Angelina Jolie’s latest project is decidedly buzzworthy.
The renowned filmmaker and philanthropist teamed up with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and French cosmetics company Guerlain to support a new Women for Bees program.
The program has two aims: bringing more women into the beekeeping fold, and protecting bees.
Empowering women in this specific field is a focal point because beekeeping “can generate income in rural areas for disadvantaged populations who don’t own crops or farms,” UNESCO says of the program. “It can also generate income and improve food security in areas where agricultural production is minimal.” In all, officials expect to help 50 women over the course of the 5-year program.
In addition to training, participants will also be given hives and swarms to work with upon completion. While speaking with Vogue, Jolie, a special envoy of the UN, bemoaned the lack of similar programs worldwide, and the widespread lack of understanding for their necessity. “It’s angering [sic] that we have to keep explaining this,” she told the magazine. “These kinds of things make a difference in how women can become less vulnerable and in some cases even survive this life.”
The program welcomes women from all over the world — though the first class was admittedly composed mostly of nearby French residents, due to Covid-related travel restrictions.
Jolie and the rest of the team are in it for the bees as well, which play an integral role in pollinating our food crops internationally, helping feed humans everywhere. They also play a large part in the growth of wildflowers, promoting biodiversity. And, of course, they produce honey, an important food source for humans in its own right, with numerous health benefits.
Ultimately, officials say, this is the sort of program that’s good for everyone, everywhere — especially since, as Jolie notes, “when women gain skills and knowledge, their instinct is to help raise others.”