Bee Aid International was founded in early 2015 after Kris Fricke returned from a conference on African Beekeeping that had been held in Arusha, Tanzania. Kris had previously done many development projects, brought in as the technical expert on beekeeping, but at the conference he saw that there were many more communities that were very desirous of good training, but lacked any funding for a project. When Kris returned to the states, he continued to think about all these potential projects that lack funding, and all the possible ways to do fundraising. Why wait for a project that has been funded by the laborous process of government grants (as existing projects have been), when there's a rich culture of charitable donations that is currently not being tapped for this! Bee Aid International was born!
Why bees? -- Beekeeping is the epitome of the "to teach a man to fish" proverb. Teach a man (or woman!) to keep bees, and how a proper hive should be made, and they not only have another easy source of income for themselves, but they can teach others in the community, and then usually local carpenters will start to specialize in making hives and have income that way, garment makers will have a new market for protective clothing, and metal-smiths will have a market for the necessary tools. In the other direction in the supply chain there's often middle-men (more often than not women) who specialize in buying honey from the farmers and selling it in the market, and with additional training marketable opportunities with wax products can also be developed. Impact reports have indicated a 56-66% increase in income of the entire community previous projects have been completed in.
Kris Fricke currently runs Bee Aid International. He became a hobbyist beekeeper around 1995, and a professional beekeeper in 2005. He has kept bees professionally in California and Australia, as well as worked on projects in Nigeria, Ethiopia, Egypt, and Guinea. At one time he was personally keeping 500 hives, though after that he decided his passion isn't keeping as many hives as he can, but being flexible enough to do as many development projects as he can. He dreams of someday being able to work on development projects full time.