Angelina Jolie is saving the bees and supporting women at the same time. The actress, filmmaker, and humanitarian was named the “Godmother” of the 2021 Women for Bees program, made in partnership with Guerlain and UNESCO, which will train women beekeepers from all over the world and empower them to be entrepreneurs.
The 30-day program begins on June 21, 2021 at the French Observatory of Apidology (OFA) in Provence. The training will be led by the OFA, aimed to teach participants about running their own apiaries, the protocols to sustain their bee colonies, how to become professional beekeeper-entrepreneurs, and more.
The goal is that in five years, 50 women will have gone through the program, 2,500 hives will have been built in 25 UNESCO biosphere reserves, and 125 million bees will have been restocked. Such reserves are located in countries including France, Italy, Russia, Slovenia, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and China.
“Guerlain have a genuine commitment to the environment, sustainable development and the communities they work with. That’s what brought us together, and Women for Bees is a wonderful extension of that,” Jolie tells BAZAAR.com. As Godmother, she’ll meet the beekeepers in training and track their progress.
“When women gain skills and knowledge their instinct is to help raise others,” Jolie added in a statement. “I’m excited to meet the women taking part in this program from all over the world. I look forward to getting to know them and learning about their culture and environment and the role bees play in that. I hope the training will strengthen their independence, their livelihoods and their communities.”
Bees are beneficial to agriculture; over 70 of the top 100 crops that provide 90 percent of the world’s food are pollinated by bees, according to the Convention on Biological Diversity. But they can also stimulate the local economy, too. Beekeeping can provide a source of income and a financial resource, especially in disadvantaged areas.
Guerlain, a longtime supporter of bee conservation (the insect is its logo), launched the Women for Bees program with UNESCO in 2020, according to the brand, to combat the species’ startling mortality rate.
Jolie, who became the face of Guerlain in 2017, has also been working with the French perfumer on the issue. Speaking to BAZAAR.com in 2019, she revealed the brand assisted with her “humble, small beekeeping program” in Cambodia. “We hope our new project will help create jobs and skills while protecting biodiversity in the area. If it goes well, we will see if we can replicate it in other areas.”
She added at the time, “That’s all each of us can do: something small, make sure it works, and hope that through practice we can show that to be responsible with land is the better practice.”
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