establishing the Beehive Centre of Social Enterprise in Malawi, it was important to everyone involved that it became a locally run enterprise, managed by Malawian people. Krizevac Project provides ongoing support in a variety of ways, to help Beehive build capacity and expand its impact on the local community. We work closely with Beehive Management in developing our shared vision for the future. Beehive is designed as a self-sustaining model that funds all its ongoing running costs. Krizevac Project, however, supports Beehive by funding all construction projects, using donations received from our UK supporters. We also sponsor professionals to go to Malawi to provide expertise and training, helping to build up local capacity in high quality teaching and construction. Further to this we collect and ship unwanted items from the UK to Malawi, such as bikes and sewing machines that are then used to help generate local businesses.
Krizevac Project works closely with Beehive Management supporting them in ensuring proper control and direction of all its enterprises. Together we work through challenges that arise and discuss changes that need to be made to get the most from everything that we do. We are not afraid to close failing enterprises or pivot our approach to maximise our impact on the local community. We also work together in envisioning how Beehive can expand to reach more people and further alleviate the effects of poverty on the local community. We have found bringing together local and international knowledge and expertise is powerful, as it allows us to come up with new and innovative ways to grow that will work within the local context.
Our current vision is to turn the existing Beehive Campus into a dedicated educational campus. We want to offer high quality education from nursery through to young adults, and plan to repurpose the Beetech, Admin and JPII buildings into a new secondary school. In order to achieve this, the enterprises that use these buildings need to be moved off site.Here we want to create the ‘Beehive Technology and Enterprise Park’, which will house these businesses and future ones, as well as the St John Paul II Leadership and IT college. We want to create a world-class, work-learn campus that becomes a centre for technology within the area. Not only will this create many more local jobs, but it will raise peoples aspirations and connect them to the global technology market.
Krizevac Project has funded all construction projects at Beehive since 2000, as well as a few key community projects in the surrounding area, including schools, a victim support unit and churches. We believe in the importance of investing in high quality buildings to raise aspirations and achieve this with the support of local and international, world-class Architects and Engineers, who have generously volunteered their time over the years. Our focus is to deliver buildings that are fit for purpose, quickly and cost effective, whilst being ethical and sustainable in the process. When designing new buildings, or refurbishing existing ones, the following principles guide our work:
A focus on quality is at the heart of all our work and we support Beehive in creating both a high quality environment and standard of service. To ensure Beehive’s campus is of international standard, we sponsor volunteer Architects and Engineers to go to Malawi and work with Beehive’s in-house construction team to create each new building. These volunteers bring with them skills and experience that cannot be found locally and provide a fresh outlook on what can be created with the local skills and materials available. The diversity of our volunteers has lead to a dynamic and engaging campus, with a range of different buildings that all utilise Beehive’s own hydraform blocks. Volunteers work closely with the local construction team to ensure the suitability and buildability of each project within the local context. A key part of each volunteers role is to share knowledge and expertise about design with their Malawian colleagues, to build up local capacity.
We also sponsor volunteer teachers and childcare professionals who go to Malawi to work with local staff in creating and maintaining a high quality of education at the Mother Teresa Nursery. UK Teachers who specialise in the UK SureStart model were initially sent out to train local teachers in this way of teaching, which focuses on the importance of play in early childhood development. Subsequent volunteers have been sent to help establish monitoring and evaluation procedures for the centre, to maintain a high quality of care and record the impact the centre is having on the local community. Volunteers have been vital in helping local staff set up these systems, again sharing their knowledge and skills, helping to build up local capacity. We will do the same with the opening of St. Kizito Primary School, which is currently under construction, as well as the future secondary school.
In establishing a number of Beehive’s enterprises it became obvious that we can utilise unwanted goods from the UK and create sustainable busineses in Malawi that provide both jobs and services local people need. Beebikes was created through the collection of unwanted UK bikes and a local team is employed to renovate the bikes, which are then sold to local people at an affordable price. Owning a bike in Malawi can significantly improve quality of life, as many people don’t have their own means of transport and have to walk miles to work. Beehive Tailoring uses unwanted UK sewing machines for their courses. Graduates are then able to buy a machine at the end of the course for a small fee, which gives them the means to set up their own tailoring businesses. These items not only create opportunties for local people that they would otherwise not have had, but they also allow us to keep down costs by using free goods.
As a landlocked country Malawi has to import most of its goods, making many items more expensive than they are in the UK. Using donated items allows us to avoid these unnecessary costs, whilst providing resources that many Malawians could otherwise not afford. Further to this, it reflects our passion for minimising our impact on the planet, by recycling resources that would otherwise end up in landfill. The Cycle of Good enterprise, is a key example of how waste materials can be recycled and made into new items that not only extend the life of the material itself, but create a product for resale, providing a source of income for Beehive. To find out more about the work we do at the Cycle of Good, please follow the link to the website here.