Islam Daghlas, 23, Jenin Beekeepers Cooperative Association, Palestine
My story of beekeeping started in 2012 when I was 12 years old. Since I was young, I loved raising domestic animals and that is why I joined the College of Veterinary Medicine. I am a professional beekeeper in Palestine and formed the Jenin Beekeepers Cooperative Association when I was 19 years old. Today, the cooperative has 40 members.
At the time our cooperative was established, the concept of cooperative work was not common in my community, but its establishment has played a very important role in developing the principles of cooperative work among beekeepers, especially considering the difficult political conditions and challenges the Palestinian society is facing by the Israeli occupation.
Through the cooperative, my fellow beekeepers and I can develop our beekeeping skills and capabilities through cooperation and exchange of experiences. Our cooperative also contributed significantly by providing production resources to its members, which led to the development of their businesses, and introducing agricultural technology to the field of beekeeping.
In our cooperative, all members play an important role in developing plans, strategies, and decision-making. This has contributed to the development of my professional abilities in beekeeping and helped me evolve a personal hobby into a career and a main income source.
Through my work with the cooperative I learned new skills, improved my experience in planning and management. Being in a cooperative was a gateway to enter the market in an early stage in my life, giving me a chance to network with other people in the community, and build a professional identity in the local market.
The Jenin Beekeepers Cooperative Association symbolizes the true meaning of teamwork, equity, and justice for all its members. The cooperative has also contributed to strengthening the role of youth and women in cooperative work, as well as the Economic and Social Development Center of Palestine.
The cooperative was and still is a great opportunity for me to see the world in a different perspective. It has an important impact on my personal life as well. Being a member in the cooperative means that true strength lies in the unity which will grant us a cohesive society, preserved identity, and a better future.