A year later, Angelina Jolie and Guerlain continue to fight for the global preservation of bees

Last year, I announced that historic French cosmetics house Guerlain would partner with Angelina Jolie and UNESCO’s Women for Bees program to help counter the plummeting rate of the world’s bee population. Now, a year later, the 50 women who have been trained as beekeepers through the program have graduated and will enter beekeeping training programs with the help of Jolie and a second $1 million donation. euros made by Guerlain.

This stage of efforts will see the launch of the Cambodian phase of the program. 12 of the new trainee beekeepers who were chosen by the UNESCO team in Phenom Pen with Jolie’s charitable foundation in the region, the MJP Foundation, will enter a six-month training which was officially inaugurated by Jolie.

The main objective of the Guerlain x UNESCO Women for Bees program is twofold: to create entrepreneurship and employment opportunities for women while working to repopulate declining bee populations, an insect that plays a vital role in pollination and therefore food security. According to the IPBES assessment report on pollinators, pollination and food production, almost 75% of all cultivated plants and 90% of wild flowering plants depend on pollinators, including bees.

“In 2021, we partnered with UNESCO and actress and philanthropist Angelina Jolie to launch the Women for Bees program with meaningful goals for 2025: 2,500 beehives installed in the heart of 25 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves , 125 million bees repopulated and 50 women trained and supported. in the creation of their own beekeeping operation,” says Cécile Lochard, Guerlain’s Sustainable Development Director.

“After the first training program in France and now this second in Cambodia, the Women for Bees program will have trained a total of 18 beekeepers, all of whom are setting up their own beekeeping operations around the world. And by the end of the program’s first year, we’re on track to have repopulated nearly 25 million bees.

Earlier this year, Jolie – who is the muse of the house and the godmother of the beekeeping program – traveled to Cambodia to launch the 6-month training program for 12 beekeepers where she was joined by a graduate from inaugural class of the program, beekeeper Aggelina Kanellopoulou. With Jolie’s support, Kanellopoulou acted as a mentor to new interns and shared her experiences with them, including her training in beekeeping best practices.

As part of the tour, the two traveled to Siam Reap, Samlot district and the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Tonle Sap, which is part of the Angkor Archaeological Park. Jolie also stopped by local secondary schools, forest conservation and biodiversity study sites in the reserve and also took part in a beekeeping session at the Guerlain Bee School in the Samlot district.

Jolie’s participation in the Guerlain x UNESCO Women for Bees program came full circle with this recent visit as she was the one who brought Guerlain to the Southeast Asian nation in 2019 to begin her work with the French house. . Cambodia was the backdrop for their first My Guerlain Together advert and during the visit, she and the Guerlain team met members of the MJP Foundation as well as residents of the communities that benefit from the foundation’s work.

Jolie’s passion for Cambodia is in part to honor her son Maddox’s homeland from there (the MJP in her foundation’s name stands for the initials of her son, Maddox Jolie Pitt). Jolie chose to found the foundation in the Samlot region because it was the region of the country that was most affected by the Cambodian civil war.

As part of its mission, the MJP Foundation aims to fight against the extreme poverty that exists in rural areas of Cambodia. Carrying out its mission has many facets, including improving health and health services, education, agriculture, and women’s empowerment programs. Emphasis is also placed on environmental protection and wildlife conservation in the region. Additionally, the foundation educates farmers on how to get the maximum yield and utility from their livestock, land, and other resources and is also trained to raise bees for honey production.

Both the MJP Foundation and the Guerlain x UNESCO Women for Bees Program must fight against strong Cambodian cultural values ​​linked to wild honey to carry out their missions in terms of bee preservation. The use of wild honey is widespread in traditional Cambodian medicines, and beeswax for blessing ceremonies is deeply embedded in the culture, so much so that honey hunting is considered a long-standing ancestral tradition.

But this honey hunting along with deforestation and pesticides are the main threats to the bee population in Cambodia, so the goal of all parties involved is to change the value system around wild honey in Cambodia through the education, awareness and training that extend beyond the beekeeping program trainees. Tour guides are also being trained under a pilot program that uses the guides as disseminators of information to the general public, including tourists, about the importance of native bee conservation.

In addition to these long-term efforts, Guerlain calls on its supporters, customers and all those who wish to contribute to the preservation of bees to buy their products between May 20 (World Bee Day) and May 22 (International Bee Day). biological diversity) during which 20% of all sales will be donated to the program. Besides, everything sales of the limited-edition Abeille Royale Oil-in-Eau, whose bottle has been decorated with works of art designed by the famous designer and artist Tomáš Libertíny, will go to the bee program. Guerlain also took this digital initiative via an activation where €20 will be donated for each repost (with the hashtags #GuerlainForBees and #WorldBeeDay) of Tomáš Libertíny’s visual created for the house’s social networks.

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