Year-round fresh moringa leaves and vegetables to fight malnutrition and hunger in Burkina Faso

Provide year-round moringa oleifera leaves and vegetables to villagers in Burkina Faso to fight hunger and malnutrition.

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Eligibility Criteria

  • I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria and terms of the Act for Biodiversity Challenge and that I am eligible to apply.
  • I am 18 years old or older.

Initiative's representative name

Luc Zio

Initiative's representative date of birth

10/18/1963

Initiative's representative gender

  • Man

Headquarters location: country

  • Burkina Faso

Headquarters location: city

Napone, Burkina Faso

Where are you making a difference?

SAME

Website or social media url(s)

http://www.ouaganet.org/ https://www.facebook.com/ouaganet

Date Started

01/2005

Project Stage

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working toward the next level of expansion)

Yearly Budget : What is your current yearly budget for the initiative?

  • €10k - €50k

Organization Type

  • Nonprofit/NGO

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.

My Aha moment came when I observed that there were growing cases of malnutrition in the rural communities of Napone, Burkina Faso. In addition, I realized that villagers were not practicing biodiversity techniques in their farms or lands surrounding the villages. As a result, They were cutting down trees, burning down the fields after the harvests to hunt, not planting vegetables, etc. They were treating harshly the environment in part due to their lack of knowledge and illiteracy. I started by introducing the idea of planting moringa trees, fruit plants, and evangelizing biodiversity practices in farming and gardening. Since moringa leaves are available year-round and the plants enrich the soil, I knew that it will be easily adopted.

2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

We are helping to solve the problem of desertification and hunger caused by a lack of biodiversity culture and the use of archaic and harmful agricultural practices. Villagers cut down trees, use harmful fertilizers and do not practice gardening or crop rotation. This problem is still around due to the following of ancestral practices which are no longer sustainable because of the huge degradation of nature and global climate change. Solving it matters today to tackle hunger and malnutrition.

3. Your solution: How are you working to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

We donate vegetable seeds to villagers as well as young moringa plants, papaya and fruit trees to selected farmers and students in the community. We teach them how to plant and grow these plants and vegetables. Moringa plants enrich the soil and can also be planted alongside corn. We also educate villagers not to cut down living trees, use harmful fertilizers or burn down the bush. Instead, organic fertilizers such as animal waste and dead leaves are recommended. For our own farm, every year at the start of the rainy season we acquire young moringa and papaya plants to start our production process. They are planted right away in a fenced farm to protect the plants from errand goats and sheep who will feed off them. With a good water supply, we can harvest and process leaves several times in the year. The plants keep producing a lot of leaves as long as they are properly trimmed and water is available. We also plant corn around the moringa to showcase how moringa trees act as a natural fertilizer to the corn in the hope that villagers will adopt these agricultural practices. Some of the leaves are donated to villagers and the majority sold for food supplements.

4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?

We provide hands-on training to villagers about planting certain trees or grow vegetables for food. This training helps to ensure high productivity for the vegetables. We also created a system to recuperate seeds among the gardeners in an effort for creating a seeds bank for future projects. An ongoing effort is to make our own local tea bags of moringa leaves which can be sold throughout the communities and even nationally. We are working on our own moringa tea label and will have some moringa tea bags for all to buy at a nominal price. This will have a positive effect on fighting malnutrition while cutting down moonshine alcohol consumption. We are also teaching young farmers to leverage social media for their garden's crops.

5. Collaboration: How does your initiative seek to bring key players together to preserve biodiversity?

Our initiative is bringing a close collaboration with the agronomists and ecologists from Burkina Faso. We receive benevolent support from them about questions surrounding the plants as well as the vegetables on their Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/474496822946642/ We are also talking to people on Facebook who have developed successful biodiversity programs in Africa to learn about their experiences. Lastly, we have developed a partnership with an organization in the USA who supplies vegetable seeds. We are working to develop partnerships with organizations to help us with irrigation systems and wells. ALtogether, we are fostering close collaboration with the specialists who can help us with advice, seed banks who can help us by donating some of their seeds to fight hunger in addition to learning from moringa plants growers who can share with us their learned experiences in cultivating and distributing the leaves in various forms including tea bags for stores.

6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far — in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?

Our project has had a large social impact on rural communities. Many younger villagers have received packages of heirloom seeds and moringa plants to start their own small gardening initiatives. This provided opportunities for small gardeners to produce fresh vegetables for their families as well as be able to sell the surplus. In addition, they received basic training about the need to preserve the environment, plant trees, and vegetables for their families' well-being. Many needy families and the elderly have received fresh moringa leaves from our projects. This is helping to curve malnutrition by providing vitamin-riched leaves to supplement their diets. As far as measuring our progress, we have created a database of villagers receiving our seeds, keeping track of the number of leaves produced and sold or donated quarterly as well as the number of trained villagers in the area of gardening and planting trees to protect the environment.

7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

Our main goal is to offer moringa tea in bags to be sold nationally. People in various parts of the country will be able to use this organic tea naturally grown without pesticides. We will brand this as our multivitamin solution against malnutrition. We also want to produce moringa tea leaves powder for the market. This can be stored and distributed like teabags to be sold nationally in order to help us expand our production. In addition, we want to create a much bigger and nationally recognized training program for people to acquire hands-on knowledge of gardening and planting trees in just two days. We will develop an agreement with resellers of our tea nationally and provide opportunities for people to buy it online.

8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for society? Or different stakeholders?

Our initiative provides a local solution for vitamins and nutrients deficiency by fighting malnutrition using organic moringa plants leaves. It solves the problem of malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies that are prevalent in Burkina Faso. We do so by providing year-round fresh moringa leaves that are used as vegetables for cooking. The production of teabags, as well as moring leaves powder, will diversify our moringa solution offerings in a convenient way. We also donate some plants to students and villagers to plant which in addition to protecting the environment helps them with leaves they can harvest. In addition, we donate vegetable seeds to villagers and provide training.

9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

Currently, we sell the majority of moringa leaves that are harvested. This helps us to continue planting more plants and grow our social enterprise. We are also producing moringa powder that can be sold in bags and used in beverages and cooking sauces. In addition, we sell the produce of our gardens to help our operation. In the medium and longterm, we will be selling moringa tea bags nationally through various distributors. We believe that moringa tea bags will be a major source of revenue that will help our social enterprise be sustainable. Finally, our training program about planting and growing moringa trees, growing organic vegetables will provide much-needed funds to help us expand and be sustainable.

10. Team: what is the current composition of your current team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

Our current team is composed of me who acts as the president and helps with developing partnerships with various organizations. We also have directors in Burkina Faso and Europe who are volunteers helping to raise awareness of our charitable efforts in the world. In addition, we have three paid workers to help with growing the moringa plants and the gardens. As the project grows, the team will be made of women to assist in drying and bagging the moringa leaves. Women will benefit more.

11. How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Vittel page or contact
  • Participated in previous Ashoka challenges
  • Email

Attachments (1)

Biodiversity-in-Tita-napone.pdf

Full description of the project with details pertaining to its strenght with biodiversity

1 comment

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Photo of Luc

I would like to thank Carson and Le for your insightful comments. I really appreciate it. We are working hard to get the moringa project funded but we are not making any progress.