February 24, 2022
PHNOM PENH – A beekeeping program aimed at empowering women and preserving biodiversity was officially launched earlier this week in the presence of Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie, according to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts.
The Women for Bees program aims to conserve Apiscerana and Apisdorsata, honey bees native to Angkor Archaeological Park. It will also promote sustainable beekeeping and empower women by helping them earn a living for their families and communities.
According to a Feb. 22 announcement from the Apsara National Authority (ANA) — a government agency tasked with managing Angkor Park — Jolie paid a working visit to the park on Feb. 20-21 and attended the official launch part of the UNESCO Guerlain Women for Bee program, supported by ANA.
Jolie is said to be the godmother of the program, which is sponsored by French perfume company Guerlain.
“Jolie also took the opportunity to visit Angkor Wat and with her significant presence she helped promote the site to the world. Your visit will help reassure the world that Cambodia is a safe travel destination, even during the Covid-19 pandemic,” she added.
Hosted in UNESCO-designated Biosphere Reserves around the world with the support of France’s Observatoire Francais d’Apidologie (OFA), the program has Jolie as its sponsor and contributes to its twin goals of empowering women and human rights To promote the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.
Jolie told People magazine in late 2021 that she was working with UNESCO and Guerlain on a women’s beekeeping initiative.
“This program aims to build 2,500 hives and repopulate 125 million bees by 2025, while also training and supporting 20 beekeepers and entrepreneurs to become self-employed,” she said.
“We want to make sure there are at least 50 women from 25 biospheres to understand the biospheres and why it’s important to map and build the team. We will continue to work with UNESCO to understand how to expand our collaboration with some of these countries and biospheres – the next training will be in Samlot, my home in Cambodia,” she said.
UNESCO says that by focusing on bee protection, welfare and repopulation, and education, the program aims to enable women’s social empowerment through expertise-driven sustainable professional activity.